Gear For The Reading Musician

The way that you read music has changed over the years. There are still plenty of gigs where you will be reading physical, paper charts but since the introduction of apps such as ForScore, many musicians are using their iPads on gigs. Here is all the gear you need for both the old and new situations. Check out my blog post ‘How to Quickly Make Lifesaving Charts for Gigs’ for instructions on how I use Guitar Pro, Google Docs and Dropbox to create my own charts for use in ForScore.


Apple iPad

Doesn’t need to be an iPad although that is what I use. You can actually buy refurbished older ones really cheaply to use as a dedicated machine for your charts. It’s a game changer really. I recently did a gig outdoors by the sea on the Greek coast. I would have been in serious trouble if I used paper charts! The iPad worked brilliantly. Much neater and better looking on stage too in my opinion.




This is software to add your digital charts to. It seems to be the software most musicians I know are using and I use it myself. It was a complete revelation the first time I used it. I was on old school music stand and paper charts guy (on gigs where I used charts) but this looks better, is easier, gets rid of paper that can fly away if you are outdoors. You can scan documents in and organise them into setlists. Brilliant app.



Arobas Music Guitar Pro 7

I have version 6 and I use this or Finale for Notation. Pretty quick and seamless to use. Check out my blog post ‘How to Make Lifesaving Charts for Gigs’ at for instructions on how I use this, Google Docs and Dropbox to create my own charts for use in ForScore.




Or any other file sharing software (Google Drive is free and you get 2GB free with a free Dropbox account). You can store your charts here and send to other musicians and just have them backed up.



Hercules Tablet Holder DG305B

This is what I use to hold my iPad but anything similar with decent reviews will do.



Kinsman KSS01 Music Stand

I keep a wire foldable music stand around in case there are paper charts or I can even put my iPad on it if I need to.



Heavy Duty Music Stand

I like these sturdier types of stands for when you are putting something hefty on the stand like a Real Book or a pad for a show or something.



Tiny Scanner – PDF scanner

This free app is genius. If I have a paper chart that I or anyone else has scribbled out or a song out of a book I have I can take a photo on my phone and, using this app, it will convert it into a scanned document (you know: without the shadows and very sharp and clear). I then open it in Dropbox and add it to forScore.



Clothes Pegs

This may save your bacon one day if you do have paper charts outside on a windy day! I learnt this one the hard way… Worth keeping a couple just in case. You can also use an elastic strap – something like this.



Mighty Bright Orchestral Light

Or something similar. These clip onto your stand (the sturdier ones rather than the wire folding ones) and are the kind of thing that you really wish you have at the point you are on stage and realise you don’t have one!

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