Sunday, September 9, 2012

Into the Digital Age on Stage

Just the other day my wife and I pulled the trigger on an iPad. Finally decided we could squeeze one into the budget. It wasn't a hard sell to her since it was another Apple product. She looks content sitting at her desk working with all her Apple devices surrounding her. But I digress...

One of the main reasons I wanted to take the iPad plunge was for use on stage. I'm a gigging musician and I have a lot of lead sheets to sort through; One group has an eight inch binder full of tunes. I was getting very tired of sorting all that music every week. I compared the sheet music apps on Android and iOS and found that the usefulness they had on Android was pretty lacking. As a long-time droid user that was disappointing.

The iPad has not been disappointing, however. I chose to try the app named UnrealBook by Aaron Nelson for my first attempt on stage. Scanned in my lead sheets for the next couple of weeks and gave it a shot this Sunday morning. It was a wonderful experience! The app performed perfectly and although it's takes a little getting used to the tapping to turn pages and hitting the little hot spot links you create for coda jumps and repeats it replaced my smaller three ring binder well.

UnrealBook allows you to annotate and highlight your music on-screen. You can create set lists and even grab music from a Dropbox account. One feature I haven't tried yet is the photo to sheet music function. I can see that coming in handy for rehearsal situations where there aren't enough copies for everyone or when there wasn't enough lead time to get music ready.

My scanner is going to be busy for a while, I think.