I have to admit that I’m no expert on some of the new ways of using digital music. I do tend to cling to my tried and true binders full of paper copies but some of these new devices look pretty awesome.
First of all, where do you get your sheet music? It’s expensive to have to buy a whole book of music selections to get the one piece you want. That’s where sites like ours come in handy. You just need to buy the one arrangement you want at the particular time you want it. That’s all great and there are many sites like ours providing downloadable pdf sheet music. Musicnotes is the one claiming to have the largest selection of music… 500,000 sheet music arrangements in their library, they say, and growing every week. With musicnotes, you can download your arrangement in whatever key or skill level you choose. In most cases, each selection is arranged for various types of uses, so you can download it arranged for piano, various instruments, choir or voice. You can get a piece for a clarinet and download it transposed already into a key more compatible for use with the piano. There are easy arrangements and concert level arrangements of the same songs in the musicnotes library.
Interactive Music Player
The Church’s interactive music player is very useful for learning and using hymns from our hymnbook. It allows you to print any hymn in any key. It is also very helpful in learning parts. Use the sliders to make the parts you aren’t learning softer and the one you do want to learn louder. Then, as you get more confident with your part, move the other sliders up so that you are still singing your part accurately with the other parts at full volume. Here are some directions in case you have trouble finding the interactive music player:
- From the Church’s homepage, click on Libraries from the top menu bar and then Music Library.
- Click on the hymnbook icon.
- Type in your choice of hymn in the search box or select it from the list.
- Under the hymn, it says “Want to switch to the interactive music player?” Click the blue box to the right that says “Switch Player.”
- The interactive player view that comes up gives you several options along the top menu bar. On the far left is an arrow that allows you to play the hymn and hear how it sounds. Next to it are the sliders mentioned above. Click on them and you will see how to change the volume of each part. To the right of that is the spot where you can change the key before you print out the hymn.
Once you have your pdf scores, what do you do with them? Files are great, binders are even better, as I’ve mentioned, but there is also an amazing app called forscore, downloadable from the App Store. I have watched this app being used and I was quite blown away. The forscore app, compatible with an iPad or Mac computer, can do more things than I had ever imagined… and how useful it would be!
First of all, you can take all your piles… mountains?…of paper scores and upload them into your one little iPad… all of them into something the size of a small, skinny book! Forscore has an automatic scanner that sizes up each page, adjusts right around each corner and scans. You can then edit your scans and make the contrast better or brighter or crop a little more… whatever you want. That’s what you do with the music you own already. As you purchase new music, you can download it straight into your forscore app and, voila!, it’s there that fast.
Forscore invites you to add metadata like genre, skill level, key, instrument, etc. to each piece so that you can filter and organize your music and create setlists. It also provides automatic icloud backups so you’ll never lose your music again! You can change how your music flows on the page, from a half-page view to a two-page view. The other particularly amazing thing about forscore is that you can use the iPad pencil to annotate your music. You can still write on it just as if it were still in paper copy form. Unreal, right?
Bluetooth Pedal Page Turners
The next device that I’m going to mention is the AirTurn DUO Bluetooth Pedal Page Turner. The first time I saw this being used, it seemed like magic. The accompanist was just playing along using her iPad which she never touched, yet the music on it moved along as she played long stretches of accompaniment. How did she do that?! Well, as it turns out, she was using one of these Bluetooth Pedal Page Turners. It was connected wirelessly to her iPad… which, of course, had all her music on it in her setlist for that particular evening. And she simply tapped the pedal with her foot when she wanted to turn the page. Apparently, these Bluetooth Pedal Page Turners also contain easy-to-use metronomes, pitch pipes and tuners. Definitely magic!
These devices could be very useful. Certainly they have the potential for making our lives much easier as we embrace these new technologies. I think they’re worth a try. 🙂
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