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  • Dr. Guy Whatley

Reading Music Goes High Tech

When I play with sheet music I always read from an iPad. There are countless advantages to this. Your entire library can be kept on one small light portable device. No more carrying multiple books to practice and lessons.

With a bluetooth page turner device there is no need to worry about turning pages. There is no need to worry about things like air-conditioning turning pages for you. With a well lit screen you are never at the mercy of bad lighting. It also looks really clean and professional. Im often asked “but what happens when it goes wrong?” So far, and I have been doing this daily for years, nothing has gone wrong. Unlike with sheet music in books, which has ripped when turning pages, or turned two pages at once, or the book closed by itself etc…


I always use the largest iPad, which is annoying as its also the most expensive, but I like having the bigger screen, and in landscape mode it allows you to see two pages at a time. There are many ways for dealing with page turns. I use a bluetooth foot pedal that turns the page when I tap it. There are also devices you put in your mouth, and the page turns when you bite down. I have never wanted to even try one of those! Newer software can follow your eyes, and let you use facial gestures to turn the page. I am happy with my simple foot pedal which has served me perfectly for years.

"All In all an iPad is one of the best investments a musician can make."

I do always carry a charger, cable, and portable battery. I also always carry a microfiber cloth to keep the screen free of smudges and fingerprints. These can really be annoying with stage lighting. I love the fact that I can travel on a concert tour with a small bag containing these items, my iPad, and my page turning pedal. Years ago I used to have to take an extra suitcase for all the books of music!


There are many apps for reading music and storing your library. My favorite app is forscore; it is great for reading music and it does a really good job of organizing a music library. Writing on the score is really easy with a finger or an apple pencil/stylus. It is easy to get music in pdf form into it from library websites such as imslp.org. And it is easy to use the iPads camera as a scanner to import music directly from books. All In all an iPad is one of the best investments a musician can make.