I recently bought a used iPad 1 thinking I wanted to see if it would become a useful tool before spending the small fortune on an iPad 2.
There were a few things I imagined being able to use the iPad for, including as a digital sheet music viewer when I'm playing piano/organ/sax. The main troubles I have with paper music is with being able to turn pages quick enough and being able to find and organize my music.
After reading numerous reviews and articles and doing research I came upon a great iPad app called forScore. It imports pdf files and has a built-in web browser so you can head to any URL that has PDF sheet music and download directly into the app. It also integrates with the Dropbox app so any PDF files you open in the Dropbox app can be imported directly into forScore.
Since all my music is paper, the next step I had to figure out was how to get paper music into forScore. I initially started by using Camera+ on my iPhone to take photos of the music, crop the photos in Camera+, then import them into another iPhone app called Scanner Pro. Scanner Pro can import multiple photos, assemble them into a PDF file, then filter the image to black and white. This saves space and cleans up the image. This method worked pretty well, but sometimes the notes were grainy or faded in certain spots. The main advantage was that this was a completely mobile solution.
I wasn't completely happy with the Camera+/Scanner Pro results, so I searched for another method. The next method was to use a photo copier that has scan-to-PDF functionality. This produced extremely crisp and clean scans and smaller file sizes than Scanner Pro. This allowed me to do really clean scans without having to perform post-scan cleanup on the images. This is the method I settled on for scanning a majority of my music, saving the Camera+/Scanner Pro method for when I needed it in a pinch.
The easiest method I found though was finding the music already saved as a PDF. I'm an organist/pianist at my church and found that they have a PDF version of the hymnal, so I was able to load a 900+ page, 7MB, PDF file, onto my iPad and have access to every hymn we sing. Plus many sheet music publishers now offer digital PDF downloads of music, so I could go online, find the music I'm interested in, and download it directly into my iPad. Pretty cool stuff!
forScore also has a number of other great features I hadn't planned on. As I'm choosing music for Sunday I can save the pieces into forScore then create a set list, which allows me to easily organize and have each piece in order and ready to go. forScore also allows annotation of the music with pens, highlighters, and typed text in various colors and sizes. I can also tag the PDF files in forScore to make it easy to search and organize the music library. And finally I'm not fumbling to turn pages, I just tap on the right side of the screen and the next page instantly appears.
I'm really pleased with the elegance and efficiency of this use of the iPad and look forward to one day (in the far future
) when my entire music library is instantly available anywhere I go with my iPad.