Following up on my recent blog post about scanning, I started a project yesterday that will require scanning about 2800 pieces. The majority of those pieces are very old (not as old as the 1929 public domain classification, but old enough that pieces are crumbling with age). A huge number of the pieces are permanently out of print–so far out of print that you can’t even find them on a website like J.W. Pepper (which lists POP pieces). I brought home 300 pieces to work with over the next few days.

The project becomes much more important to me when I’m scanning pieces that may be some of the only remaining copies of those pieces.

I wanted to see how pieces I could scan at a leisurely pace, including cutting the score apart, scanning, editing (and verifying pages), and saving. I spent about four hours (with lots of distractions) scanning yesterday and scanned 106 pieces. Had I been in an work environment, I could have scanned far more. Some were short pieces (four pages) and others were quite long (sixty pages).

It is reasonable that I will be able to finish this scanning project this summer. The hardest part, actually, is pulling music from their folders, and then filing that music after the pages are scanned.

When it comes to scanning music, I emphatically encourage people to worry about one piece at a time, and then to worry about the music that they will need for their current repertoire or lesson plans (e.g. scanning the songs used by a general music class). It’s okay to have a goal of scanning an entire existing library; but if you go into the scanning process thinking you have to scan 2800 scores, rather than simply wanting to eventually scan 2800 scores, you’ll crash and burn in the process somewhere.

Scanning 106 scores would have taken me a week of scanning in the past…five to ten times longer than it took to scan those pieces last night. If you are planning on scanning your library, I now have to strongly recommend that you look at a sheet fed duplex scanner for the project. I can recommend the Canon scanners–the software that is included (In the case of the P-150, CaptureOnTouch) is very good. All of my PDF editing occurs on my MacBook in Preview, so there is no extra expense there. And of course, I always keep the original “large” copy and then use PDF Shrink to make a smaller copy for iPad optimized use. Granted, a scanner is an additional $250 to $800 expense (thinking about the large 11×17 Canon scanner), but if you can convince your district IT purchaser, your curriculum director, your principal, or your PTA/PSA to invest in a scanner for you, you will be able to make far better use of your iPad in the music classroom. And in 1-to-1 settings, your students will be able to use those resources, too.

(Note: I strongly believe that unless a piece is in the Public Domain, that you should only use as many digital copies as you have purchased physical copies or digital licenses.)


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