If you’re tired or carrying books upon books of sheet music, consider an iPad Pro review. That way, you can learn if the tablet is a great choice for you and your needs.
I’ve used an iPad for some things since 2019. But it wasn’t until 2019 that I started using it to read music all of the time, and I can say that the iPad Pro is the best model to go with for that purpose.
Read on to learn more.
What Is the iPad Pro?
The iPad Pro is actually a line of two different iPad models. You can choose from an 11-inch and a 12.9-inch model, and there are some used Pros that come in a few other sizes.
No matter which size you get, it will be larger and more powerful than the regular iPad and the iPad Air. Also, the specific model can determine how much storage you can get as well as other features.
- Powerful tablet
- Great for performing, composing, and recording
- Nice speakers
- A little big
- Quite expensive
How the iPad Pro Is Good for Musicians
The iPad Pro offers a few excellent advantages to musicians. Consider the following reasons to invest in this tablet.
Both sizes have a good amount of screen real estate, but that’s even more clear with the 12.9-inch Pro. If, like me, you read sheet music off your iPad, you’ll love the larger screen.
You can get away with reading music from a regular iPad (9.7 inches), but I upgraded a little over a year ago and wouldn’t go back to a smaller screen. It’s super easy to see the notes, and I can also easily compose or do whatever else I need to do.
Lots of Good Apps
Regardless of the size you choose, there are tons of excellent music apps for the iPad. You can choose from a variety of sheet music readers, for one.
There are also a few notation apps and recording/audio editing apps. Then, there are apps you can use to stream music or to simply use a tablet to relax and not work on music.
Compatible With Other Apple Products
At this point, I’m fully immersed in the Apple ecosystem, from my iPhone to my MacBook. But because of that, I can integrate all of my devices together.
If I need to send a file from one device to another, I can AirDrop it. And every device connects to my iCloud account.
Sure, if you have a Samsung phone and a Windows computer, the iPad may not be as useful. But if you have other Apple products, the iPad Pro is a great choice.
Can Work as a Laptop
A decade ago, iPads were pretty limited. But in the last few years, they’ve gotten more powerful, especially the Pro line, so you could live without a laptop.
You can purchase the Magic Keyboard or another iPad-compatible keyboard. That way, you can do just about anything on your iPad that you would do on a regular laptop.
How the iPad Isn’t Good for Musicians
As much as I love my iPad Pro, I’m the first to admit it’s not perfect. Consider a couple of drawbacks before you buy one for yourself.
One of the most obvious issues is that the iPad Pro (especially the larger size) isn’t very portable. You may need to carry it in a larger backpack or maybe a large tote.
When I was in grad school, I could fit my regular iPad in my somewhat small purse. That’s not the case with the larger tablet.
Of course, if you don’t travel that much, it might not be an issue for you. But it’s still worth considering if you want to take a tablet everywhere.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the iPad Pro isn’t cheap. The base price is already quite expensive, but that doesn’t account for things like extra storage space or accessories.
You could end up spending a good chunk of change, especially if this is your first iPad. Only you can decide if the cost is worth it for your situation.
Other Tablets to Consider
If you find the iPad Pro is a bit much but you still want to use a tablet, you have options. The first alternatives I would recommend are other iPad models.
You can use a regular iPad or iPad Air to read music. The screen may be a bit small, but you can make it work by cropping white space, for example.
And of course, there are non-Apple tablets. I don’t know much about Windows or Samsung tablet models, so I can’t say which ones are the best, but you can compare models to find one you like.
iPad Accessories for Musicians
You can get away with just buying an iPad to use for music. However, if you want to make the most of your tablet, you may want the following accessories.
In my opinion, the most important accessory to get is an Apple Pencil or some other stylus. You need to be able to write on your music.
Yes, you can technically use your finger, but I’ve found that’s not super accurate. A good stylus allows you to mark right where you need to.
I have and love the Apple Pencil. However, if it’s a bit expensive, there are some third-party styluses that can get the job done.
Another accessory you’ll need, particularly if you’ll take your iPad with you places is a case. You can get a thin magnetic case, which I have and love.
There are also larger portfolio-type cases that may be a bit more protective. However, those cases can be more expensive and be harder to get off the iPad if you need take it off.
I used an iPad for sheet music for a good three years before I needed a Bluetooth pedal for page turns. But when I needed one, I really needed one.
You can use half page turns and similar features. At some point, though, you may encounter a piece where you need to use a foot pedal to turn the page for you.
There are tons of page turn pedals on the market. I currently have and love the PageFlip Firefly, but you can test a few pedals to see which you like.
If you have everything else, you may want to get an iPad stand. This is a great option if you need to bring your own music stand to gigs but don’t want to carry a large one.
Most of these stands fold up nice and small, but they can hold your iPad securely. I have a cheap one, but I’m looking to upgrade since mine broke a while back.
What Size iPad Do I Need to Read Sheet Music?
You can read sheet music off of an iPad of any size. I first used my iPad mini, though that was mostly for sight-reading purposes.
For more regular use, I’d recommend at least getting a 9.7-inch model. But the larger screens will make it even easier to read your music.
If you’re looking to go digital, you should consider an iPad Pro review like this one. The tablet is super powerful, and it’s a great tool for any musician.
You can do a lot with it, and I’d recommend getting the larger one for reading music. To learn more about going digital, download forScore and More.