SOPP650: I’ve seen that you use ForScore on an iPad for reading music. I was wondering what size iPad do you use?
Vidas: Hello and welcome to Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast!
Ausra: This is a show dedicated to helping you become a better organist.
V: We’re your hosts Vidas Pinkevicius...
A: ...and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene.
V: We have over 25 years of experience of playing the organ
A: ...and we’ve been teaching thousands of organists online from 89 countries since 2011.
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Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas!
Ausra: And Ausra!
Vidas: Let’s start episode 650 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Jay, and he writes:
I think I’ve seen that you use ForScore on an iPad for reading music. I was wondering what size iPad do you use? Have you had experience with more than the one size you use regularly? I’d really like to do that but I’m not sure which size would work best for me. I think the iPad 12.9” is likely optimal but so expensive. Perhaps the 11” model would be adequate, being a bit less expensive.
Any thoughts you would care to share here or on your podcasts would be helpful.
Ausra: Well, since it is your expertise, you need to talk and to explain everything.
Vidas: What will you do when I talk?
Ausra: I will listen.
Vidas: Okay, but don’t fall asleep just yet, because I might ask a question, too.
Ausra: Okay, I’ll try.
Vidas: Remember last Spring when our Hauptwerk gear was starting to arrive?
Ausra: Of course I remember that. How could I forget?
Vidas: I also bought an iPad which was recommended by my friend James Flores, and the reason I did that was because James, at the time, was using iPad as a touch screen with the Duet app connected to Hauptwerk so he could change the stops by tapping on the iPad screen. So, I liked that idea and decided to buy it at the same time as Hauptwerk. But then, I found out about the ForScore app, which is a really great application which allows you to read any type of pdf files and actually turn pages by the click of the button if you have a special device, a Bluetooth page turner for example. So I’ve been using this for some of my organ playing. You notice that, surely, right?
Ausra: Yes, of course I have noticed. And I use a little bit of that myself, too!
Vidas: What was your experience. Can you tell us?
Ausra: Well, since our music rack is so far away, I found out that the music score is a little bit too far from me, because the iPad screen is not that wide and not that big. So, if there is a possibility, I prefer to play from the paper score.
Vidas: The iPad is 10.2” screen, so it’s not the biggest one. I would say the bigger, the better, I think. The larger the screen, the better for your eyes.
Vidas: And if Jay likes the idea of playing from a device like this, then it would be worth it to save a little bit more money for this, because your eyes will thank you for the bigger screen.
Ausra: Yes. And our iPads I use sometimes, for example, if I’m playing a piece with a page turn, and I don’t want to do that page turn, you know, it’s uncomfortable, then I would do two pages from the paper score, and then the last page from the iPad.
Vidas: Yeah, to avoid photocopying. Right?
Vidas: If you the original score and a piece is not very long but still has a page turn, like three pages long.
Ausra: Yes, that’s often the case, and it’s really annoying.
Vidas: And usually, you can record... practice and record a piece like that in one sitting. Right? Three pages.
Vidas: It takes maybe, I don’t know, an hour, maybe sometimes less, depending on the texture, but it’s possible, so it’s kind of an optimal size. It’s liturgically very appropriate. Three pages. Right? Under three minutes.
Ausra: Yes, it’s a very common length of compositions.
Vidas: Right. But still, sometimes you have pages turns, so what we have, of course, is the original score and then a one-page photocopy…. A photo of one page on the iPad. It’s a little bit smaller than the original, obviously, but still, you get comfortable because you don’t need to turn the page. But I use the page turner app… not app, but page turner device… Bluetooth page turner… I turn with my feet. What do you think about that. Have you tried it?
Ausra: Yes, I’ve tried it, but somehow for me it’s not that easy to do, because that device is… sometimes I simply kick it off from the pedal board.
Vidas: At first I bought one type of device with smaller buttons, so then it was really difficult to press with my feet at the right spot where the button is. It didn’t really make sense, so I bought another one with large buttons, and then it’s very comfortable right now, except, as you say, this device needs to be positioned so that it wouldn’t interfere with your feet when you rest, or the swell pedal, or we have another pedal for the toe pistons. These are sometimes confusing to find with your toes while playing.
Ausra: Plus sometimes when I try to press that button it doesn’t work so easily. Maybe I don’t press it hard enough, I don’t know. So it’s sort of a little bit risky for me.
Vidas: Yes, for organists using iPad and ForScore app, it’s a good deal, except you need to think about how you will turn the pages. Right? If you invest in another device, like this, like we do, blue tooth page turner, smaller/larger doesn’t matter, but the idea is the same. You can turn it either with the right foot or left foot, depending on which one is free, or depending on where you put it on the pedal board, too.
Ausra: Because, anyway, if you will get the iPad for the music score, you will have to do a lot of page turning, because there is only one single page per screen.
Vidas: I’ve seen people using some kind of device in their mouth, and they could turn the pages by biting that device.
Vidas: Yes, Aarnoud...
Ausra: It’s really scary. Could you by chance swallow it and you know…
Vidas: No, it looks like a rubber band. You put it in your teeth, and it’s Bluetooth generated, of course, bluetooth powered, and once you press it, it turns the page on your iPad. So your hands are free and your feet are free. You see?
Ausra: Yeah. Maybe you should try it someday.
Vidas: I don’t know how Aarnoud de Groen uses it, from the Netherlands, but I’ve seen him do that, and he actually uses two iPads! Left and right! One is bigger and the other is smaller for him. But ideally, you could have two iPads, and therefore both could be connected, and you don’t need to turn the pages as often as with just one.
Ausra: But it’s very expensive. In general, the productions of Apple are so much more expensive than Android.
Vidas: Correct. But their screens are well worth the investment, I think, because it’s really good for the eyes. I mean not good for the eyes, but at least not bad for the eyes.
Ausra: Yes, I could confirm that, because now for one full year I’m grading my students’ papers actually looking at my iPad, because it has a touch screen, so I can correct their mistakes, for example, in the harmonic exercises or ear training exercises, so I don’t know how I would live without it.
Vidas: So are you slowly turning into an Apple person?
Ausra: Well, very slowly.
Vidas: Very slowly. That’s because for school, you really can’t use Apple products completely.
Ausra: Sure, because my teacher’s diary that I have to fill out every day to put in all the grades and put in all assignments, actually, and the subjects that they’re learning on, actually, cannot be filled out by Apple. And it frustrates me greatly.
Vidas: It works only with Windows.
Vidas: Maybe in the future they will create an app for Mac.
Ausra: I guess not so many teachers in Lithuania can afford buying Apple computers, so they don’t bother to improve on that subject.
Vidas: Right. So, we hope this was useful to Jay and other people who are thinking about playing from a tablet. Of course the ForScore app works with any, I think, any device. Not only iPad, but iPhone, I think, too, if you have iOS. And I have to double-check if it works with Android. If it does, then you could effectively use Android based tablets like Samsung or others. But I’m not sure. It might be just Apple. IOS app. At least for now. Alright, thank you guys for listening, for sending these questions. We hope this was useful to you, and please keep sending new questions for us; we love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice,
Ausra: Miracles happen!
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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