Add copyright free sheet music to MusicFolio in less than 30 seconds

What’s one of the best things about using a digital music folder like MusicFolio?

Free. Stuff.

The internet is full of free resources and in today’s post, we’re going to talk about one particular website and the easiest way to get it’s free sheet music onto your iPad.

Many of you are already familiar with the Petrucci Music Library, or as it is more commonly known, IMSLP.  If not, go to http://imslp.org and check it out.  This website is incredibly useful for classical musicians.  It has hundreds of thousands of pieces of music and although copyright laws vary by country, it only hosts public domain music so as long as you know the laws where you’re located, you have no risk of getting in trouble for copyright infringement.

Here’s a perfect example of its usefulness.  This past weekend I played timpani on Beethoven’s 6th Symphony.  Before the Friday dress rehearsal, rather than taking 5 or 10 minutes to dig out my old scores, I simply pulled out my iPad, opened Safari, and searched Google for “imslp Beethoven 6 timpani”.  I clicked the first result and opened a free PDF of exactly what I was looking for.  The search format I used –“imslp title instrument“– works for me nearly every time.

Then, I clicked on “More…” at the top of the PDF and chose “Import with MusicFolio”.  (Substitute whatever sheet music app you’re using, but I’d love it if you tried MusicFolio too!) My new (and free!) sheet music automatically opened in the app, prompted me put in the title, artist, and instrument, and was instantly added to my music library.

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Not only did the whole process take less than 30 seconds from start to finish, but I now have the timpani part for Beethoven’s 6th on my iPad forever.  So, next time I perform it all I’ll have to do is open it on my iPad, complete with all the markings I’ve added to it.

Simple, efficient, and saves a ton of valuable time.  I highly recommend.

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MusicFolio v1.1 Available Now

We’re excited to announce the latest update to MusicFolio, v1.1.  This version gets the app ready for iOS 10 and fixes various bugs that have been found since launch.

Also, we’re pleased to let you know that this update enables auto-rotate when you’re viewing your sheet music.  So, turn your iPads sideways and see your music in landscape orientation.  This is a quick and easy way to enlarge your music to make it easier to read in any situation, on any version of the iPad.  Dust off those iPad Minis!

Download now: https://appsto.re/us/YsG5_.i

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3 Ways to Make Practice Time Fun Again

keyboardPracticing.  It doesn’t matter if you’re just beginning an instrument, an experienced hobbyist, or a professional musician.  If we want to improve, we have to practice.

Ugh.

Practice time has never been able to shake its bad reputation: tedious, boring and unfun.  Thankfully there are some things we can do to make practicing that etude more enjoyable than it’s ever been.

Mix it up with some new music

Lucky for us, when we get bored with what we’re practicing we can always turn to the internet to help mix things up a bit.  Check out this post for tips on how to find free music for some tips on finding something else to practice.  The best part is, you won’t be paying a dime for your new music.

Start with something FUN

I like to start my practice time with 5 minutes or so of something completely unrelated to the piece(s) I need to be working on.  I usually pick something that I consider easy and that I’ve played many times before, but sometimes I’ll pick a new piece of music I’ve recently come across and haven’t gotten around to because, life.  These few minutes are a simple reminder why I love percussion and help get me excited about the other music that I need to be practicing.

Go Digital

I love technology.  So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I get really excited about practice time when I find a gadget, tool or app that I can add to my routine.  Whether it’s a tuner I can use from my smartwatch or a sheet music reader, I’ll instantly get excited about practicing when I get my hands on one and I’ll be much more willing to spend extra time in the practice booth to use it!

What do you do to get fired up about practice time?  Please share in the comments below.

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Blank Staff Paper

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For those moments when you’re away from Finale and you need to quickly make note of an idea you have for your latest composition.  You never want to be without some blank staff paper.

That’s where MusicFolio steps in to make sure you’ll always have an endless supply.

  1. From your Library, tap plus (plus)in the upper right corner
  2. Tap the staff paper button (staffPaperButton)
  3. Give your blank paper a title, artist (that’s you!), and instrument
  4. After you tap the check (cameraConfirm2) your piece of blank paper will open automatically.  You can tap the plus (plusStaffPaper) button at the bottom right to add pages and start using the annotation menus.

Any pieces of staff paper you create will appear in your my music library along with the rest of your music.

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Loading Music

importMusic

You’ve downloaded MusicFolio.  The sense of anticipation builds as you tap the app icon on your home screen…but quickly fizzles as the app opens and you realize none of your music is on your iPad yet. 😦

Don’t worry.  Getting music onto your iPad is easy.  MusicFolio helps you do this two different ways: using your iPad’s camera or loading a PDF file.

Load a PDF

  1. You’ll need to get that PDF onto your iPad if you haven’t done so already.  There are many ways to do this, but the most straightforward methods are to use Safari to browse to a piece of music online or email it to yourself and open the file in your mail app.  If you need help finding some music, check out this post.
  2. Next, tap on the screen and you should be greeted with a couple of options, one of which is openIn near the top of your screen
  3. When you tap openIn you’ll be shown a list of programs you can use to view your PDF.  Select ‘Copy to MusicFolio’.openIn
  4. MusicFolio will automatically open, load your music and prompt you to title your music.  Tap the checkmark (cameraConfirm2) at the top right of your screen when you’re done!

Use your iPad’s camera

  1. From the my music (myMusicToggle) screen in MusicFolio, tap the plus (plus2) button at the upper right corner
  2. Tap the camera (camera2) button
  3. Tap the shutter (cameraButtonBlack) button to snap a picture of each page of your piece of music
  4. After you’ve captured all pages, tap the checkmark at the bottom right corner
  5. Type in your title, composer or artist, and instrumentcameraImportDetails
  6. Tap cameraConfirm2 at the upper right of your screen and you’re done!

 

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3 Ways to add to your sheet music library without paying a dime

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You just installed a brand new digital sheet music viewer – like MusicFolio – and you aren’t sure where to start.  Or maybe you’ve been using one for a while but want to step up your sheet music game.  Either way, here are a few tips to take your collection from mailbox library to Library of Congress without dropping any coin.

If you need help getting your music onto your iPad, check out this post.

Online

There are countless options here.  The hardest part is weeding through the useless sites to find useful music.  If you do a web search for ‘free sheet music’ the majority of pages you’ll see aren’t going to get you anywhere.  But, once you find what you’re looking for chances are the digital sheet music viewer you use can import music directly from the site.  If you’re a classical musician, try IMSLP.org, the Open Music Library, or musopen.org.  If you’re not, you may have a harder time because of copyright restrictions.  Guitar players looking for tabs can try https://www.guitar.ch or the ever popular Ultimate Guitar.  For UG, you can make use of the print function on your web browser to convert these tabs to PDF.  If you know exactly what you’re looking for try a more specific web search using the format “[Title of music] sheet music free”.  It’s amazing what you’ll be able to track down.

A Friend’s Music

Just like my sisters raided their friends’ closets, you can raid your friends’ music collections.  The only difference is that with a digital sheet music viewer you don’t have to give it back when you’re done.  Many apps come with a feature that lets you use the camera to load music.  Or, if your friend also has a sheet music viewer take advantage of the share feature it probably has and email yourself a copy directly from her app.  No more borrowing and forgetting to return your friends’ music!

Music from concerts

For the professional, semi-professional, and serious amateur musician this is my favorite.  If you freelance, it isn’t uncommon to head to a gig and not have your music until it’s handed to you when you show up.  With a digital sheet music viewer, not only will you likely have some of that night’s music in your app, but you can also take advantage of the moment and import the music that’s new to you using the camera on your tablet and keep it with you forever.  Win win!

What are some of your favorite ways to add to your music library? Let everyone know in the comments below.

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