We harpists do not travel lightly. After packing harp, bench, music stand, and other miscellaneous equipment for an average trip from the house, is there anyone out there who really wants to add binders of sheet music to that list? I challenge you to find me one harpist anywhere who would answer with an enthusiastic “Yes!” So if you had the chance to lighten your load—while simultaneously keeping your entire library of music at your fingertips everywhere you go—why wouldn’t you?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I already know what you might be thinking about using a digital device. What if the battery runs out? What if I lose it? What if it crashes? It will take me forever to scan everything. It’s too confusing. I’m too old. I’m too tech-challenged. I’m too set in my ways. The truth is, crashes rarely happen, you’re just as likely to lose printed music, and you’re never too old/tech-challenged/insert your excuse to learn something new.
Three years ago I moved overseas. Shipping my entire music library would have been logistically difficult, not to mention expensive. I had a little music on my first-generation iPad that I used while traveling or if I ran out of my “real” music at a gig, but I hadn’t really made the switch. Moving made the decision for me, and I haven’t looked back. A year later I upgraded to the iPad Pro, and the larger screen, combined with the Apple Pencil, was a game changer. Now, I find it hard to play from traditional print music at all.
Lightening the music load is just one reason harpists are making the switch to digital. I asked some of them to share their reasons, along with some helpful hints for others wanting to do the same.