Wrangling iTunes to make your life easier.

Once I started bellydancing, my music collection started to explode.  SInce I use music in my yoga classes, as well as for dance practice and classes, I had to get my library under control.  Here's how to gain control over a sprawling library so that you can easily use it for practice or in a class setting.

I used to make playlists for every yoga class, but now teaching multiple, distinct classes over the week, that just takes way too much time!  Now everything yoga-appropriate is tagged "yoga" in the comment field, and I use a smart playlist of 4- or 5-star yoga songs shuffling through class.  I make sure not rate anything too raucous in the 4 or 5 stars so as not to have any jarring moments in savasana, and it works great.

Managing bellydance music is a little more complicated, but the work is totally worth it:

  • Step 1: Listen to your music and rate it.  This part is unavoidable.  You have to know your own music.  For me, a 5-star rating means it is perfect for drilling and/or dance performance.  At this point, you also need to ask yourself questions about your music so you have an idea of how you need to categorize things.
  • Step 2: Use the comments tag.  You can download a BPM counter to automatically tag your music, but you still have to listen to it.  In ATS, for example, we might use slow moves for a song that is dramatic but actually has a fast tempo.  I use "fast" "slow" and "tempochange" for my dance tunes.  I also have the tags "ats," "vintage," "odd", and "zill," as well as tags for "kallisti" and "verve" for songs that we have or might perform to.
  • Step 3: Use this information to make Smart Playlists. This is where it gets easy!  Now that everything is tagged in a useful way, you can sort it as needed.  You can enlarge the attached image and see my playlists.  Using smart playlists also makes it way easier to pull songs for classes or practice if you want to put together something specific.
  • Step 4: Maintain! Anything I can possibly bellydance to is tagged "belly."  Even if I don't have time to listen through something right when I load it, I tag it all "belly" or "yoga" so I can find it to revisit it, rate it, and sort it.