HOW TO SWITCH FROM PAPER TO DIGITAL SCORES?
Q&A for Musicians, Conductors, Librarians, Managers
At Newzik, our goal is to make digital tools as effective as paper and more. Before considering going digital, an orchestra needs to make sure that no advantages of using sheet music would be lost by switching to a digital solution.
In recent years, we collaborated with a large number of professional orchestras, conductors, musicians, librarians and stage managers. We have gathered all the questions that we’ve been asked, as well as the answers we’ve provided throughout the years.
1. THE IPAD SIZE FOR SHEET MUSIC
“The iPad Pro is not large enough"
We sometimes hear musicians saying that the A4 /12″9 format of the iPad Pro is too small for them.
Therefore, we have taken the liberty of answering the most commonly asked questions and providing solutions for them below:
Erase the PDF scores margins
Most of the time, the B4 paper sheet that musicians receive have large side margins, but the musical content sticks to an A4 format – the same as the iPad Pro. With our embedded layout editing features that let you crop the score margins, each musician will be able to enlarge their score and get the most from it.
Turn the iPad Pro to landscape mode
Through using Newzik, many musicians have discovered this completely innovative way of reading music. By using the iPad in landscape mode, they can enjoy a large display that is even larger than the classic B4. Coupled with a foot pedal for page turning, this feature is essential for musicians who may have doubts regarding score sizes.
Bring each string player closer to his own iPad stand
Instead of sharing a B4 score with a fellow musician, how about having your own, personal iPad, at the preferred distance, right in front of your eyes?
Zoom-in on the MusicXML score
As of today, PDF is the best format to help musicians make their transition from paper to digital. However, Newzik is the first to have developed the MusicXML rendering technology for the iOS. With this flexible format of tomorrow, you will be able to work precisely on the display of your scores, reorder your bars and if needed in some configurations even transpose them.
“Is there a larger screen for the conductor?"
Sure! In the picture above, you will see the conductor rehearsing with the large touch-screen.
The screen is directly connected with the Maestro’s iPad Pro for a no latency annotation. To turn pages, he simply touches the sides of the large screen.
The Newzik digital stand nicely hides the wires and allows the iPad Pro to continuously charge.
Lastly, we have built our software to be efficient and useful with or without the conductor’s involvement in the digital domain. We are fully aware that some conductors are not familiar with this new method of reading music, therefore we are currently working with conductors who wish to be prepared for any future challenges.
“I need to see two pages”
Until now, music publishers have written their scores optimizing the page breaks allowing for an easier page turn – with a 2-page reference! The left page is never optimized because musicians are not supposed to turn this page to go to the next one. Here are the solutions Newzik offers to anticipate the music:
Bluetooth foot pedal
Play hands-free and quickly flip pages with a Bluetooth foot pedal!
Newzik offers the option to pre-visualize the first part of the following page and the last part of the previous page at the same time. This way, you will never be unpleasantly surprised by a challenging page turn.
Double page in landscape mode
In Newzik, you can choose to display two pages simultaneously via landscape mode. In extreme situations, if you feel that the display is not quite large enough, remember that you can always use a larger screen connected to your iPad!
Slow scroll option
Newzik enables musicians to scroll vertically at their own pace.
PDF layout edition
Our PDF editor tool allows you to quickly reorder pages to better anticipate a repetition, or move specific staves.
MusicXML layout edition
With the flexibility of MusicXML scores, you will be able to manually adjust the organization of your score and postpone some challenging parts to the next page.
2. HOW TO DIGITIZE SHEET MUSIC
“How to get copyrighted digital scores”
Copyrights and licenses are our top priority. Digital scores for performances are still somewhat of an unprecedented area for publishers. Based on the fact that this option is contractual and not “legal”, our team collaborates with publishers on a case by case basis, to enable each of our orchestra clients to cover 100% of the copyright for any particular score.
We have already successfully collaborated with Boosey & Hawkes and Bärenreiter for orchestral projects. Publishers will be ready once the demand from orchestras becomes higher and are initiated by further concrete projects. For individual players, publishers have already turned to digital. For instance, Henle has just launched an app called Henle Library to sell digital sheet music (including different fingerings!).
“How are my digital scores backed-up?”
Cloud Hosting & Backup
To save your entire digital library, Newzik has its own built-in cloud, hosted on the secure Amazon server, allowing you to store all of your scores no matter where or when! Whether you lose or break an iPad, or simply forget it at home, you can ALWAYS retrieve your content, including your annotations, from any other iPad.
“How to digitize my paper scores ?"
Scanning process for PDF
The first option is to scan the score and then simply import the PDF into Newzik.
Copying process for MusicXML
The second option is to copy the piece from scratch into Sibelius, Finale or any notation software and then to export the piece as a flexible, editable and transposable MusicXML score.
3. HOW TO SET-UP THE EQUIPMENT
“What equipment do I need?”
Not much in fact. The 12’9 iPad Pro or any iPad* is now the primary piece of equipment for musicians. To make your life easier, we recommend having a look at these products below:
- Bluetooth Foot Pedals: Musicians can turn pages hands-free
- Stylus: Musicians can quickly annotate like within a paper score
- iPad Stands: You can easily clip or unclip the iPad onto a secure and mobile stand
Please explore the range of accessories here.
- iPad Carts: To store, move and charge up to 40 iPads at any given time
*any iPad from iOS9
“How do the pedals work?"
First off, the pedal works via a Bluetooth transmission.
To avoid any potential interference issues, the pedals simply need to be paired up in advance. Then, 120 pedals will work perfectly simultaneously.
Once a pedal is connected to the iPad, there is no chance of any interference happening. You simply need to connect each iPad with its associated pedal once and number that iPad to help with prompt identification, then you will be set up for years of great use!
Long Lasting Battery
The Bluetooth foot pedals are very energy efficient with a battery life that can last up to 300 hours.
In any case, musicians can still turn pages manually with Newzik, even if the pedal is connected.
To view the different Bluetooth foot pedal options, please visit this page.
"How/where would the iPads be stored & re-charged?"
For your battery management, Newzik recommends that you use a charging cart. We’ve partnered up with Bretford with their PowerSync cart. With this cart, you can charge 40 iPads simultaneously, store them securely, and move them from hall to hall with ease.
“How long does the iPad battery life last?”
The iPad Pro lasts 5 hours running with the Newzik app fully used! The iPad Pros need 2 hours only to reach full charge.
If your orchestra rehearses for the entire day, you simply need to think of new ways to avoid a run-out battery:
1) Make sure that the iPads are fully charged before any rehearsal or concert. If your musicians take their iPads home, remind them to recharge before the next rehearsal or performance.
2) Connect the stands to a centrally located electrical hub on stage so that the iPads are always charged. Don’t be afraid of the Apple white cables – black charging cables also exist on the market!
3) Use the performance breaks to return all 40 iPads to the iPad cart and charge them simultaneously.
“Do I need to install WIFI?”
The Newzik app requires WiFi in order to sync changes with the score.
1) To share/receive the annotations in real time. For example when the concertmaster shares his bowing with his/her section.
2) To share/receive new versions of the music. For example, when the composer conducts a live re-arrangement of the full score and broadcasts the new version for each musician.
In these specific situations, the information has to pass through our server via wifi and we do recommend a good connection to do so.
If your rehearsal hall is not equipped with wifi at all, you can use a powerful 4G Hotspot.
However, if the signal is extremely poor and prevents the Hotspot from working, musicians can still rehearse offline, and the syncing will happen once the iPads get a connection. Musicians can perform freely and individually with no wifi connection.
To sum up, you can be reassured of one thing: the app is built to work offline for performances.
“How much is the investment?”
Let’s be honest – Very often, this is the first question that is asked. However, going digital does not necessarily mean that you will need to massively invest in material acquisition.
First of all, we have designed a small template that will help calculate how much you spend on a yearly based on costs that are associated with paper score management such as; paper, ink, printers, shipments, extra librarian help for specific events, etc. The Brussels Philharmonic estimated their annual cost to be of $25,000. The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra calculated it’s overall cost to at $40,000.
By going digital with Newzik, chances are that you will end up saving money in the long run. Why? Because you will be able to cut costs on things that are no longer necessary.
Regarding the material to acquire – iPads, pedals, stands, cart – you have several options:
1) Buy the material. For instance, with the help of a sponsor that would like to be associated with this digital transition.
2) Rent the material. For example, an iPad that you rent via a pay to lease solution will cost you around $30 per month… this will equip you with all the advantages of a leasing service such as; insurance (iCare) including material replacement services in case of an accident.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Apple Business to offer orchestras our great leasing options. Instead of having to invest within 100 iPads at once, the orchestra can pay around $3,000 a month, which includes insurance cover and device replacement services as well.
For more details about material or the trial costs, do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com
“What about a crash, freeze or bug during a live performance?”
Performing can be stressful for musicians. So naturally, we understand that adding a new technology to enable the reading of scores can add to that stress factor.
The digital revolution is a new concept for orchestras. But we want to highlight that many solo musicians are already performing with iPads and have completely abolished these psychological barriers. This is what Newzik offers to help you overcome these barriers:
Offline performance mode
First and foremost, Newzik offers a “performance mode” allowing the musician to be in front of his locked sheet music, and to avoid any miss-clicks! You also won’t get any sudden surprise notifications, such as from Skype, Facebook or Gmail!
We have run intensive tests in many situations and have received amazing results. The priority of our strong development team and Q&A experts will always be to bring the best stability possible for your performance. A dedicated team of beta testers is tirelessly testing each and every Newzik version that is released.
“Will you always be with us?”
We know how hard it is to make the decision to go digital for an orchestra. That is why we have implemented a platform through which you can talk to us anywhere, anytime. We will always be available, even remotely to assist you in any situation.
If you have further questions or would like to schedule a free trial, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“What is the duration life of an iPad Pro?"
The iPad Pro has a 4-year life duration.
The Newzik software has been designed to be effective for any post iOS9 device. This means that if you invest in an iPad one year, you will continue to enjoy the software in 4 years, whatever the version updates. Therefore if you decide to purchase the iPads, they will still be operational more than 3 years after the acquisition date with daily use.
If you decide to go down the lease route, you will be able to renew your equipment at no cost every two years!
“Why not Android tablets?"
Apple iPads are the most rock-solid tablets on the market. And as we stressed previously, our top priority is to avoid any bugs or crashes.
The Newzik version will be available on Android in the near future; once we will be sure to support and meet the expectations of professional musicians and be able to provide a 100% stability guarantee. So keep posted.
“Is the digital screen reflection visually comfortable?”
Some musicians told us they would enjoy a “Kindle-like” reader whose light does not come from the device itself. But the side effect is that no “Kindle-like system” is powerful enough to develop such a complete tool as Newzik. How can you get around this?
On top of that, some recommended manufacturers offer great anti-reflection stickers to apply to your screen so you can play everywhere – inside, outside, and with or without light, etc.
Night shift effect
Through this iOS feature that already exists in any iPad, you have the possibility to adjust the brightness of your screen.
With the help of an ophthalmologist, we worked on the background color of the score to make it perfect for any situation. From Newzik, musicians can change the white shiny score background to a softer sepia.
iPad stands adjustments
The flexibility of the iPad stands with their iKlip provides the musician with the possibility of adjusting the scoring angle according to the context.