iPad Mini: my new best friend

In addition to La Sonnambula at The Met and dinner at French restaurant Le Relais de Venise, my birthday also included a very special gift: my first iPad mini.


Dante observes the iPad mini carefully. NYC, 2014.

I’ve avoided the iPad bandwagon for years and even considered purchasing a Microsoft Surface Pro for a while. Yet here I am. A convert. Deliriously happy and in love with my mini.

It’s no secret that an iPad are great for playing Candy Crush and watching videos/movies, but in a very short amount of time I’ve learned that it can be a singer’s best friend:

  • Music. Music and Apple products have been inseparable since the iPod, so throw your favorite recordings and playlists on there and listen away! There are also radio-like apps and websites that stream music. I recently discovered Opera Music Broadcast, which streams music 24/7. Their name says opera, but they also include art song, oratorio, choral pieces, motets, and more — a very respectable range spanning many time periods and styles.
  • PDFs. Load PDFs of your favorite scores and score study anywhere. I even know musicians who have foregone sheets of music all together and pianists who play directly from tablets. A tip: check out IMSLP for free access to the world’s public domain music. Download and enjoy to your heart’s content. 
  • Combine the two above points and you can listen to a recording and follow along in the score without having to juggle multiple items. This is one of my favorite things to do, and the iPad mini makes it all that much easier. The screen is smaller than most scores, but this has not been a problem for me. The regular iPad is slightly larger, though, for those who would like more screen-space. 
  • Piano apps. Learning new rep and need to pick out your notes or hear the harmony underneath you? Want to do some warm-ups? There are plenty of piano apps to pick from.
  • Research. The convenient size, wi-fi/data plan capabilities, and variety of apps in the App Store make the iPad mini a fabulous research tool. I can read just about anything and everything, from history books to biographies to reviews, to industry news. I am currently reading The Letters of Mozart and His Family, translated by Emily Anderson, which I downloaded for free from a public library. Research also includes watching video clips and movies. For this, YouTube is an absolute treasure trove. I love the interviews, the concert clips, the amateur and the professional productions, and especially the full-length operas in HD.

If anyone has other tips or tricks for getting the most out of the iPad’s capabilities, or apps that I should try out, please leave a comment and let me know!

Before I moved to NYC, I naively imagined how productive I could be while riding the subway – learning music, writing in IPA/translations, reading, blogging. Then I experienced the subway system first-hand and had my naiveté remedied by the watch-out-or-get-trampled reality of taking public transportation. Lugging around a score was not only cumbersome (those hardcover Bärenreiters are like 12 lbs!), but 85% of the time I couldn’t even use it once I got in the subway car. Holding the score open, following along, and flipping pages is impossible when there isn’t an open seat, you’re crammed in between three stranger, or holding on for dear life as you stop-and-started your way down the track.

But now I have a versatile, lightweight piece of technology that doesn’t smack other riders in the face, that I can easily hold with one hand and flip pages with a flick of a finger. I spend approximately two hours traveling each day, and now those two hours are infinitely more productive and enjoyable.

For a girl who’s short on time, this slightly expensive splurge investment is already paying off!


Multi-tasking with the iPad mini – listening and following along in the score. NYC, 2014.


2 responses to “iPad Mini: my new best friend

  1. I like your cover screen. 🙂

Leave a note

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s