WHY GO DIGITAL?
Q&A – 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. SIZE OF THE DIGITAL SCORE
“The iPad Pro is not large enough"
We hear musicians saying that the A4 /12″9 format of the iPad Pro is too small for them.
Below are our answers and solutions:
Erase the PDF scores’ margins
Most of the time, the B4 paper sheet that musicians receive have large margins on their sides, 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 out of it.
Turn the iPad Pro in landscape mode
Through Newzik, many musicians 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 that have doubts regarding score sizes.
Get each string player closer to his own iPad stand
Instead of sharing a B4 score with a fellow musician, how about having your own and personal iPad, at the distance you want, 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, at Newzik, we developed the first MusicXML rendering technology on 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, the conductor is rehearsing with the large touch-screen. The screen is directly connected with the Maestro’s iPad Pro for 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 built our software to be efficient and useful with or without the conductor’s involvement in the digital domain. We are aware that some conductors are not familiar with this new way of reading music and we are currently working with conductors who wish to be prepared for future challenges.
“I need to see two pages to anticipate the music”
Until now, music publishers have written their scores optimizing the page breaks to make it easy to turn your pages – 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!
Enjoy the half page turn feature
Newzik offers the option to pre-visualize the first part of the next page and the last part of the previous page at the same time. This way, you will never be surprised by a challenging page turn.
The double page in landscape mode
In Newzik, you can choose to display two pages in landscape mode. In extreme situations, if you feel that the display is too small for you, do not forget that you can always use a larger screen connected to your iPad!
The slow scroll option
Newzik enables musicians to scroll vertically at their own pace.
Edit the layout of the PDF
Our PDF editor tool allows you to quickly reorder pages to better anticipate a repetition, or move specific staves.
Adjust your MusicXML layout
With the flexibility of MusicXML scores, you will be able to manually adjust the organization of your score and postpone some challenging parts for the next page.
2. DIGITIZATION PROCESS
“How to get copyrighted digital scores”
Copyrights and licenses are our top priority. Digital scores for performances is 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, for each of our orchestra clients to cover 100% of the copyright for any particular score.
We have already successfully collaborated with Boosey and Bärenreiter for orchestral projects. Publishers will be ready once the demand from orchestras becomes more official and initiated by concrete projects. For individual players, publishers have already turned to digital. For instance, Henle 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 built its own cloud, hosted on the secure Amazon server, to store all your scores! 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.
“What equipment do I need?”
Not that much. The 12’9 iPad Pro is the main new 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 in a paper score
- iPad Stands: You can easily clip and unclip the iPad into a secure and mobile stand
Please explore the panel of accessories here.
- iPad Carts: To store, move and charge 40 iPads at once
“How do the pedals work?"
First off, the pedal work via a Bluetooth transmission.
To avoid any potential interference issue, the pedals simply need to be paired up in advance. Then, 120 pedals will simultaneously work perfectly.
Once a pedal is connected to the iPad, there is no chance that any interference can happen. You will just need to connect each iPad with its associated pedal once. Then you can put numbered stickers on them to help you associate them quickly and you are set for years!
Long Lasting Battery
The Bluetooth foot pedals are very energy efficient and their battery will last at least 300 hours.
In any case, musicians can still turn pages manually even if the pedal is connected with the Newzik!
To see 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 with Bretford on the PowerSync cart. With this cart, you can charge simultaneously 40 iPads, store them securely and move them from hall to hall.
“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 be fully charged.
If your orchestra rehearses full day, you simply need to think of new practices to avoid a run-out battery:
1) Make sure that the iPads are charged before a rehearsal or a concert. If your musicians bring their iPads home, remind them that they need to charge them before the next rehearsal or performance.
2) Connect the stands to a central electrical system on stage so that the iPads are always charged. Don’t be afraid of Apple white cables – black charging cables also exist on the market!
3) Use the break moments to return the iPads to the iPad cart and charge 40 iPads simultaneously.
“Do I need to install WIFI?”
The Newzik app requires WiFi in order for the changes to sync 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 re-arranges live the full score and broadcasts the new version for each musician.
In these specific contexts, the information has to pass through our server via wifi and we do recommend a good connection.
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.
To sum up, you can be reassured of one thing: the app is built to work offline for performances.
Thanks to our own cloud, musicians can individually perform freely with no wifi connection.
“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, we have designed a small template that will help you calculate how much you spend on a yearly basis in costs that are associated with paper scores management – paper, ink, printers, shipments, extra librarian for specific events, etc. The Brussels Philharmonic estimated this annual cost at 25,000$. For the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, the cost when calculated was 40,000$.
By going digital with Newzik, chances are that you will end up saving money in the long run as you will be able to cut costs on things that are no longer necessary.
Regarding the material to acquire – iPads, pedals, stands, cart – you will have several options:
1) Buy the material, for instance with the help of a sponsor that wants to be associated with this digital transition.
2) Rent the material. For instance, an iPad that you rent through a leasing solution will cost you around 25$/month… with all the advantages of a leasing service, including material replacement in case of accident.
For a long-term solution, we’ve partnered with Apple to offer orchestras our great leasing options. Instead of massively investing in 100 iPads at once, the orchestra can pay around a 1000 pounds a month, covering the insurance and device replacement as well.
And yes, we are running trials with orchestras such as the Monte-Carlo Philharmonics, the Opéra de Rouen and the Israeli Camerata. We are also sharing ideas with librarians from the LSO, Opéra de Paris, MET and so on.
For more details about material or 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 always be stressful for musicians. So naturally, we understand that adding a new technology to read 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 already perform with iPads and completely got rid of these psychological barriers. Here is what Newzik offers to help you overcome these barriers:
Offline performance mode
First off, in Newzik, a “lock mode” allows the musician to be in front of his score in full screen, and to avoid any mis-clicks!
To strengthen the software, we decided to build a complete and powerful offline performance mode. This means you won’t get any sudden surprise notifications, such as from Skype, Facebook or Gmail!
We have run intensive tests in many situations and got 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, are tirelessly testing each Newzik version that we release.
“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 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 Pros have a 4-year duration life.
The Newzik software has been built to be effective for any post iOS9 devices. This means that if you invest in iPads in year 1, you will fully enjoy the software in year 4, whatever the version updates. In the case that you buy the iPads, they will still be operational more than 3 years after the acquisition date with daily use.
In the case that you decide to go the leasing 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. As we said, our top priority is to avoid any bug or crash.
The Newzik version on Android will exist in the future; once we will be sure that we can match the extreme expectations of professional musicians and reach a 100% stability guarantee.
“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 shinny 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 score angle according to the context.