MusicPad Pro Review – Digital Sheet Music Viewer

How often as keyboard/digital piano players do we have to reach over to turn the page of music only to find it is at the most complicated part of the song? The answer to this is usually a frustrated yes, however technology may have come to the rescue in the form of the MusicPad Pro.

Although sheet music has been around for centuries, computer systems are taking over many of the old paper forms we have used for years. Business men will have their personal electronic organisers rather than their filofax and now musicians who had to carry boxes of sheet music to a performance now only need to carry one piece of equipment.

So let me introduce to you, Free Hand Systems – MusicPad Pro:

The Frustrated Page Turner

So imagine yourself playing chords with one hand and the melody with the other and somehow with super special contortionist ability, you are meant to also turn the page. The panic of mistiming the page turn or even worse missing the turn completely and working from memory can lead to all sorts of hassle and indeed embarrassment! Now until as musicians we evolve to have an extra arm for just this purpose, we will have to rely on technology to save the day.

By either pressing the LCD touch screen with your finger or using a foot pedal, you can instruct the software to go to the next page. This is made even easier when you have music that also returns back to page one when a repeat is required, as you can program the software to follow a particular route of page turns making life very easy.

For The Public Performer

Carrying oodles of sheet music around with you isn’t exactly ideal or very practical when you are asking for requests. Paper can easily tear, get dirty and even get lost, but with MusicPad Pro, you have one handy gadget that you stick under your arm and take with you wherever you may perform.

Brilliant I hear you say and rightly so. You can either download music from their own website (www.freehandmusic.com) or scan in your own collection. Although initially you may have hundreds of music to scan in to the device, the effort though is then rewarded with a massive library of digital versions of the original.

For those who really perform, but have low light levels to deal with, again the MusicPad Pro aids you with its large backlit LCD screen to provide all the illumination you need to play in front of an audience and still have no problems in viewing the essential composition.

Yes the MusicPad Pro has a multitude of benefits over traditional sheet music and will probably encourage you to get more organised. After talking to a few customers who are members of Yamaha Personal Keyboard Owner, I soon realised that although this piece of kit may seem quite expensive just to replace a paper format, the advantages that users have enjoyed seems to balance out the cost nicely.

One member pointed out how he could set up playlists with his music, which was particularly helpful when gigging. This meant he could arrange all of his into categories for wedding, celebration, dance etc and with just one command could call up all the music that would best suit that event.

Features for All

Easier on the eye: For those with failing eyesight, it can spoil the enjoyment of playing if you are struggling to read the instructions on the paper. However on a very bright large LCD with many options to suit your viewing requirements, you can tweak until you are completely satisfied with the view. There are also of course features like zooming in.

A real page turner: With either a press of the finger on the touch screen or a tap of an optional foot pedal, you can easily go forward a page.

See into the future: Here you can split the page in half to choose the best moment to turn the page fully. This stops those annoying difficult sections appearing at the most inconvenient of times.

Lets have some order: Advancing a page at a time is handy, but you can also tell MusicPad Pro to jump back to page 1 automatically where there maybe a start of a repeat section. Also create your own playlists to better organise your collection for special events.

Doodle on your new doodad: Use the coloured annotation to highlight problematic areas for practising a new piece. This means you could indicate where you change registrations for any you may have created for a tune.

From here to there: Set up zones on the music that with a simple activation will transport you to other areas in an instant.

He shoots he scores: Using various software such as Finale or Sibelius, you can import your musical score into the MusicPad Pro.

Important feature: Import Word, text or PDF documents into the MusicPad Pro.

Digital revolution: Download digital sheet music from their own website for use within the MusicPad Pro.

Capture more than just your imagination: Scan in your massive library of sheet music to get rid of those countless storage boxes by the side of your instrument.

There’s More…

As well as all the advantages already mentioned, the MusicPad Pro features an audio out for playing back digital scores and mp3 files, a digital metronome and USB connection to your PC or MAC for transferring sheet music from one to the other.

Extras

Ideally you will want to consider adding a stand for the unit as for keyboard players, there isn’t anywhere ideal to rest your new MusicPad Pro. Other accessories like foot pedal, foot pedal extension cable, carrying cases and premium tools are also available.

Conclusion

Technology has always promised us that it was there to make our lives that bit easier and for once they are right. The MusicPad Pro has completely transformed the way you regard sheet music while still offering all the joy without the fuss.

If you are really serious about your music, the MusicPad Pro is a worthy addition to your collection.