Tablets and Foot Pedals

Published on 10 February 2024 at 13:41

Musicians have used paper sheet music since the beginning of sheet music. Gigging musicians have always dealt with the time-consuming task of putting folders together for each gig, printing, copying and hole-punching endless sheets, then making sure everything is in just the right coordinated order for each folder. But, with the progression of technology, the sheet music tides are shifting into a completely new direction with the use of tablets and foot pedals. Some musicians love it, done musicians hate it, and some are not quite sure how to even approach it, but the fact is that more and more gig contractors are defaulting to this new method, and the more familiar and prepared you are as a musician, the more current you will be in the ever-changing gig world! This blog will explore this new terrain in the music world and hopefully serve to enlighten you if you are still uncertain about this new gigging technology. 

First, there are two main options for devices, iPads or Android tablets. Either one is equally user-friendly, it just comes down to what type of device you personally prefer. The most important tip to keep in mind is to make sure that your screen is big enough for you to comfortably read your music. Most people do well with screens that measure 11" or more. 

So, now that you have your iPad or tablet, the next step is your music-reading app. This is extremely important. It will keep your screen from going black while you're reading, organize your music into setlists, and function along with your foot pedal, so the app is absolutely essential. For iPad users, I would highly recommend forScore. This app can be found at the link below.

For Android tablet users, I would highly recommend  Mobilesheets. This app can be found at the link below.

Now that you have your tablet and your app, the final step is your foot pedal! There are lots of options out there, buy the foot pedal I would highly recommend is Monkey. It can be used universally with Apple or Android, is very dependable, easy to use and has a very long battery life, but there are lots of other options out there, as well. 

Now you're set! If you would like to add some accessories to your setup to make things even easier, I would suggest a tablet stand. They are much smaller and lighter weight than traditional music stands, and I personally like being able to fold it up and put it in my backpack. This gives me one less heavy and bulky thing to carry to and from the gig. Some tablet stands also come with a phone holder, so you'll have everything you might need in front of you while you are playing! 

You might also want to consider a portable battery to preserve your device battery for long gigs, and a tablet cooler in case you find yourself playing in extreme heat. You can attach it to your tablet to cool it down so it will keep working well for you. 

I hope this is helpful for those musicians out there who are still contemplating the idea of going digital with their sheet music! There's a bit of a learning curve, but the benefits far outway the initial effort of the transition. 

If you have more helpful hints to add to this blog, please make a comment below! ☺️



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