Equipment for Musicians. And forget the pencil, this is all about Technology

By Joanne_Green  -  01 March 2016

In today’s world, the first thing a musician needs after their instrument is, believe it or not, an Apple iPad. Forget carrying round a pile of music, your metronome and tuner; all of these things plus more can be carried with you wherever you go. 

Most musicians have used an iPad for a number of years now. It’s a convenient way to receive and store music as it’s usual for most practice scores to arrive by pdf. But it has its limitations too. How many times have you wished you could annotate the score or cut and paste between parts. 



iPads in rehearsal with the Scottish Ensemble

But wait! Technology to the rescue. A whole ranch of new apps are making it easier for musicians to go electronic and some musicians are embracing it wholeheartedly. The Scottish Ensemble are doing away with paper music altogether, opting for 8 iPads on stage in rather elegant iPad stands. Bluetooth foot pedals for the cellos make for effortless page turning and the backlit screens means no lighting issues, so no heavy sconces or cabling.  Of course for it all to work you need the appropriate software. So here are 5 favourite apps for musicians to help you on your way to a paper free life. 

forScore

This app will become your indispensable work tool. It is a truly magnificent music reader interface. You can import virtually any PDF file from the web (and thus works well in tandem with sites like ISMLP) and connects directly to services like Dropbox. You can annotate, share files, and quickly organise a large library of files. No more photocopied pages for quick page turns. No more copying bowings from the front desk as you can just click and share. No more carrying round huge pads - if you have your iPad, you have access to your entire music library.

Cleartune

Cleartune is a simple and easy-to-use tuner and tone generator with a nice big display that is easy to read. It offers a variety of pitch and temperament settings – with custom presets – which can be handy for those who frequently have to switch between modern and baroque instruments. We use it to individually tune up backstage, so no onstage tuning necessary at the beginning of concerts.

Turboscan

This is a scanning app that turns your smart phone’s camera into a scanner. With TurboScan, you can quickly scan your documents and store or email them as multipage PDF or JPEG files. I have a friend in the LSO who scans every piece of music she plays as a  future practice resource, or if called on to bow a part, she already has a copy. This of course works well with forScore and you can do everything on the hoof.

Easy Books

Every musician needs a good bookkeeping app to make that end of year accounts job easier. I have used Easy Books for a number of years. Its customisable, easy interface makes collating all your receipts a breeze. When you are done, just email a pdf of your report to your accountant. I also have the extra add on that means I can generate invoices. 




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About Joanne_Green

Violinist Joanne Green, of the Scottish Ensemble works with orchestras and ensembles throughout the UK.

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