How to Clean Up Old Music

I don’t know about your music situation, but I have “inherited” a lot of music that has been used for a very long time. Some of the parts aren’t originals and are copies in rather awful condition. Other pieces are covered in people’s writing in pencil, pen, and even highlighter. No musician is going to be happy receiving music that looks like this:

At least, I certainly wouldn’t.

How can you go about cleaning this up? It doesn’t matter how long you spend with an eraser, that’s simply not going to get it all, and you’re more likely to tear the paper than be successful.

The low tech method can involve some scissors and tape. You can combine the acceptable parts of multiple copies to make something that looks acceptable. If I’m going to use this method, I’ll make a copy of the final product and distribute that to my musicians, instead of them getting the taped-together version. Less likely for it to fall apart mid-performance!

The high tech version will give a much more professional looking final product. I will make the best quality scan that I can manage of the original music. From there, I’ll import it into GoodNotes (or some other app that allows handwriting on top of a PDF) as a PDF.

I’ll grab my Apple Pencil, switch it to writing in white, and start manually whiting out anything that I don’t want to be seen in the new copy of the music. Sometimes I’ll clean up some parts with the black pen where the notes are faded or I’ll add measure numbers. If there is a certain cut that our orchestra uses every single time the piece is performed, I might mark that in, too. If it’s something particularly complicated, I might add in a little bit of color.

Between these two methods and the combination of them, I’ve been able to save several pieces of music and prevented us from having to buy new copies. Do you have other methods of saving music that nearly impossible to read? Let me know!

Managing Your Library with Airtable

Managing a large library of physical copies of music seems an impossible task at times. When working for a professional orchestra, it seems that the music is never ending, plus so much music is flowing in and out due to performances, loans, and directors wanting to review it. I could never keep track of where music was.

All of the music is stored in boxes that are labeled with numbers. Multiple pieces will fit in each box, and I have about 120 boxes right now. Previously, there was an Excel document that listed each piece, the composer, and what box it was stored in. There was a print out in a binder with one copy sorted by piece and one copy sorted by composer. It was a nightmare to find anything quickly, when some of the pieces go by multiple different names, have multiple composers, arrangers, etc. Plus, when music wasn’t in its box, I had no idea where it was.

I have a previous post that explains how I was starting to implement QR codes and an Apple Note to track when music was being checked out. However, this wasn’t anywhere near enough power for what I was trying to do. Since I was already using Airtable to manage the youth orchestra, it seemed logical to attempt to use this for the library, as well.

I started with a simple table in Airtable that listed the piece, composer, arranger, box, and notes on each piece. However, I kept expanding my records to make things easier to track, sort, and find. Here are some of the things I do with this Airtable:

– Airtable will create a printout (using the Page Designer block) that places all of the information I have about it on a page that I keep with the music. This saves time when other orchestras are borrowing our music. The piece arrives with a list of all parts that should be included, notes on the common cuts we use, and the terms of renting our music.

– I have a “In Use” table that groups the locations of different music. If 10 pieces are in the musician’s folders, I’ll put each piece in with the location “Folders.” This table will show those 10 pieces grouped together, and a linked record will appear next to the piece in the original table. Then, if I’m looking for a piece, I can quickly see if it’s currently somewhere other than its box.

To make this faster to use, I continued with my implementation of QR codes. The print out sheet that stays with each piece of music has its QR code in the top right hand corner. If I scan this on my phone with a Shortcut, I can type in where I’m sending that music, and it will check the piece out of the library.

– I have a category with the options of “Yes” and “No” to quickly tell me if a piece is appropriate for the youth orchestra or not. This makes picking music so much faster.

– When I loan out music, I like to have a sheet that lists all the parts that are included with each piece of music. Then, other orchestras can quickly check to make sure they are returning everything to me and aren’t missing something. Previously, this was a handwritten sheet. However, now I have a table to put this in, keep track of when I last updated this, and will place it on the printout. No more redoing the entire sheet with minor changes! Plus it looks much more professional.

– There is a field to put in associated themes, so I can quickly pull a list of all the Christmas or patriotic music in the library.

– I keep track of which pieces we perform on each concert. I have a separate table for this, where I’ll put the date of the concert, what the theme is, and link the pieces that we played. Then, when I pull a piece, I can quickly see that we just performed it, and maybe we should reconsider.

– There is one last table for keeping track of rental music. This has fields for where we rented from, information about the piece, and when we plan to perform it. Using this, I can keep track of what music I’m expecting to arrive, what I need to return, and what is still sitting in the office. Plus, I can pull records for where we rented music from if we want to use it again. I have different views for “Records,” “Ready to Return,” and “In Office.”

Implementing all of this additional tracking takes time. I have not yet typed in what parts are included with each piece of music, and not all of the pieces have QR codes yet. The way I’m doing it, is each time I pull a piece of music, I fill out anything missing on it in Airtable. This is already saving me time, and I expect for it to save significantly more once I have the whole base up to date.

I Hate Taking Attendance…

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hate taking attendance for classes. I forget people’s names, the students never stay still, etc. And then when you think you’re being smart and you ask a student to do it for you… well let’s just say it’s not even remotely close to accurate.

So this past summer, I decided that I was going to come up with a solution. And after one semester of implementation, I think I can declare it a success!

From the outside, my system looks simple. A student volunteer stands by the entrance and scans a QR code with her phone on each student’s folder as they enter. That’s it! Obviously, there’s a bit more going on behind the scenes. Here’s how it works:

I created QR codes with a random string of numbers so I could easily add a new one if needed. Then, I taped one to each students’ folder before I passed them out at the beginning of the semester. Since I keep track of the students in Airtable, I added the barcode to their profile in there.

The student at the door has a Shortcut installed on their phone (luckily both of my volunteers have iPhones!). Here’s what it looks like:

Pretty simple, huh? It’s just taking the current date and time and the number inside the QR code, then sending them off to Zapier.

Zapier then takes this information, and pulls the student’s record based on that barcode. From there, it creates a new record in my “Attendance” table in Airtable, and links that student, along with the time that they arrived. This fills out a nice list of the times that students arrive. I have a separate category that I’ll fill in if someone has an excused absence, is going to be late, etc. I have drop downs for “Excused Absence, Unexcused Absence,” etc.

I also have a separate table in Airtable that has the list of all of my students. Whenever they gain an entry in the Attendance table (indicating they are here OR I manually put in that I expect them to be absent), their name disappears from the list. This gives me a nice easy way to see who isn’t here that should be. This also gives me a way to double check my student volunteer in case she missed someone or someone forgot to bring their folder.

Each week, I take the Attendance table and copy and the paste the records into a table specific for that date. That means I don’t need to redo the Zapier rule each week.

I also have an Airtable that pulls my records of when students are late or absent, and puts everything together in a manner that’s easy to view. You can even create a block for “Page Designer” that gives you a nice print out with the student’s information and a list of their absences. I’ll probably use this when we are doing auditions for the ensemble next year!

The only thing that I’ve decided I’m going to change for next year is that I need to laminate the QR codes before I put them on the students folder (or completely cover them with tape). I underestimated the number of students that let their music folders become soaking wet.

Update to Creating Contracts

This post is an update to “Creating Contracts”.

Since I lasted posted about my methods of creating contracts, I’ve made some changes. However, the vast majority of my process remains the same. Since I’m still using it after several months, I believe that this automation is here to stay!

One of the things that I’ve changed involves how my reminders end up in OmniFocus. If you remember, my Shortcut adds reminders to send the contract, add the musician to the roster, the date their contract is due back, and a reminder for me to send them a copy of their completed contract once it is all done. Now, obviously I can’t send them a copy of their completed contract until they return it. OmniFocus does not have a built in way to have one task dependent on other unless you are using sequential projects. However, a genius named Kaitlyn Salzke came up with a method to fix this. Visit her website here to see how to set this up (and learn more about some of the other awesome things that she has come up with!).

Using Kaitlyn’s method, I’m now able to make sending the completed contract out dependent on receiving the contract, so its hidden in my to do list until I check off that it’s been received. The date that the contract is due is still there though, so I remember to start pestering the musician if the contract isn’t in my email inbox by that date.

Another thing that I have changed is that I have combined the two separate Zaps that I was using before. I’ve found it’s faster if Zapier has instructions to download the file immediately after it’s been created, instead of waiting for a separate Zap to be triggered. This isn’t a big change, but it still saves time.

Previously, I had Hazel converting the Word documents into PDFs. However, this started to become inconsistent and didn’t always work the way I wanted. I discovered that Zapier will allow you to download a Google Document as a PDF. So, now Zapier downloads both a Microsoft Word copy and PDF copy of each template.

Once the contract is in my Dropbox, Zapier now sends me a Pushcut notification. This Pushcut notification is linked to a new Shortcut that I created. When I press this notification, it prepares an email for me to send out the contract to the proper musician.

Here’s how it works:

Zapier can connect directly to your Pushcut account. I have it create dynamic text to tell me who’s contract is ready, using information that it’s pulling from my initial webhook that Shortcuts gave it. It takes information from Airtable that I want to use in the email, and puts these into the “Input Parameter” field, with each variable as a different line.

Then, we use a Shortcut. It pulls the input parameters that we gave Zapier and splits them up as different variables by line.

Then, Shortcuts will “Get” the file and give me a preview of it as a Quick Look. From there, I have a text block with the text I want to use for the email, using the variables for first name and the concert date. Then I use “Send Email” with the text, the file, and the variable from Zapier with the musician’s email.

Then the email pops up with everything completed. I have a chance to proof it over and then hit send.

I’m currently working on elaborating this to give me a method to say if the contract looks ok or not, and open up the Word document for me to edit if needed. I’ve gotten it where the Word document will open, but it keeps coming up as a “Read Only” file. Let me know if you come up with a method of doing this!

What is Zapier?

Zapier is an online program that makes many of my automations possible. Zapier essentially links various programs together in ways that aren’t possible alone. Google drive documents can be connected to OmniFocus, Airtable, Dropbox, and many, many more programs. It can send out emails and text messages, in addition to connecting to Slack and Twitter.

I often use Zapier to utilize webhooks to connect it to Shortcuts. This allows Zapier to link with even more programs than what is included in the original programming.

Dropbox, Google Drive, Airtable, Pushcut, and Emails are some of my favorite programs to connect using Zapier. This program allows me to pull information from Google Drive, Shortcuts, and Airtable and send it off to a template in Google Drive or use it to send emails or notifications with Pushcut.

This program is crucial to many of my automations. I use it for my automatic contracts creation and other programs to create templates. Zapier checks out and checks back in music from my library, and manages a large part of audition management.

Zapier works as a subscription service, though it does start with a free level that will suffice for many people. This free level is a great way to get used to the program and see if it is useful for you.

Creating Contracts

See here for an update!

Part of my job involves creating contracts… lots of them. Every season musician receives contracts for the season, summer, and any extra events. Then there are substitute musicians who receive a contract for each performance that they do. Now, these contracts are not hard to create. I have a template that needs to have the musician, their instrument, their contact information, and the information for the concert(s) added to it. Then the Word document needs converted to a PDF and emailed out. When you include the time to look up the information, it takes a little under 5 minutes each time. This amount of time can really add up when you create these a time or two a day. Then there are the days when I have to create 50. Now that takes a while.

Due to the time suck of these contracts, I’ve obviously created a way to make this much easier. To do this, I use Airtable, Shortcuts, Zapier, Google Docs, and Hazel. While I do use several programs, I don’t interact with all of them when I’m running my program. Zapier and Shortcuts do that for me.

I store all my musician records in Airtable. So, when I need to create a contract, this is where I would look to find their instrument, address, email, etc. Luckily, Airtable works nicely with other programs and can send its information into Zapier without any input from me. This is a crucial part of my workflow for many automations now. If I kept this information in Microsoft Excel, it wouldn’t be possible. I previously kept the information in contacts on my phone. This was possible and the automation worked fine. However, switching to Airtable gave me many more options both for automation and general organization.

How this workflow essentially works is that I select a Shortcut on my iPhone. It asks me the name of the musician, which I type in. It is very important that I spell the name of the musician correctly. I suppose I could create a list to select from for this, but I deal with over 250 people. That would probably take a while to add in… Once I type in the musician’s name, a menu pops up that asks me to choose which concert I need to make a contract for. Inside the program, there are text fields that fill in variables for the “season”, “concert date”, and “concert information”. When I created this program, I went through and typed this information into Shortcuts.

In addition to the variables that vary based on the concert selected, I also have Shortcuts pull the current date and create a “due date” based on today’s date plus one month. Since I use OmniFocus to keep my crazy life under control, Shortcuts sends it several things to add to my to do list, including the proper tags, projects, and a note reminding me of what the due date I gave to the musician was. These to do list items include to send out the contract, add the musician to the roster, receive the contract back, and send them a copy of the completed contract.

This is where the magic begins. I place a “url” block in Shortcuts, including the Zapier webhook link (we’ll find this in a bit, there’s a bit of back and forth with Zapier when setting this part up). A “get contents of url” block follows this, using the “Post” and “request body” options. I put the name of the variable in the first column, and link the Shortcuts variable in the second column. This section is ultimately taking all the information that Shortcuts has and is sending it off to Zapier for the heaving lifting.

Whenever I run this Shortcut, all the information immediately goes to Zapier. This wonderful program then takes the “musician” variable and searches my Airtable record (with all the musician information!) and finds the record that matches. This is why it is important to spell the name of the musician correctly, otherwise it won’t be able to match it to a record and will result in an error. Yes I’ve discovered this the hard way.

At this point, Zapier has all the concert information from Shortcuts and all the musician information from Airtable. Now, it can start creating the contract for me.

I created a template for the contract in Google Docs. In order to create placeholders for the variables to be inserted into, you create things that look like {{this}}. I placed these throughout my contract with things like {{musicianName}} and {{concertInformation}}. It is important that these are only one word and that there are no spaces included. As you work through the Zapier instructions to connect all the informaiton you have to the template, it will ask you to link {{theseVariableThings}} to the information that it has. Once all this information is added to the template, Zapier will save it as a new file in a specific Google Drive folder with the musician’s name and concert date as its name.

Because I have multiple Zaps that include this folder, I use a separate Zap for the next part. This could likely be combined, though.

Zapier will watch that folder and saves anything new that appears straight to my Dropbox. Since I have Dropbox linked to my computer, it will automatically download to my computer (and phone, and iPad). Once it’s on my computer, it’s easy to use Hazel to organize it. Hazel takes any documents that appear in my Zapier folder and immediately turns them into PDFs and OCRs them. Then, it moves the contract to the proper folder for that concert.

This method is rather complicated and took me quite a while to figure out and set up. However, once it was done, a five minute task has become 30 seconds. That makes it all worth it.

See here for an update!

Paperless Performing – No Memorization Required!

Almost five years ago, when I was attending the Ohio Music Educators Association Conference, I became introduced to the idea of using a tablet to replace paper music. This instantly made complete sense to me. I hated having to carry around stacks of music books in addition to my instrument, other college textbooks, etc. I was always terrified that I was going to forget a necessary piece of music, so I constantly carried around significantly more than I needed. However, this quickly got very heavy.

I decided to buy a used iPad off of eBay and an AirTurn pedal from the conference, and downloaded ForScore to my iPad. I quickly ran into problems between doing a horrible job at scanning the music (see my scanning post!) and the pedal not connecting well with the iPad. In addition, trying to make notes on the music was miserable. My adventure with the iPad seemed to die a rapid death.

A couple years later, Apple announced their iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. The Pencil seemed to call my name in a nerdish way that my husband found hysterical. After pouring over reviews for months, I finally decided to purchase the 10.5″ iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, right before I started my Masters degree.

I didn’t immediately go to using my new iPad for music. I used it to take notes on for my classes, primarily. I would use the pencil and hand write in the Notability app. I loved it. The tablet was slim enough that other people barely noticed that I wasn’t using a notebook like the majority of the students.

I continued to get involved in more performances and more ensembles, so I was carrying around more and more music. Eventually, my adventures with digital music came to mind and I figured that it had to be easier now than it used to be. I was carrying around so much music and was getting tired of it.

I decided to scan the music and save copies of everything in Dropbox, to start. That way, I always would have a digital copy that I could print from any computer if something went wrong. (My paranoia of something going wrong also meant that physical copies of all my current music were sitting in my car at all times). Since I had been using Notability for all my classes, I decided to start with using that app for the music. I imported the PDFs in, and my music appeared.

Notability worked well for me. It was easy to import my music and even easier to make notes on it in varying colors with the Apple Pencil. Since Notability has you scroll through the documents vertically, it meant that I could slightly adjust the music as I played so that I could time my page turns when most convenient. However, sometimes I simply couldn’t take my hand off my flute easily every single page, so that started to get difficult.

Strangely, Notability eventually started acting strange for me. Some of my files seemed to disappear off my iPad (yay backups!) and would continue to disappear when I replaced them. The system didn’t want to stay in sync with my iPhone. After a few days of this, I decided it was time to try something new.

I had heard many good things about GoodNotes, an app that is very similar to Notability. I downloaded it and immediately liked it. Your documents are sorted into notebooks and you can create templates or use the included ones to fill your notebooks. I now use GoodNotes for work organization and my classes.

Right around the time that Notability crashed on me, I decided I wanted to try incorporating a pedal into my set up, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with page turns anymore. After tearing apart my house, I was unable to find my old AirTurn pedal. I gave up and ordered a new one from Amazon.

I eagerly waited for it to arrive and immediately tried to set it up to work with GoodNotes. Nothing. I had seen a couple articles online saying that GoodNotes was compatible with AirTurn pedals, but none of the modes seemed to allow it to work. Since I had just spent $75 on this pedal, it was going to work for something.

I redownloaded ForScore from my initial attempt with digital music. Obviously, the app had been improved over the years and many of my initial pain points had disappeared. It was very simple to use with the pedal and the Apple Pencil. Finally, this seemed like the best solution.

Now, I’m using ForScore for the majority of my music. I have different libraries set up for my various ensembles and one for solo works/orchestral excepts/etudes. I use a setlist called “Current” to save what I’m primarily practicing to allow my practice sessions to be a little smoother, and I use additional set lists for each performance. In addition, I discovered that I could rename the metadata that ForScore uses to organize your music. Since “Tags” and “Labels” seemed a bit redundant to me, I renamed “Labels” to “Instruments,” so that I can more easily sort my vocal music from my flute or piano music.

I still save everything to Dropbox as a backup should something go wrong. I’m disappointed that ForScore does not sync across devices. That’s something that I really liked about both Notability and GoodNotes, was that I could see everything from my iPhone (and computer, in the case of Notability). ForScore does allow for backups, and I use those as well. However, I’m not entirely sure how quickly that would help me if I needed it right before a performance.

There’s always the pain of scanning the entire library that you have developed over many years. I’m scanning music as I use it, and occasionally grabbing a piece or two to scan as I watch TV. I’m not plowing through it, simply because that would cause me to become resentful of the whole thing.

The biggest thing that I’ve noticed about performing without paper is the sheer number of musicians that ask me about it. Everyone seems curious and is fascinated about how the whole process works. I’ve very quickly been inundated with people buying tablets and then asking me for help to play their music from it.

The most entertaining teaching situation I’ve come across, is with the director of the professional orchestra that I work for. He travels quite a bit and transporting scores on his iPad made a lot of sense for him. After several teaching sessions, he is now doing really well with his iPad and has directed concerts from it!

It’s definitely taken a while to get to the point where I feel comfortable performing from an iPad. However, the convenience of it makes all the work worth it. Now, I don’t think I could ever go back to paper. Honestly, my back might revolt! Carrying around an iPad in my purse is much lighter than my old backpack, overflowing with music!

Library Organization

As an orchestra librarian, I am constantly sending music out and receiving packages in the mail with more music. We frequently lend music out to other orchestras and I have to somehow keep track of where the music is at so that I don’t go crazy when I can’t find a piece that I am looking for. I want to create a relatively simple library lending system, though I can’t find anything that is both inexpensive and easy to implement. Most of the systems that are advertised online are for standard books, not music. Googling “music library” sends you to advice on organizing your iTunes account. Not exactly what I’m looking for.

So, since I can’t find anything in existence that satisfies my requirements, I’m making a very basic system on my own. I’ve decided to use Siri Shortcuts to do this. Ultimately, I’m creating QR codes with the piece’s most important information and I’m stapling it to the lending information sheet that stays with the music. Then, I can quickly scan the code to either see all the information I need or check it out to another orchestra.

How the shortcut works: I have two different Shortcuts, one to create a QR code and one to check out music. The one to create a QR code asks what the name of the piece is, who the composer is, and where I store the piece. From there, the answers are placed into a text block and a QR code is generated based on that. I resize the image (because the automatic full page is a little bit excessive) to 75 pixels wide. A PDF is then generated and sent to the printer. Then I grab it from the printer and staple it to my information sheet!

To check out music, the Shortcut is even simpler. The shortcut scans the QR code and asks me where the music is being sent. From there, a text document is created with the information from the barcode, the answer to where the music is being sent, and the current date. Then, everything is added to an existing Note in Apple Notes. Easy! It’s an easy way to keep track of where music is and a quick way for me to find where to refine the music once it returns.

Ultimately, this system might be a little excessive and is probably not completely necessary. Putting the information in to create the QR code takes the same amount of time as it would if I simply typed the information into the Apple Note on my own. However, once the QR codes for the most commonly lent out pieces are done, it will save me about 30 seconds a piece, which will add up with the amount of pieces that I send out. While this might seem unnecessarily complicated, it gives me joy that it is being done in this manner. Also, the little bit of time that I save will be worth it in the long run, I believe.

Scanning Music

Scanning and copying music can be a miserable task. The music is typically larger than a standard piece of paper and/or is in a book. Using the expensive scanners that are owned by schools and offices are the most common way for people to scan music, though it still isn’t easy. I don’t even like thinking about the amount of time I’ve wasted trying to scan music on my generic printer/copier/scanner…

One time, I asked my father to make some copies of music for me on his copier at work. I found out his method later: he tried reducing it, but it was still printing on legal size paper. Since nothing was working, he would print it on legal sized paper and then take it to the paper cutter afterwards. My father did this for several pieces of music. Is this really the best way? Is this the fastest method?

Definitely not, though this is the method that many of us have used for years. It takes an incredibly long time and often ends with lots of paper in the trash can (or hopefully recycling can).

For the past several months, I have instead been scanning music with my cell phone. Cell phone cameras are phenomenal anymore, so there isn’t much (if any) of a quality difference. If there is, it isn’t noticeable. There are lots of scanner apps out there and the music can be uploaded straight to your Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, etc. The main reason that I love using my cell phone for scans? The document is automatically resized and prints beautifully on 8.5 by 11 inch paper.

Personally, I actually use the HP Smart printer app. Not a common choice, but I’ve found it very reliable. It can automatically detect the page and take a picture, cropping it to the correct size. I don’t have to click a single button and simply have to turn pages and aim the phone. I can get through an orchestral set relatively quickly and regularly do this while watching Netflix. Once I have the entire document scanned in, I upload it straight to Dropbox. Often from there, I let Hazel OCR and organize the file for me (I promise I’ll explain this in another post!).

Scanbot Pro and Scan+ are also popular apps, and I’ve had varying degrees of success with them. However, the HP Smart app is the one that I keep coming back to. It’s also the one that I introduced our orchestra director to when he decided he was going to scan in scores and direct the orchestra from his iPad. He found it rather simplistic to use and was able to send his scores directly to forScore, a popular music reading app. I know that there’s also a built in method of scanning in iOS, though I haven’t had much use for it yet.

Due to the ease of scanning music from my phone, I’m doing it significantly more often than I would otherwise. Before I pass out music to the youth orchestra I help with, I scan every single part because ultimately, some of it will get lost (and I can print copies if I don’t want to trust them with originals). Recently, I’ve started creating “practice packets” for our inside string players that can be printed on demand and I send all the string players links to a Dropbox folder with all their music about two weeks before concerts. This has made some orchestra members very happy since some of them don’t like to travel to pick up their music but still want to at least look at it before the concert.

Figuring out how to scan music has been a major time-saver for me. I can’t wait until I’m to the point where I can reuse some of the files from previous concerts. I’m sure everything will start overlapping at some point!

Welcome!

Welcome to my brand new blog! My name is Brianna and many people know me as one of the few organized musicians. I work as both a performer and as a music administrator in the classical music world. Specifically, my position on the business side of things is “Personnel Manager and Music Librarian.” Essentially, this means that I am responsible for making sure that musicians are hired for performances, that they know where they are going, when to be there, what to wear, etc., and that they have music. However, these are just the start of my tasks. I spend lots of time assisting the orchestra director with anything that he needs. I also answer any and all questions that the musicians come up with (and those never end). I communicate with Librarians at other orchestras since we often share music and sometimes ideas on which musicians to hire. Organization is absolutely crucial to this job.

Unlike many people in my field, I have decided to take the route of utilizing technology to make everything possible. I do as much as I can to keep my methods paperless: I don’t like having to carrying around more things than I have to and I like to do my small part for the environment. Plus, I find paperless methods significantly more efficient. Though, I definitely get strange looks when I walk into a new performance hall with my iPad and give instructions based on that. However, the amount of time that I have managed to save is worth every single weird look.

A couple things that you should know about my methods. I am an Apple user. I use an iPad, iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch. If you aren’t an Apple user, that doesn’t mean that my ideas won’t be at all useful to you, it just means that not all of the specific programs that I use will transfer. Many of these programs have equivalents for Android and PC users.

I am also a Millennial. I love technology and use it with relative ease. I am not a computer programmer, but I will occasionally throw a little bit of code into some of my more complicated shortcuts. To be honest though, most of the time I am copying and pasting it from someone much more talented than me. Thank goodness for Google!

I am incredibly excited about this adventure that I am about to embark on in the blogging world and all that that entails. I have tried blogging in the past, but always with the wrong intentions. In the past, I wanted to blog in order to gain attention or to make money through advertising. Ultimately, with this blog, it doesn’t matter if people read it or not. I hope people do, but this blog is ultimately for my enjoyment.

So, welcome to the Organized Musician – I hope you enjoy the ride!