Trundling off to school each morning as a child with a heavy backpack slung over my shoulder, I’d often wonder…why am I carrying so many textbooks and folders!? How many of these will I really need today!? Will I even make it to school without collapsing from this load?
Contributed by Mark van der Sluis for the Roland Australia Blog
I am amazed I didn’t have to go to a physiotherapist after all those years of carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, as well as a lot of library books!
To be fair, the above scenario occurred several decades before the invention of computers. Textbooks, encyclopaedias and folders full of sheet music were constant companions by necessity. As a result, there was simply no other way to access the information and resources I required if I did not have them with me at the time.
Fast forward to this decade. As we know, computers have revolutionised our daily lives. Many students now trundle off to school with a lightweight and portable laptop or tablet. Making it easy to find and download information online, as well as taking them wherever you go, these devices have also transformed the way we think about books.
So when it comes to sheet music, how do these technological innovations help musicians?
Digital Sheet Music Will Change the Way You Learn
Here are a few reasons why digital sheet music is the best way to go:
1. Your Entire Library in the Palm of your Hand
Carrying heavy books and music folders around is a thing of the past. Did you know that even the smallest iPad (16GB) can store an estimated 14,000 books? That equates to more than 300kgs! As a result, with a tablet your entire sheet music library never needs to leave your side.
2. Find Any Piece Instantly
With digital sheet music, there’s no more wasted time searching through mountains of books for that one elusive piece of music. With digital sheet music, every song in your library can be located instantly and with ease.
3. Turn Pages Hands-Free
Being able to turn pages without taking your hands off the piano is definitely one of the best things about using digital sheet music. When using free apps such as Piano Everyday and Piano partner 2 with a compatible Roland piano, you can use the left and centre pedals to turn pages for you!
These Roland digital pianos all feature Bluetooth technology: FP-30*, RP-102, F-140, HP-700 series , LX-700 series and the GP-607 & GP-609.
*Requires optional KPD-70 Three-Pedal Unit for page turn
Other Great Articles: The Best APPS for Learning Piano
What Digital Sheet Music Apps are available?
There are far too many ‘really good’ digital sheet music apps to cover in this one article, so I’ll go straight to a few of my personal favourites.
I highly recommend these apps for a few reasons:
- Great functionality – they do what I expect them to do.
- They look great, they’re intuitive and easy to use.
Roland’s Piano Every Day is designed for anyone who used to play piano and would like to start playing their favourite music. Worth noting, it’s also ideal for beginners who are just getting into the piano. This unique app supports and encourages daily piano practice for a fulfilling and enriching playing experience.
Once installed on your smartphone, the app connects to Sheet Music Direct, the world’s largest collection of online sheet music. Importantly, you can then browse and download a variety of music scores ranging from classical to pop, complementing the many songs already on board your Roland LX700 or HP700 series piano with your personal favourites.
From within the app, you have the world’s largest online store for digital music scores at your fingertips. Browse a vast selection of scores spanning every musical genre, from classical, pop, and jazz to movie soundtracks, holiday songs, and beyond.
Website: Roland – Piano EveryDay
If you love playing Classical pieces, then this is an absolute ‘must have’ app!
- You can get 70,000 Classical Music Scores for free!
- You can make notes and highlight the score as you like
- YouTube integration allows you to either watch or listen to performances (pictured)
- Real sound Metronome supports your practice
Video Overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk9d6Uymvno
#3. Sheet Music Direct
If you’re looking for a digital sheet music app that caters for more modern and contemporary music, then Sheet Music Direct by Music Sales is hard to go past. SMD offers a smooth interface (not dissimilar to the iTunes store) and has a gigantic range catalogue of sheet music.
Importantly, the app is free to download and offers some free sheet music as well, although the majority of titles are an in-app purchase. You’ll find sheet music for popular artists and bands such as Pink, John Legend, Adele, Elton John, Billy Joel, The Beatles, Sting and Coldplay (to name just a few) and they come with a MIDI file backing track as well. This is particularly helpful because you can separate left and right hand parts for practice whilst listening to the melody play.
#4. Sheet Music Direct PlayAlong
This is definitely one of my all-time favorites!
Sheet Music Direct PlayAlong is the first iPad app that combines interactive sheet music, pro-quality audio backing tracks (not MIDI File backing tracks) and powerful practice/performance tools along with premier songs from the Sheet Music Direct music library. Like the other apps, it is free with in-app purchases but it includes 15 free songs to get you started!
The App includes sheet music and backing tracks for songs from the top artists of yesterday and today including Adele, The Beatles, Bruno Mars, Billy Joel, Coldplay, Elton John, Taylor Swift, Eagles, One Direction, Christina Perri, Frank Sinatra, Sam Smith, Pink Floyd, Queen and more.
Styles range from Pop to Rock, Jazz, Musicals, Classical, Latin, Film/TV and more.
#4. Musicnotes Sheet Music Player