Page turners and music readers

Colin has sent the following information:

“As a solo or ensemble player do you dread page turns? Do you struggle with organising your paper music copies or wish there was a way of making neater markings on your music?

I have started using a bluetooth foot pedal to turn pages of music held on a tablet computer and am very pleased with the experience so far. I’d like give you an idea of what can be done to overcome the problems highlighted above.

First of all you’ll need a sheet music application which holds your music and allows you to do rehearsal edits and create set lists. I use forScore on an ipad. This application costs about £10 but is richly featured and quite easy to use. Other applications are available. To get your music into forScore the music needs to be in pdf format so you may need to either scan or photograph each sheet, or download the music. Once you have your music imported you can create set lists, which show, for example, all the pieces in order that you need to play for the next concert or rehearsal. The editing function allows music to be annotated with additional interpretation marks and highlights etc. in addition you can set the metronome speed and have audio and/or visual prompts throughout the piece or just at the start. You can also perform your music and turn pages forward or back with a deft swipe of the screen with a finger. I believe it is also possible to link to audio files but I have not yet tried this.

forScore video tuition. There are many but this gives some of the basics:-

For the greatest benefit a foot pedal is necessary. Several are available but I chose the Donner bluetooth Music Pedal because of the excellent reviews. The price is about £46.

It is easy to pair to an ipad or Android device and the battery is rechargeable via USB cable to a PC. You have 2 pedals, one for going forward to the next page and one for going backwards. It is taking a while to get used to the point at which the pedals bite and change the page as there is no click but I’m sure this will come with practice.

To see its use in performance see the following:

This setup offers an amazing capacity to help reduce performance anxiety. I will mention just two of these. If your music contains repeats and/or DS and Coda markings, forScore cleverly allows you to alter your music sheets so that you only need to use the forward pedal. This avoids trying to go backwards to find the beginning of a repeated section. Another neat trick is that you can set up half pages so that when you tap the pedal, part of the next page appears at the top of the page you are playing from making it easier to see the next page and making it less critical when you depress the foot pedal.

So it really has some brilliant features which I shall be trialling during rehearsals. If you have any questions or would like to see a demonstration please contact me.

Colin Hewett May 2018″