forScore and Cicada: A Match Made in Heaven
A recent weekend in Idaho marked a major milestone in my use of my favorite device, the iPad. I played piano at my niece's wedding and read all the music scores from my iPad with the help of an app called forScore and turned the pages with my PageFlip Cicada Bluetooth Page Turner Pedal. Ahhh...a match made in heaven!
This decision was due to the fact that the happy couple requested Jon Schmidt's "Waterfall" as a recessional. As there wouldn't be time for me to memorize the piece and because I dislike depending on someone else to manage the tricky page turns, I determined this tech-savvy combo was the logical choice.
Note: An app like forScore is required to use a Bluetooth page-turning pedal. To learn more about how this combination works, click here and/or watch this video.
As I practiced "Waterfall" and mastered the page turns with the pedal, I decided to read all the scores for the prelude and processional from the iPad. My selections came from a number of books which meant I needed to scan each piece using JotNot Scanner and create PDF's that could then be opened in forScore. Luckily I had seen this process expertly explained and executed by Mario Ajero, Associate Professor of Piano at Stephen F Austin State University on his YouTube channel. I've included the video below.
Note: Make sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel! You'll learn more tips about using the iPad and his favorite apps and be inspired by the host of videos he shares of his own prodigious young children at the piano and much more.
This decision was slightly scary. What if my foot went berserk and accidentally flipped two pages instead of one? What if my iPad unexpectedly shut down? What if the pedal quit working? How was I going to move from one piece to the next within forScore? What if.... You know how important weddings are to a bride so I decided I needed to take precautionary measures to make sure there would be no annoying incidents committed by the pianist:
1) I brought hard copies along of each piece and kept them close to the piano. This not only gave me peace of mind if there was an iPad or pedal malfunction, but also made my scanning "lawful" as the original editions were present. Some of the scores were purchased as digital downloads and so I printed them off and stored them in a binder.
2) It was SO easy to organize the PDF scores in forScore thanks to the Playlist feature. Click or tap on each photo in the gallery below to learn more about how to create a playlist.
3) My iPad was fully charged and the volume was muted and notifications turned off to ensure that nothing would disrupt the service or distract me.
Note: The easiest and fastest way to mute the device and turn off all notifications is by swiping up from the bottom of the iPad screen which accesses the control center screen. Tapping on the bell icon will mute the volume and tapping on the moon icon will turn off all alerts and notifications.
4) Prior to the service, I placed fresh batteries in my Cicada pedal to ensure that they wouldn't die during the service.
5) I removed my left sandal so that I could feel the Bluetooth pedal with my bare toes. I noticed that practicing barefoot at home made me feel more confident about controlling the pedal. I kept my right sandal on so no one noticed the missing shoe. The bride and groom were glowing, the pastor was inspiring, the flowers were elegant, the bridesmaids were lovely and the pianist successfully provided music to enhance the service. I will definitely be using this "match made in heaven" again!
Interested in my eclectic playlist featuring the bride's preferences?
- "Now Thank We All Our God" arr Putnam, from Hymnprovisations
- "A Mighty Fortress is our God" arr Sorenson, from Images
- "Be Thou My Vision" arr Stevens, Digital score
- "Just the Way You Are" by Mars arr Schmidt, vanderBeek and Nelson from The Piano Guys
- "Mrs. Darcy" by Marianelli from Pride and Prejudice
- "Sheep May Safely Graze" arr Bober from Wedding Treasures
- "Arioso" arr Bober from Wedding Treasures (So many people let me know how much they enjoyed this elegant yet accessible arrangement.)
- "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" arr Bober from Wedding Treasures
- My own arrangement of "Bridal Processional" combined with "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow." This was another first at a wedding as I did not notate the arrangement and played it from memory!
- "Waterfall" by Jon Schmidt
Here's a recording of my "Bridal Processional" arrangement.
(This article was first published at MusicTeachersHelper.com.)