After several weeks of holiday travel, one modern technological convenience that I have come to greatly appreciate is cloud storage. While packing my suitcase for a three-week stretch of family and friend visits, the one item I was able to leave off of my checklist was music scores. Over the past couple of years– and with the help of my iPad, a few apps, and cloud storage– I have been working on gradually building a digital music library. Creating a digital music library has allowed me to avoid carrying around a stack of scores and given me access my repertoire on-the-go, whether it be extended vacations or merely my daily school routine. Here are the necessary tools for creating your own digital music library.
1) A Tablet: My iPad is a crucial part of my daily practice regimen. The large screen provides a great display for tuner and metronome apps as well as digital scores. It is an all-in-one resource with ease of portability that serves as a replacement for my music stand, music scores, tuner, metronome, recording device, and notebook. During the average school day, I can take notes in class, record my flute lessons, and practice from PDF scores by setting my iPad on top of the piano when all of the practice room music stands have gone AWOL.
2) TinyScan App: The TinyScan app may be the best $5.00 I spent in the year 2014. Available for iPhone and iPad, this app uses your device’s built-in camera to scan documents and saves them as either images or PDF files. Using the batch mode, multiple scans can be combined into a single PDF file, which is perfect for scanning multi-page musical scores. Files may then be easily shared via e-mail, AirPrint, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, or Box.
3) Dropbox App: Dropbox is my preferred method of cloud storage. Users receive 2 GB of storage for creating an account and have opportunities to earn or purchase additional storage space. I have housed my entire library of PDF scores in Dropbox for easy access on my iPhone, iPad, or any computer with internet access. I can also easily share either single documents or entire folders with friends and colleagues.
At the end of the day, I still prefer to perform from physical scores and have not ventured into the world of performing from a tablet though apps exist that allow you to turn pages with a Bluetooth foot pedal. If I am planning on traveling for non-performance related reasons, however, having access to my repertoire via cloud storage and my iPad offers easy portability, the convenience of accessing my music library away from home, and significantly lightens my bags.