I have to admit it: I am a gadget junk! I just love all devices that make life easier and more comfortable. Since the era of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, I'm totally happy to have all my sheet music, charts and music notation in one place... In my case, I use an iPad to organize all of it.
But I'm often surprised that other musicians, that also work with iPads, didn't hear of some very useful apps and tools and are still struggling with papers, notes and chaos within their sheet music library. So here are a few tips to create lead sheets, organize your sheet music library and notate music, when you're on the road.
No more searching for the right charts in the gigantic pile of papers, no more forgetting to bring them to the gig. All you need is your tablet.
The apps I use so far are: iReal b, forScore, Notion & iGigbookYour sheet music library:
In order to organize your library, forScore is the perfect tool! All sheets in one place, organized by title, composer, genre, playlists or keywords.
All your real and fake books are better handled by iGigbook since it features the indexes for all of them.
So, for whole books (as long as the index is featured on iGigbooks website) use iGigbook and for your own sheet music library use forScore!
Making a lead sheet:
Mobile devices are very useful, when you're away from home. There are a few apps out there that can help to notate music, help to transpose, compose or share your notation with your bandmates. No messy handwritten sheets and everybody can rely on the same sheet music.
But unfortunately there still is no all-in-one solution and we have to pick the best features from a few apps and combine them. There are notation apps that are capable of writing music and chord symbols, like Notion (which I like a lot), but in this case, it only supports 2 bars per row, which is insane when you need just a lead sheet with chords. At least, you need 4 bars per row, otherwise you'll end up with a lot of pages...
I really hope that the Notion-team is adding a "more than 2 bars per row" feature soon. It would make it the perfect notation tool for notes and chord sheets!
So if you want to make a "normal" lead sheet with chords and some annotations, like rhythmical notation or stops, you'll have to use two apps to get the job done.
I use iReal b to make my chord charts. It's clear layout and chord features are perfect to create a great sheet. The down side: you cannot make for example rhythmical notations.
Therefore I use the share/export function within iReal b, that makes it possible to export your sheet to another app. When the sheet is finished, I export a PDF to forScore.
Your created chart opens up in forScore and now it's added to your library. Organize it by setting the title, composer, etc.
Now you can add all your (rhythmical, dynamical) annotations. You can highlight important spots and chose colored annotations to make everything more visible for when you're on stage.
Writing down melodies & composing:
Apps like Notion or Symphony Pro are really great to write down your ideas, to compose music and to listen to what you've just created with great sounding instruments. Even if we can go a long way with these apps, they still do not replace our desktop notation apps like Finale or Sybelius completely. But at least they are compatible and you can start your idea on the road and finish it at your desktop computer at home.
Practicing & exercises:
iReal b is also a great tool for practicing songs and chord progressions. It features a band-in-a-box like player that's capable of playing your song in different keys, tempi and styles. You even can mix the balance between the instruments (bass, keys, drums, fx).
I hope that this gives a little inspiration for all your mobile musicians out there. My experience is a really good one so far. I think that tablets really have a great future as music readers, tools and sound devices.
To give an example: My laptop was connected to the FOH mixer and I used my iPad as a remote control to start the recording of our shows every night. Pretty cool!
As always, please share your ideas, comments, suggestions and opinion!
It's almost over. 2012. WOW! What a year! It's been fantastic!
It started in february with the amazing project Ich habe den Dreigroschenblues with Claron McFadden, Sven Ratzke, Fay Lovsky, Tatiana Koleva and Charly Zastrau. We toured through the Netherlands and Germany and finished with an amazing CD recording which is available since october 2012and is called: GROSCHENBLUES.
On May, 5th we had the remarkable show with the one and only NINA HAGEN. What a night! ;-)
During the summer for one part, I raced and rocked through the land with Johnny & the Gangsters of Love and for the other part, we toured with Ellen ten Damme & Sven Ratzke's show ON THE ROCKS at the summer festival De Parade in all the big cities in NL.
In October, Ratzke's Late Night Show started again at the Stadsschouwburg in Utrecht. It's on every 1st saturday of the month and continues until May 2013. Every time, we will have some amazing special guests like Fay Lovsky, Phoebe Legere, Mathilde Santing, Maria Markesini, Ellen ten Damme, Eric Vloeimans, Maarten van Roozendaal, Frank Boeijen, Gare du Nord, and many more.
We also played at the Circo Circolo festival with spectacular acts, artists and acrobats.
In November, I opened the beautiful exhibition of MARLEAUX basses at the Custom Music Store in Duisburg, Germany with a solo-bass performance... I really enjoyed it and I'm sure, that more things like this will come up!
In December, we were on tour with Sven Ratzke's NachtSpiele X-Mas Special and played a lot of concerts in the Netherlands! A lot of fun and laughter!
After this terrific year, I want to thank everybody, who was involved.
To all musicians that participated and contributed their creativity and talent in order to make great music: thank you! I really enjoyed playing with you!
To all my family: thank you for your trust, support and love! I love you!
To all my friends: thank you for all moments of joy and fun that we had together! I hope that there will be a lot more of these moments in the future!
To all my associates: thank you for your support and gear! Without you, my sound would not be as AMAZING as it is. Thanks a lot to Rheingold Music, Aguilar, RMI, iGig, Fodera and Marleaux!
Very special thanks go to Jürgen Weidner and Jacques Ruppert for their good advice, support, trust and their friendship! Thank you both sooooo much! You really inspire me!
I'm really looking forward to work, play and be creative with all of you! Let's have an awesome 2013!!!
This is my special Christmas offer for December:
You can now download my album Moving South for FREE!
From dec 7th - 11th, my entire album is available right here.
This is a limited offer and only lasts 5 days, so be sure you don't miss it!
1. Go to my Bandcamp site
2. Click on the BUY button
3. Name your price! You can fill in anything you want. So what's my music worth to you?
4. Just enter your email address and download the entire album.
I hope you'll enjoy the music!
Hier ist mein speziales Weihnachtsangebot für Dezember:
Du kannst nun mein gesamtes Album Moving South GRATIS herunterladen!
Vom 7. bis 11. Dezember ist meine CD hier erhältlich.
Das Angebot ist allerdings nur 5 Tage gültig, also nicht verpassen!
1. Gehe auf meine Bandcamp Website.
2. Klick auf den BUY Knopf
3. Nenn deinen Preis! Du kannst alles eingeben, was du willst. Also was ist dir meine Musik Wert?
4. Gib deine Email Adresse an und lade dir meine CD runter.
Ich hoffe, dir gefällt meine CD!
Dit is mijn speciale kerst aanbieding voor december:
Nu kan je mijn gehele album Moving South GRATIS downloaden.
Van 7 t/m 11 december is mijn CD hier verkrijgbaar.
De aanbieding is maar 5 dagen geldig, dus mis het niet!
1. Ga naar mijn Bandcamp site
2. Click op BUY
3. Noem je prijs! Je mag invullen wat je maar wilt. Dus hoeveel waarde heeft mijn muziek voor je?
4. Vul je email adres in en download mijn CD.
In my recent blog post "Listening is the key", I was talking about how your instrument can actually get in the way of your creativity and block the music from coming out.
Here is a little lesson about how you can learn to play everything that's in your head on your instrument. It is a simple tool and a great exercise to learn your own musical vocabulary. It is like playing along with your favourite players... only that you play along with your own musical ideas! It's also a great tool to find your own voice and your own playing style!
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