I can't believe it's been three years since I first blogged about using an iPad on gigs! My set up has changed a bit since my last post so I thought it was time to review what I'm currently using when I play at weddings and private functions.
So the main change is that I invested in a new harp a few years back - my amazing electro-accoustic harp, a maple Camac Little Big Blue.
What a beauty my Little Big Blue is, as well as being a complete joy to play!
It has completely revolutionised my experience of playing at weddings and has made my life so much simpler in so many ways. Being a 44 stringed harp, it is physically so much easier to move around than my big Salvi, plus being amplified it is much easier playing for long periods of time. Playing outdoors is no longer a problem as I can usually find somewhere good (preferably indoors or in shade/covered) and just move the amp to where it's needed. I'm still paying off the loan for the harp, but it was definitely worth every penny.
My amplifier is a Roland AC-33 battery powered guitar amp. It's small, powerful and best of all - battery powered. Before I got my Camac I experimented with amps and pick-ups on my Salvi and as well as not being satisfied with the amplified sound, just carting round all the gear was (literally) a pain. Being able to plug just ONE lead from the harp into a battery powered amp and switching the amp on and beautiful natural amplified sound coming out is brilliant.
Earlier this year I had to finally accept reality that my eyesight is not getting any better and reading the music on my old iPad wasn't really working too well.
Which brings me to...
...the iPad Pro. I'm not an Apple fan, but you have to hand it to them for finally making what musicians needed; a decent sized screen for reading music.
My eyes are grateful.
Plus there is the extra bonus of not needing a music stand light or pegs to hold down sheet music when playing outdoors.
I'm still using ForScore software to view my music on the iPad, so that is still the same as my original blog post, along with using Dropbox to get it onto the iPad. The only change is that I'm now using a bluetooth foot pedal to change the pages of the music as I'm now reading the music '1 up portrait' rather than '2 up landscape'. It's taking some time to get used to an extra pedal to operate with my left foot, but it is well worth it.
What's in my bag?
And that's it - all easy, light and quick to carry. Light years away from all the gear I used to carry round with me on gigs.
In all the years I've been using an iPad, I have never had a problem with my iPad or the ForScore software.
However that hasn't stopped the little nagging worries that somehow 'something may happen' and all the technology might suddenly stop working whilst I'm on a gig. For that reason alone I always carry a very small folder of one hours worth of printed sheet music that lives in the handy zip pocket of my harp cover.
I have never had a need to use it.
For size comparison - my iPad Pro on my music stand next to an old copy of Ceremony of Carols which is a standard 'oversized' piece of music. Most newly bought sheet music these days are the smaller A4 size which is around the same size as the iPad Pro.
I use the standard model large iPad Pro which is - WiFi only, 32GB 12.9 inch screen which is more then enough space for a massive library of music.
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Lauren Scott is a harpist & composer and has been blogging for over 10 years.
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