How to Use the Regular iPad for Sheet Music

Are you tired of carrying around a ton of sheet music? Consider if you should use the regular iPad to lighten your load without leaving important pieces at home.

How to Use the Regular iPad for Sheet Music | Hannah B Flute

I’ve used an iPad for sheet music for a couple of years. While it’s not perfect, it’s a pretty good, flexible option. It’s not nearly as massive as the Pro, but you can still use it to read and create sheet music.

Before I get into the tips, you should know this post contains affiliate links. Click here for my full disclosure policy.

Want to watch instead of read?

Crop Out White Space

One of the benefits of using any iPad for sheet music is that you can crop the files. In forScore, you can tap on the briefcase icon and then select “Crop”. The app will suggest an automatic crop, but you can adjust it if necessary.

After you crop the music, you won’t have to waste precious screen space on the white borders common on printed sheet music. This is particularly important if you use a regular iPad, but iPad Pro users can also give it a try.

I’ve been cropping sheet music since I first heard of that feature, and it makes reading sheet music so much easier. Most of the time, I don’t need to make notes in the margin, so I don’t miss having it.

Try Landscape Mode

Another thing you can do to make the music bigger is to rotate your iPad to landscape orientation. In forScore, you’ll have two options:

  • View two pages side-by-side
  • View half of a single page

You can change the settings for this in the top bar. Whenever you open forScore and use landscape mode, it will save the settings for every piece.

Keep in mind that you’ll have more page turns than normal with this method. I really only use it when practicing alone or when I know I can turn each half page.

But if you want to use it more, you can get a Bluetooth foot pedal. Then, you can keep playing and use your foot to move between pages.

Practice, Practice, Practice

I’ve noticed that, like any musical thing, you have to practice if you want to use a regular iPad to read sheet music. The screen is quite a bit smaller than some pieces of music, but it’s manageable.

If you already have an iPad or don’t want to spend so much on the Pro, give yourself time to make the switch. You can start by using the iPad just for your solo practice, and you can slowly start to use it in lessons and then group rehearsals.

Now that I’ve used my regular iPad for sheet music for a couple of years, it doesn’t feel that small. Plus, I can fit it in more of my purses, which can help cut down my load when going to a rehearsal.

Get an Apple Pencil

Now for a more general iPad tip: use an Apple Pencil or some other stylus. When you use a regular iPad, you should still have a tool to mark in dynamics and other important information.

The Apple Pencil is great, and I love using it. But it is pretty expensive, so you may want to consider an alternative.

Either way, make sure you get some sort of stylus and keep it in your case or with the iPad. That way, you’ll always be able to make notes to yourself in your music.

Consider Composing

Perhaps you want to use the regular iPad to create sheet music. I compose and arrange almost exclusively on my regular iPad. If you want to read music on paper, you don’t have to switch to an iPad.

However, composing on paper and then transferring it to a computer can take a lot of time. Dragging your laptop around to wherever you want to compose might be annoying or even impossible.

The iPad is smaller, and when composing, the screen isn’t as much of an issue. Depending on the app you use, you can manipulate the size of the notes. And you can even get an app that lets you write as if you were using paper.

How Will You Use the Regular iPad for Sheet Music?

As a musician, technology can be annoying. But it can also be extremely useful, especially the iPad. But if you want to use the regular iPad and not the Pro, you’re not alone.

Whether you’re looking for sheet music to play or you want to create sheet music, I can help! Be sure to check out Flute Files to see some of my current sheet music downloads, and let me know if you have any requests!


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