I wrote a few weeks ago of my plan to use my iPad in place of sheet music for a week long residential in August. During the week I played Bass in the worship band, and used the iPad together with the Airturn bluetooth foot pedal.
I primarily used ForScore – a great app really aimed towards displaying sheet music as opposed to chord charts. As this was the format of the music I’d been given for the week it worked well. Some features of note that made life easy:
1. Marking and notes – With ForScore it is easy to quickly annotate the music, whether highlighting, adding musical ornaments, typing or simply making “pencil” marks, it is all done quite simply. This feature is helpful for marking repeats etc. and also adding notes for arrangements.
2. Links – You can add “buttons” to press which are programmed to a specific page. Instead of backing up through a dozen pages for a repeat, you can program a hot spot to touch when you want it to go back.
3. Half-Page Turns – This feature is real handy for “real” music. Once you get to the bottom half of a sheet then press once for the top half of the page to be replaced with the next, press again to complete the page turn.
4. Sharing – It was easy to share over bluetooth and via computer, music sheets for the other members in the band.
5. Setlsts – Really simple to pull together setlists to save worrying about finding the next piece of music. Programming the setlist is quick and easy and ensured smooth song changes.
Additionally, I tried OnSong for chord sheets. The advantage this app has is that it uses a specific file format that allows transposing on the fly. This is also a downfall however, as you need to convert your standard text files / pdfs to the correct format which proved to be a fairly longwinded process. As I like playing with the full sheet music I hardly used this app during the week.
This one is simple – an iPad! Well, there’s a little more to it than that, but an iPad on it’s own would suffice (in fact, the keys player had just the iPad for the majority of the week). However, the additional functionality of the AirTurn BT-105 foot pedal was awesome. Hands-free page turns really makes life easy, and improves the ability to focus on the worship.
I had no problems at all with this bit of kit. I only had to charge it once during the week, and that was a safety measure in any case. I understand the batteries last for about 10 hours. Also, there was no interference with the AirTurn pedal that the Keyboard player got hold of by the end of the week.
I’d certainly recommend using the iPad as a digital music stand. It saves a load of paper, improves readability (lit display), is reliable, and, with an appropriate pedal, saves on manual page turns. I’m not sure much sheet music can succesfully port across, but in the flexibility of a worship band where there is little need of more than the chords, then this works great!