Technology and the Modern Musician

Did you hear? I am giving a recital! I think it's been over 10 years since I gave a recital. This program is really exciting to me because I am collaborating with Chicago Organist, Joe Burgio, to give an all horn and organ recital. I have wanted to do this recital since I first heard Baumann's Horn and organ CD back in my undergrad days. The CD is now out of print but can be yours for the low price of about $200! Joe and I have been researching pieces and have found so many we hope this will be the first of many horn and organ offerings! Preparing this week got me thinking about technology and how much things have changed since I gave my last recital. Technology has changed the face of not just everyday life but how musicians prepare and perform all over the world. I wrote the below blog post as part of a larger blog offering by the Über Horn Quartet in early 2016. I thought I'd share it with you now since I am utilizing all of these apps and devices as I prepare for our upcoming concert. I will add that since this post was written two years ago a new "app" has surfaced that I will also be utilizing for our upcoming performances, LIVE VIDEO, that's right... via Facebook we will be live feeding/broadcasting the performance so that family and friends all over the world (especially those in Alaska!) can be a part of this day. I think I am most excited about this feature and hope to write in the future about getting good quality audio during a live video feed using my Zoom H4.

***Originally published March 1st 2016 | | ***

When the topic of this month’s blog post was batted around I thought, “gee I guess this will be a short one for me” because I don't really use any apps other than a metronome and tuner app on my iPhone. But then as I was sitting in rehearsal this past weekend I had a terrible page turn. Instinctively I reached into my purse for my trusty iPad, opened the ForScore app and pulled up the same piece, turning to the next page I needed. Using the ForScore app is so second nature to me that it didn't even cross my mind when the topic of this months blog was brought up! I chuckled to myself as I realized I almost exclusively use this app when performing. And when combined with my favorite scanner app, Genius Scan, and my trusty web storage, Dropbox, and my Airturn pedal, it's a powerhouse music library, organizing, display system that I can't imagine freelancing without!

Price: FREE
Platform: ALL

Most people these days have heard of cloud storage and even Dropbox. You can get a free Dropbox account and by inviting your friends to join or installing the shortcut on your computer or mobile device can earn more storage. We have opted to pay a yearly fee of $99 for 1TB of storage, which is more space than I know what to do with. The Uber Quartet also uses Dropbox. We love the large storage capacity and the ability for all four of us to be able to access all our files, videos, audio, sheet music at the same time wherever we are in the world!

Price: $6.99 Full version | FREE version available as well
Platform: Android and iOS
My husband and I use this app daily. You can scan pictures and documents and save your scanned files as jpegs and most importantly PDF’s. You can make multiple page files, so those pieces of music that are more than a page can be scanned and combined as you scan it rather than one page at a time. You can crop your scanned image, with perspective even! Files can be saved to your device, opened directly in other apps on your phone or saved to your cloud storage of choice, in my case, Dropbox.

Price: iPad $9.99 | iPhone $6.99
Platform: iOS

This is probably the most used/industry standard music reader for Apple products. Unfortunately, it is not available for any other platform. I. LOVE. THIS. APP. It basically changed the way I do a lot of my freelancing. Any music that is a PDF can be opened and viewed. So all the times a church director sends music ahead of time, or when that show you just got hired to play sends you the link to the PDFs in an email, you can open that music in the app with a simple click and start to do work right away. You can organize your entire library of sheet music by changing the titles, adding composer names, instrumentation, and even setting up tags so you can search your library more quickly. For example, anything that has to do with horn quartet is tagged with UBER, so when I'm searching for a particular piece that Uber plays I can limit the search by that tag. You can even add/attach an MP3 file to that piece of music. Learning an excerpt? You can assign your own sound clip to the file so while practicing you can listen or even play along. While viewing your music you can add notes, either by writing on the screen with your finger or stylus, or by using the type function. You can add symbols which include almost every kind of musical symbol, including dynamics, articulations, fermatas, etc. The app has a built in metronome which can play sound, pulse visually or do both at the same time. One of the best features is that you can email music to another musician directly from the app, and here's the kicker, you can send the clean copy OR a copy with all your annotations and notes. How cool is that? The app can display in bright white or sepia, and you can change/edit your page turns to suite your needs. For those times when it's almost impossible to reach around and touch the screen to turn the page I find my Airtun pedal the next invaluable piece in my technological armory. More about that below. I've barely touched on all of the neat features of this app, but I hope I’ve peaked your interest. It is, in my opinion, well worth the money. While I use this app most often on my iPad, once I upgraded my 4S to my 6Plus I took advantage of the expansion and downloaded it for my phone as well.

Price: $99 and up

There are several options, but I love my pedal. I have the base model and have had zero issues. I sync it to my iPad, my iPhone and my husband has been known to take it to use with ForScore Mini for some of his gigs. Highly recommend and it's made in the USA which is always a big selling point in our family.


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