Check out these two iPhone apps - the only thing you will need is an iPhone or iPod touch. Perhaps similar apps are out there for Blackberry and other phone users - there is always hope.
As a tap dance teacher, Metronome
has been invaluable for those times when I need a steady beat, but can't find the right tempo music or don't want to clap my hands raw. It mimics a real metronome (which brings back nostalgia of my old piano lessons) and can tick tock its way from 1 beats per minute (why you would ever need that slow is beyond me) to 210bpm. If you have a stereo system with an audio headphone jack, you're in business! It is a little tricky to accurately slide the little metronome weight thing (does that have a name?), but otherwise I am happy. It has a different tone for the downbeat of the measure, which you can change to 2/4, 3/4 or 4/4 timing.
There are a few other apps that do the same thing, but since I am pretty happy with the current one, I haven't tried any of the other options. Comments are welcome if you have!
My second new favorite app is BPM by CHEEBOW. This handy little tool helps you determine the beats per minute in any song you can tap your finger to. It registers the BPM just after 3 taps and if you keep tapping, it will average your speed so even if you have an unsteady finger, it will give you a fairly accurate reading. I have used this to organize my dance class playlists by tempo, so I no longer go crazy trying to find a faster or slower song in the middle of class. You can add the BPM to your songs in iTunes under the "Get Info" option.
Share your favorite 'apps' in the comments!
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