A few years ago, I attempted to move my presentations away from “60 Apps in 60 Minutes” to sessions that were based on best practice with some of the apps. To my surprise, these sessions were not of interest to many state music education associations–they wanted the “app list” presentations. Even today, I am amazed at how many core apps are still unknown to music educators, even for apps that have been around since the iPad was introduced in 2010.
A few posts ago, I blogged about Newzik, a new app that is both a PDF and MusicXML reader. This is a new idea, and you can see the benefits of the MusicXML format when you work with the app. The fact is that most musicians do not have access to MusicXML files, and have access to PDF files which were hopefully obtained or created legally.
If you have PDF files, there are a handful of PDF readers that I recommend. This includes forScore, unrealBook, and NextPage among others. forScore and unrealBook are the most developed PDF music readers that you will find on any platform (iOS, Mac OS, Windows, Linux, or Android). While there are other solutions on other platforms, iPad users are blessed with the best-in-class options for reading music.
I presented on forScore at NAfME last November (and no, an hour isn’t enough), and recently came across a tool in the notation area I had not seen before…stretchable shapes, such as crescendos and decrescendos. Apparently those have been in forScore since version 7.
I have a pretty good grasp on forScore, and there are still tools in the app that I am learning about it. When I present on the “basic” functions of forScore, it is pretty clear that many music educators have no idea of some of the fantastic featrures offered by forScore, even when they have the app installed on their devices.
This summer, forScore is going to release their 10th version of the software. You can read a detailed report here .
I am impressed by the new audio tools…the ability to speed up or slow down at pitch will be a great tool for musicians. Another audio feature is the ability to easily create looped playback–which would be awesome for drilling sections of music in a rehearsal or sectional. I like forScore’s new ability to insert content from one PDF to another. I am waiting to buy an iPad Pro until the fall, but I look forward to working with forScore with an Apple Pencil. And forScore’s enhanced features for Darkroom (taking pictures of a score to use) and “deskew” from the crop tool will be of great assistance to music educators. This just scratches the surface of forScore 10.
And it will be a free upgrade to owners of forScore, even those people that bought the app six years ago.
I have a suite of music education apps that I use more than other apps. All of these apps have continued to innovate and to add features as apps have matured (as well as the OS and the APIs that give developers more power). If you haven’t looked at some of these apps in a while–take the time to get reacquainted. You might be surprised at what they can do!
Look for forScore 10 later this summer.