Musicians are now using mobile devices to participate in music lessons from a teacher over the Internet and to simplify the number of items in their gig bags. An iPhone, iPad, or tablet can easily substitute for a tuner or metronome and weighs considerably less than multiple binders of gig music. Alice Freeman uses an iPad for teaching students and for bringing music to all her events. She easily carries with her more than 20 hours of harp music and over 6 hours of hammered dulcimer music.
Planning how you are going to retrieve and use music on your mobile device is very important before you start buying music, scanning pieces, and uploading PDFs to your device. Here are some ideas for consideration before you start.
Since Alice has used an iPad for her performing and teaching since 2011, this information represents her personal recommendations. There are many page reading devices on the market which will work equally well. This is just the method with which she is most familiar.
Your music must be in a PDF format. You have several alternatives for getting your music into that format.
- Buy it that way
- Scan it at home (your scan must be from a good quality original and can be in color or black and white)
- Music also can be created in Finale or Sibelius and exported as PDF files
As with any device, there are always tips for using it efficiently and with a minimum of problems. The iPad is no different.
- Always shut down other programs, especially when the foot pedal is attached. Running other apps in the background can REALLY slow down page turns.
- Know how to access your Bluetooth settings if your wireless foot pedal appears not to be working.
- Be aware that playing in direct sunlight may cause the iPad to overheat and it WILL shut itself down in the middle of a gig. Play in the shade when you can and bring an insulated cover for your iPad to use when you have breaks in performing.
- A plastic bag the size of the iPad works well to protect it in the rain and you can even turn pages through the plastic.
- Horizontal view makes for bigger music, but half-page turns sometimes repeat lines of music unexpectedly.
- If you crop your music when you scan it into a PDF or use the "Cropping" feature in forScore, you can cut off the white margins on your music and make the staves and notes larger on your screen.
- If you want to make a note using the online keyboard in another program (to note someone’s phone number, for instance, for a future gig), make sure you know how to force-start the keyboard when using a Bluetooth foot pedal.
- Alice uses a Peterson TP-3 Clip-On Tuner Pickup (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/peterson-tp-3-clip-on-tuner-pickup) with her harps because the iPad internal microphone is really good at picking up the tones from air conditioning and other “hums” in the room in addition to harp strings.
- If you want to use a Clip-On Tuner Pickup with your iPad and your harp, you will need to buy a cable adapter (one with a 1/8th-inch male plug and a 1/4-inch female plug) – check with music stores that sell amplification equipment).
- The Airturn BT-105 Hands Free Page Turner with Foot Pedals is a good wireless page turner (http://www.airturn.com/)
- The Peak Music Stands (http://www.peakmusicstands.com/) work well with iPads.
There are thousands of apps available from the Apple iTunes Store, the Google Play Store, and other sources. Alice uses some of the following apps, others have been recommended by other musicians. Some are free, others are not. Often a "Lite" version is available for you to try for Free. If you like it, you frequently can purchase an enhanced version with more features.
These pages contain references to apps Alice believes may be of interest to harp players in particular. Apps are grouped by their intended purpose. Information is included for which device the app was designed. Most are for iPhones and iPads, but there are a few listed for other platforms (such as Android and Kindle). Links are provided to the source for the app in the Apple Apps Store and the Google Play Store. Apps can also be looked up directly from your device. The app logos are copyrighted or trademarked by their respective companies. They are included here solely for ease in recognizing the app. The prices are current as of May 15, 2015.