Going Digital: The Pioneers Who Paved The Way

The music world is making its way into the digital revolution. In fact, you can do almost anything from an iPad; composing, producing, performing from digital sheet music, or even playing an instrument from this device.

Some pioneers have taken full advantage of the iPad or other technologies and what they provide, check out some major ones below:


Joshua Bell and Sam Haywood

haywood and bell & iPad

Let’s talk a little about these two famous artists.

Joshua Bell is a world-renowned violinist. He started touring Europe at age 17, but what truly made him famous was his first performance in a Washington D.C. subway station in 2007, an experience initiated by the Washington Post columnist, Gene Weingarten. Joshua Bell has received many prizes and recognition among which his induction into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in 2005. Before that, he played at the World Economic Forum where he earned recognition as a “Young Global Leader”. He has played many different roles: soloist, chamber musician, recording artist orchestra leader as well as Music Director of the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields. He strongly believes in the benefits of music education, thus he has devoted himself to different projects such as Education Through Music that increased the number of children playing instruments within major American cities.

Sam Haywood is a famous British pianist. He also has worn different hats like soloist, chamber musician, composer and Artistic Director at the Solent Music Festival. He also works and plays a lot with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He also was awarded the Isserlis Award by the Royal Philharmonic Society and gives great importance to music with young people, that is why he is an ambassador to the West Lakes Academy and has developed many music projects for children.


These two artists are used to working together and they performed in 2012 at the Kennedy Center. At that time, Bell had not switched to digital but Haywood had. During this performance, he used an iPad to read his music and even Bluetooth pedals to turn pages. No page turners were to be seen on stage, Haywood was delighted since he has “had page turners who’ve forgotten their glasses or fallen off the stage.”

Bell, however, stuck to his paper sheet music because he thought the iPad screen was too small to perform with. Though, He still uses his iPad to compose or “when he is in a pinch in some remote corner of the world”.

On his side, Haywood continues to believe that “The iPad removes so much of the risk”, and he “can even practice in the dark”!

When they see Haywood performing, the audience is intrigued, more young people are interested and the musician is relieved.


Even before this duo started, some famous conductor also played his part in this digital revolution and used his iPad in 2011.


Jeffrey Kahane

jeffrey kahane and iPad

He made his debut as a conductor in 1988 at the Oregon Bach Festival, he has given recitals in major American music centers such as Chicago, New York, Boston, Los Angeles or Atlanta, and has conducted the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras and many others. He is now in his last season as Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra during which he is organizing a three-week festival in January 2017 including among other things a major educational project. He has recorded for great labels such as SONY, EMI, and others. Starting from Fall 2016, he will also be a professor of Keyboard Studies at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.

To make a long story short, he is a big shot in the classical world of music and guess what, in 2011, he conducted the New York Philharmonic from his iPad. “It’s been just a life-changing thing for me in many ways”, he said in an interview for the New York Times.


The Borromeo String Quartet

borromeo quartet

This string Quartet is in-residence at the New England Conservatory. It was formed in the 1980’s at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Nicolas Kitchen, a famous violinist founded it. He initiated the use of MacBooks to perform sheet music because he wanted his colleagues to see all four lines of the scores. He prefers laptops for their larger screens but still carefully keeps his iPad in his bag should he ever need it. For him, the easy access to original manuscripts enables him to “have probably 40 Beethoven manuscripts on [his] computer ” of which they are reading as they play. “That’s been stimulating in a way I could never have anticipated.”


Hugh Sung

Hugh Sung & iPad

He is a professional pianist and has performed and recorded with many famous violinists and composers such as Aaron Rosand or Robert Maggio. He has also worked with the Philadelphia and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras. He is part of ArtistWorks, the online music and art school that teaches through videos, enabling him to teach piano to students anywhere in the world. He also wrote a book called From Paper to Pixels, which helps musicians transitioning from paper to digital sheet music using sheet music reader apps and pedals. To ease this transition, he co-founded in 2008 AirTurn, a company making wireless page-turning pedals and other innovative tools to ease musicians’ lives. Sam Haywood actually uses an AirTurn page-turning pedal during his performances.

“I’d been thinking about a hands-free page-turning device since I first saw a tablet computer in 2001,” said Sung. “It wasn’t until the iPad hit the market that digital scores really caught on.” Using his pedals makes for a silent and easy page turning that only rests on a tap of a foot on a Bluetooth pedal. Since 2010, he has sold thousands to iPad users. He estimates that “the market for musicians using iPads is in the area of 2 million”.


As you can see, many musicians have already embraced the digital revolution because they understand all the benefits that come from this transition.

Using an iPad can be very practical for musicians, some could even imagine further technological advances in this field, for instance, glasses that would display screens across which digital sheet music would scroll.












For you Musicians, Digital will solve it all!

Digital is taking advantage over paper in every sector: you all read books on your tablets or get the news on your smartphone. But sheet music is the only sector that has still not benefited from this revolution although musicians are the ones who encounter the most paper issues.

And here comes Newzik.


Problem 1: The inconvenience of printed music

First, paper is heavy. VERY heavy. Just try to imagine a musician carrying 50 pounds of sheet music in addition to his instrument clutching his shoulder…

Second, paper is unreliable. Losing or forgetting scores happen to every musician, every day, even to the greatest (let’s say, Hugh Sung).

Thanks to digital scores, these situations won’t appear again: all your music content is gathered on your thin and light tablet. And because Newzik relies on its own Cloud, you will be able to retrieve your content on any device, anywhere, anytime.


Problem 2: The stressful page turn issue

In 2016, there is still someone employed to turn pianist’s sheet music page during a performance. Even worse, half of the strings players in an orchestra have to regularly stop playing, anxiously waiting for the page turn moment.

Confronted with these issues, the great Violinist Ray Chen pioneered and used the AirTurn Bluetooth foot pedal at the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium. He finished first.

Free hands, more focus on the music and the instrument. That’s the key.


Problem 3: Wasting time on searching for the right score

“Finding the right score or sheet for a rehearsal or during a performance is hard, ordering and re-organizing all over again his sheet music library is time-consuming” pointed out The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Its librarian, Robert Whipple, consequently decided to digitalize the whole library of the institution.

More convenient, faster in case of emergency. Make set lists of the needed scores, search for a music more easily.

Newzik could be defined as the iTunes for music scores. Very simple and self-explanatory. And even better: mp3, MIDI and video files can be added and synchronized with your scores.


Musicians deserve to benefit from the Digital Revolution, and Newzik is the best tool to enter this era.  Not only does it make optimal use of the benefits of paper, it provides never thought out alternatives: annotating digital scores, transposing in a fly, sharing instantaneously, and much more.



> Sung, Hugh. From Paper to Pixels: Your Guide to the Digital Sheet Music Revolution. Kasu Press, 2013.

> Fleming, John. “Digital vs. Print: Three committed converts” and“ Digital vs. Print: Three Music Librarians Weigh the Pros and the Cons”. Special Reports 2015, pp. 7-14.

Dear parents, let me tell you what I do for a living


A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at a family diner when my sister asked: “You’ve been working with Newzik for a while now, can you tell me, once and for all, what it is exactly?”

My parents decided to answer this question for me.

– Mom: “Honey, this is very simple. With Newzik, pages will turn automatically when you play music with your instrument, it is magic!”

– Dad: “You didn’t get it. With Newzik, you can compose and write your notes and AFTER, it will turn the pages automatically.”

Dear parents, I am very sorry but the time has come for some clarifications!

We agree on one fact: Newzik is a very large application containing many features. In this article, we’ll try to give you a more precise insight about what we do down here.

I. Newzik is a sheet music reader

Our main objective is crystal clear: we want to replace 3-ring binders with iPads on musicians’ stands all over the world. While the press and book sectors embraced the digital era a couple of years ago, time has come for the music sector to join this revolution.

A musician will then use Newzik as its personal sheet music library. Given everything is saved on the cloud, he can access his scores from any iPad or iPhone. He will import his music scores to his account and organize them into playlists. While rehearsing, he will be able to annotate these scores, transpose them and select the tracks he wants to display. Finally, on stage, he will read the music on his iPad and turn the pages thanks to a connected Bluetooth pedal (or even automatically when the score is synchronized with an audio track – this is not magic, this is technology!).

Note for tech-lovers: In addition to supporting PDF or .txt files like other applications do, Newzik is the best MusicXML reader available on iPad and iPhone. The MusicXML format lets you customize your scores with an incredible flexibility.

II. Newzik is a collaboration tool for bands and orchestras

Because music is namely a matter of collaboration and teamwork, we developed two tailor-made features for music bands and orchestras.

Feature 1 – Thanks to the Collaborative Playlists© feature, a musician can share his playlist with his band. Each member will be able to add his own titles, create his own versions in each title, make annotations, and follow other member’s moves in real time. In short, this feature could be defined as the “Google Doc of Playlists”.

Feature 2 – Thanks to the Band Mode©, you can connect iPads and/or iPhones together via Wifi and synchronize page turn and title change on every device. You’re sure then that your group members will always be on the right page and the right  title.

III. Newzik can be used by both professional and amateur musicians

You are a professional and write your music with Sibelius or Finale softwares? You’ll be able to read and manage your work directly into Newzik.

You’re an amateur musician and want to sing and play some songs? We built an in-app web search tool where you can find millions of lyrics and chords files. And if you don’t know how to play “Dm7”, click on it to see the fingers’ position on a fretboard or keyboard.

Dear friends, dear family, we hope this article will help you get what we do at Newzik and why we work so hard to get you the best app on the market.

Should you need further info about Newzik, ask my parents. Now they know!

(But if you can’t reach them, you can also visit our website).