Reading Music On An iPad

forScore App LogoAt the start of this year, I realized that, for the first time, the core members of our church music team all owned iPads. Since I had been noticing with interest various apps and programs that enabled playing sheet music from the iPad, I figured the timing was right to see if it would work for us. We have now been using our iPads (with a wonderful app called forScore) exclusively (for all our music, for all our services) for three months. While there are certainly occasional challenges, I think iPads (or whatever tablet comes next) are here to stay for our ministry. Here’s our list of “Pro’s” and “Con’s”:

PRO’s

  • Awesome, fast, DEPENDABLE app that works on any generation iPad
  • User friendly
  • Simple import of PDF’s (we use…and there is a direct connection to…DropboxI am a HUGE fan)
  • Easy, but mind-blowing score editing (and email changes to your team instantly)
  • Intuitive setlist creation and sharing (via email)

CON’s

  • Can only view one sheet of music at a time (instead of two, like in a notebook or hymnal)
  • Page size is smaller than regular sheet of paper (but so are most hymnbooks and octavos…some solo pianists/musicians, however,  may find this a challenge)
  • Some types of instruments may find they want a foot-pedal for page turning (I, personally, have been just fine)

While we have been super happy with this app, I have also heard some good things about Planning Center Online (more of a full suite of service-planning products…what they call their “music stand” being just one part). So what are you doing as a church or independent musician? Are you using an iPad or tablet? Is there a different app you have found useful? Do you have any other questions about things I may not have addressed? Join the conversation by commenting below (please)!


8 Responses to “Reading Music On An iPad”

  • Aileen Says:

    Hi, Dave,

    Thanks for sharing. I have used Forscore since Last August. I love it. Just like you said. the drawback is one page only. In addition to your pros, I found it is easier to view the score from iPad than regular binders while I play for our congregation with my aged eyesight.

    Keep up with your good work!

    Blessings!

    Aileen

    • Dave Mincy Says:

      Aileen:
      Great feedback, and awesome to hear you feel it is actually easier to read the iPad than regular music. I have felt the same way most of the time…maybe due to it being backlit? Anyway, thanks for sharing!

  • Timothy Williamson Says:

    I’ve been using forScore for a while, as a supplement to paper music, and found it really works great in place of those smaller choir scores that don’t like to stay open on the piano/organ. It especially makes page turning easier (especially with a bluetooth pedal). I even used forScore/iPad for an outdoor wedding, which would have been difficult to play from paper, with the wind and amount of music I needed to have lined up.

    One tip, I like to create a backup paper copy for important services like weddings. I create my setlist, or even just a single giant PDF file with the different pieces, print that out, hole punch it, and put it in a binder as backup (in case something catastrophic were to happen to my iPad). So far I haven’t had to use the “backup” copy yet.

    I would highly recommend forScore!

  • Kevin Gillen Says:

    We use PlanningCenterOnline and it has improved our entire service planning / workflow greatly. In fact, we even use their “Projector” app to display the lyrics via iPad to our projectors. Since everything is integrated (database of texts, arrangement info, specific service plan, etc) it has cut our prep time dramatically.

    We’ve started experimenting with MusicStand though we’ve not invested the time to get it fully functional.

    PCO’s other greatest feature is coordinating all of our volunteers for nurseries, children’s ministries, adult Bible study teachers, ushers, etc. It kicks out automatic reminders when you want (different by ministry section) and allows people to set up their default level of commitment.

    I can’t say enough good about PCO!

    • Dave Mincy Says:

      Kevin:
      I am so glad you have weighed in on PCO! I have wondered if it could help us, and it sounds like I definitely need to pursue it further. While forScore has really helped our music team, it doesn’t address any of the bigger organization/organizational needs we (and most other churches) have. One question…we are using IconCMO as our church financial software (etc.)…I thought at one point you all were using this as well? Does PCO “play nice” with IconCMO, have it’s own financial piece, or integrate with something else? Just curious.

  • Lexie Says:

    Hey Dave,

    Thanks for the pro/con list about iPads for music scores…as I was trying to read and play some music off a laptop tonight, I had a conversation with my roommate Katie about whether I could get used to using an iPad at the piano in the future…

  • Michael Says:

    I’m very late in posting this, but as one of the users of forScore I must say how impressive it is!

    It is fast, easy, and fully editable – which is great for parts of the songs that have instrument-specific areas. As a ukulele player, this is very helpful to me to highlight where I should transition between tremolos and strums for example. VERY helpful indeed! Also using the iPad allows me to save some space on my music stand for other things – such as a chord chart or the like if needed for that day.

    I think that the only real challenge I’ve had with it relates to how the music is written – it can impact how many times we have to tap back and forth to move around the score while playing. And definitely a foot pedal would help, too…hint hint hint. :-/

    Great job for bringing it to us Dave – we’re indebted to you for freeing us from our big binders and bringing us into the modern age!! You have definitely are “embracing the future”!

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