I was reading over a post by Jason Lyon (http://jasonlyonjazz.wordpress.com here on WordPress) about terrible pianos at gigs. We have all experienced this. I agree with him totally in his post. However, I came to the part where he gave a tip about using a blutack substance to adhere his music to the piano. If you have a couple hundred dollars you can remedy this problem forever. So here I go…
iPad. If you are a gigging musician do yourself the biggest favour (notice the fancy spelling) you have ever done and get an iPad. Doesn’t matter which one, just not the iPad Mini. You’ll need all the screen size you can get, but once you follow my little tips you will have music larger than a hymnal to work with. Follow these cool-daddy steps to becoming paperless and never worry about ceiling fans or random breezes or bad lighting again.
1: Buy iPad.
2: Play Candy Crush a couple of hours on the massive screen. Stop.
3: Download “Doc Scan HD” here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/doc-scan-hd-scanner-to-scan/id467016332?mt=8
4: Learn to use this easy, free app to take photos of your sheet music AND make PDF’s of each one. Amazingly simple and full of options geeks will love.
5: Download “UnrealBook” here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/unrealbook/id370135173?mt=8
6: Unreal book opens said PDF’s from email or other apps and organizes them into categories and set lists. Tons of options are available here as well, and I won’t go into them because there are many. I use about half.
7: If you hand write your own lead sheets or whatever, PLEASE go today and download a free trial of “Songwriter” here: http://www.finalemusic.com/products/finale-songwriter/ After a 30-day trial it’s only $50. This is a Finale product but it’s hundreds of dollars less if your music is not crazy intensive and needs full orchestration. So, perfect for lead sheets and piano parts.
8: Almost all word processing programs can save to PDF now. So if you’re somebody who likes charts with just lyrics and chords you can go that route.
Advantages of iPad with UnrealBook: there are no disadvantages, the iPad battery is crazy long-lasting, it’s backlit, more or less limitless space for sheet music, lightweight, compact, great music software available for under $10, email music straight from iPad to others during a gig or before (preferably before), makes notes of music with your finger, etc. etc. etc. I can’t say enough good about it.
Using an iPad for my gigs has changed how I do things. It’s just so much more easy now. And here is a quick story…
“But, Stacy…I just have to play this one piece for this church service, so I don’t need to take my iPad for that one piece. I’ll just print the music like it’s 1984.” WRONG. This weekend I thought those words. I’m playing and singing a song during the worship time and a stupid gust of wind (because a smart gust wouldn’t have done it) slaps my printed sheet off the piano. Now I’m playing, singing, and grabbing floating paper at the same time. That happened two days ago. I’ll never go with one piece of paper again. The iPad solution is never overkill. Never.