The iPad Pro: This Changes Everything!

Yep, I got an iPad Pro. Here’s the background on why it changes everything.

Digital scores have become increasingly more common. They immediately download after purchase. There’s no waiting for a delivery from the post man or the UPS truck. Even better, when it comes to reading the scores, I have purposely avoided printing them and instead, view them on my iPad Air 2 with the help of the app forScore. Once the digital score is opened in forScore and my iPad is paired with my Cicada pedal I enjoy the luxury of hands-free page turns. It’s a combination made in heaven. Follow this link to read more about my gushing.

I’ve been growing accustom to this way of viewing digital scores but always appreciate my reading glasses as the notation on the iPad screen is comparably smaller than that found in hard copies. So, I still mostly read from hard copy scores when I play for weekly Sunday services.

Besides the smaller notation being more difficult to read, another reason that I’ve avoided reading more scores from the iPad is the tedious process of scanning hard copies. Scanning is converting a paper document (hard copy) into a digital copy. Taking a picture of a page with a mobile device is really not that difficult thanks to the easy-to-use scanning apps. But, it does take time and since I border on the side of always feeling I like I don’t have enough of it, I’ve not been a fan of the process. That was…until I opened my iPad Pro and saw the size of a score on the GIANT screen. That changed everything.

But there are some questions to be answered…

What’s the best way to scan a bunch of hard copies?

I am now committed to scanning the music I need for my upcoming services, read them on my iPad Pro and enjoy hands-free page turns. It dawned on me that someone may have a better, more efficient way for scanning. So before I jumped into the process with both feet, I immediately went to my favorite source for iPad support: the iPad Piano Teachers Facebook group.

1) Like me, others find it difficult to hold an iPad still while scanning. I was advised to drink less coffee 🙂

2) Some choose to scan documents using a printer/scanner combination instead of a mobile 31s7K+FEPALdevice. One member of the group recommended this relatively inexpensive printer: the HP Envy 4500 printer and raved about it.

3) There are a number of apps for scanning. It didn’t seem like one stood out from all the others. Favorites mentioned in the conversation thread include:

4) Those who have scanned in hundreds of pages (wow!) claimed the easiest way to scan was to use a mobile phone–not the iPad.

5) Most advised that all scanned scores be saved in Dropbox first and then opened in forScore.

Which method produces the best results?

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The Manos Mount is gripping my iPad so I can take scans of the music and keep the iPad steady. A lamp is there to provide better lighting.

1) To keep the iPad still, I mounted an iPad on to my Manos Mount thinking it would keep it steady and I would switch pages in front of the fixed camera and quickly scan them. The Manos Mount blocked the screen so I had difficulty tapping on the screen to take the pics and share them to Dropbox, etc. It was not working as efficiently as I had hoped. The idea was abandoned.

2) My HP Office Jet Pro 8600 printer/scanner was successful at scanning but the pages looked slightly gray. The appearance just wasn’t up to snuff so I bagged that idea, too.

3) I scanned a couple of pieces with JotNot (free version) on my iPad. They turned out OK but not as clear as I would have liked.

4) Next, I tried TurboScan (I’ve been using this app for years) on my phone and used the SureScan option where I took three photos of the same page. This generated the best image of all the options so I went with it.

What are the steps to ensure scans stay organized?

1) Scan the pages of a selected piece with TurboScan (or favorite scanner app.)

2) Save the PDF to Dropbox and create a folder called Scanned Music.

3) Open the PDF in Dropbox on the iPad Pro.

4) Export it.

5) Open it in forScore.

6) Edit the title of the piece and add the composer’s name so that it can be easily located within forScore.

7) Move the desired pieces to played for an upcoming event into a set list in forScore.

It’s still a tedious process but there’s no way around it and it goes relatively quickly. Having all my repertoire organized in one place with hands-free page turns is a dream and worth the effort.

Why is it important to save to Dropbox?

For some reason forScore froze on my new iPad Pro. The only thing I could do was to delete the app and reinstall which meant I lost all my data in the app. I was SO happy that I saved all my scanned scores in Dropbox. This a must-have storage application that can be accessed from all your devices. Make sure you secure a Dropbox account (set one up here for free) AND don’t forget the important step of saving scores here!

Which pedal pairs well with the iPad Pro?

I recently purchased the AirTurnPED upon a recommendation from a friend and paired it with the iPad Pro. This is the smallest, most streamlined pedal, ever! It came out of the box, charged and it painlessly paired with the iPad. I can rest my foot on the pedal and then press on the pedal to turn pages. It alleviates the foot cramps I was getting with the other pedal.

What about the keyboard and the pencil?

I ordered the iPad Pro, Apple’s Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro  and the Apple Pencil and have only received the iPad Pro so I’m curious to know how Apple’s first keyboard will compare to the other brands I use–Logitech and Snugg. I over heard a conversation in Best Buy yesterday that the Logitech keyboard has major lag issues with the iPad Pro.

Yes, I jumped in and made a financial commitment to all three and paid about the same as my Mac Book Pro (eye balls rolling.)

What about a case?

This is what concerns me the most. As of right now, my iPad Pro is completely unprotected. I 61deXvK4eAL._SL1000_really want the keyboard first so that I can tell what other type of protection I’ll need. In the mean time, I ordered the fairly inexpensive Snugg iPad Pro Case–Leather Smart Cover with Kick Stand and hope it arrives shortly.

On my wish list is the Valet Slim Leather Sleeve to hold all three components!

NO, I DO NOT receive any kick backs from Apple…I’m just a sucker for that fruity tech company.

If you are wondering if the investment is worth it, I’d say it really depends on how much you think you would use the iPad Pro for reading scores. If that’s not a priority, I think the iPad Air models will suit your needs for quite some time. If size matters, the iPad Pro should definitely be on your Christmas list!


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Leila Viss

Creative Pianist, Piano Teacher, Organist, Blogger and Author of The iPad Piano Studio

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Once again …. great minds ….. 🙂 I got the Snugg case for my Pro, and I LOVE it. Not too heavy, and I feel “safer” with it in a case. I also love having the little holder for the stylus. Just got notice that Apple has shipped my pencil — should arrive by Monday.

    • Well thanks for all YOUR help with figuring out the best way to scan. Glad to hear you are in line with the Snugg case and that means perhaps I’ll get a pencil soon? I’m wondering when the keyboard will arrive? Thanks for sharing, Anna 🙂

  • I just purchased the iPad Pro and am super excited to get started using it in my studio. I purchased the ‘iPad Piano Studio’ book last year, but hadn’t done much movement in learning how to incorporate the iPad into my teaching until about a month ago.
    I have purchased the iPad pro locally, but have ordered the pencil and a keyboard from a friend who lives in China…not the apple brand, so I’m hoping they work okay 😁!
    Thanks again for all your posts….they are helping me be a better teacher for sure😉

    • Congratulations, Krista. You will LOVE your iPad Pro. Thanks for your kind words. I look forward to hearing from you how you integrate the iPad into YOUR iPad piano studio!

  • Hi Leila. Great post and full of information that is useful for me. Thanks! I have one suggestion that may be useful concerning how to scan hard copies into digital copies cleanly. I’ve been using the ipad for some time now for scanning and reading scores. At first, I did a lot of research and practice set-ups. The most inexpensive and best way that worked for me was to put my ipad on top of a Manhasset music stand with the camera laying just over the edge of the stand and facing down. The music I laid on a flat surface underneath it. This is very convenient as my camera button faces me, the stand allows for an easy adjustment of angle and when I press the button to take the picture it’s still and takes a very clean shot. I also use the CamScanner app and have been very happy with it to scan music. Hope this might be helpful.

  • I’m not going to lie…even though I have an iPad 2…I still really want an iPad Pro. It’s a business expense, right?
    I probably won’t buy one until the one I have bites the dust, but a girl can dream.

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