Did you just get an iPad to use for sheet music or writing and recording music? You need some iPad accessories. That way, you can get more done without having to struggle!
I use everything from an Apple Pencil to a MIDI instrument. That way, I can make music more easily with my iPad. I don’t have to use my laptop just to create music, so I can save on space and weight.
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Case or Cover
One of the most important iPad accessories for musicians is a case or cover. If you just leave your iPad somewhere without any protection you could damage it. You or someone else might drop it, for example.
Having a case or cover is especially important if you plan to use your iPad for sheet music and take it everywhere. But even if you’ll just use it at home, you don’t want anything bad to happen to it.
I use just an Apple iPad cover, but you can get something thicker and sturdier. Think about how you plan to use your iPad so that you can get the right case or cover for you.
Another crucial iPad accessory is the Apple Pencil or some sort of stylus. I like the Apple Pencil because it works well with the iPad. If you need to annotate a file in forScore, you can touch the screen with the Pencil, and it will start writing.
When you use a stylus from another brand, you need to manually enter annotation mode. That’s not a huge issue, but it does make annotating something quickly during a rehearsal more complicated.
Still, the Apple Pencil is expensive. If you can’t or don’t want to spend the money on it, you can get another stylus. You can use the stylus for all of the same things, but you don’t have to spend as much money.
If you want to use your iPad to read sheet music, you may want to get a Bluetooth foot pedal. I have a PageFlip Firefly pedal, but you can choose from tons of models. The pedal allows you to turn pages with forScore by tapping your foot.
This is a great option if you have a lot of complex page turns. While you can split pages in half in forScore, that may not always solve the problem. Instead, you can set up your foot pedal and connect it to your iPad. Then, you can turn pages while keeping your hands on your instrument.
Now, I don’t use my foot pedal a lot. I’ve heard from other musicians that the connection can lag. So you might hit the foot pedal twice to get the page to turn, but it will then turn two pages, so you can get off.
Of course, you need a way to power the iPad in order to use it. Your iPad should come with a charger, but you may need to buy one separately. If you buy a used iPad, it may not come with a plug, or your cord might break.
Make sure you know where your charger is and consider setting a charging routine. If you use your iPad a lot, you may need to charge it every day. At the very least, plan to charge it before a rehearsal so that you have power.
You don’t want to go into a rehearsal or performance with only 20% battery. I try to have at least 80% just to be safe. Then, if rehearsal runs late or if I need to use the iPad for other things, I have the power I need.
I don’t currently own a pair of AirPods Pro, but they could be good. Of course, you can use them as regular earbuds. Then, you can listen to recordings on the go, and you don’t have to disturb anyone.
But you can access the most amazing feature if you use forScore. You’ll need the AirPods Pro (the regular AirPods and other brands don’t work). Connect the AirPods Pro to your iPad, and connect them to forScore.
When you need to turn pages, you can turn your head to the right or left while you wear the earbuds. Then, forScore will sense that motion and turn the page. I’ve never tried this, and it might have the same problems as a pedal. But it could be a good option if you plan to use the buds for more things.
If you plan to do some composing or arranging on your iPad, consider getting a MIDI keyboard. I have the older version of the IK Multimedia iRig Keys, so I do use an adapter if I use it with my current iPad.
You can connect the keyboard with a cable, and you can use it to input notes in your notation program or recording software of choice. Then, you don’t have to use the on-screen keyboard.
A MIDI keyboard also allows you to play, so you can record in real-time. It’s a great choice for piano players and other musicians. The keys are a little small, but they’re easier to play than on the screen of your iPad.
Other Electric Instruments
If you aren’t a piano player, you can probably find another type of electric instrument that you can connect to your iPad. I have a Roland AE-01 Aerophone, which is a digital woodwind that I can use to produce all kinds of sounds.
You can use it as a woodwind or a brass instrument (with just the left hand buttons). If you’re a string player, you might want to get an electric violin. Then, you can connect to your iPad directly for writing or recording music.
There are tons of different electric instruments you can use. That way, you can get the sound you want, and you don’t have to learn tons of instruments. If you want to get into composing quickly, getting an electric version of an instrument you play is a great option.
Which iPad Accessories Will You Use?
The right iPad accessories can make your experience using the tablet much more enjoyable. You don’t have to worry about annotating sheet music with your finger or trying to play with the on-screen piano keyboard.
Do you use any iPad accessories? Share your favorites in the comments, and subscribe for updates on a comprehensive guide to iPad accessories, forScore, and more!