Paper sheet music is a hassle – plain and simple, and I’ve experienced it first hand for a very long time. After 10 years of thinking about it, and finally after 10 months of doing something about it, NextPage has finally become reality and is available in the App Store. You can find the details over on the product page or over in the iTunes store, but I wanted to give a little backstory here.
Every app needs to be about an idea…it needs to solve a single problem well, and the big idea behind NextPage is to take the hassles out paper music during live performance. How? By managing all of the details of presenting the music so you don’t have to.
As a keyboard player, paper music either in book or sheet form has been my nemesis virtually forever. Missed page turns, pages turning themselves backwards, music falling on the floor – you name it, I’ve had it happen (well, I’ve never had it catch on fire). Even when things go well, managing the music for a set of 5 songs during a performance, which could easily be 30+ individual pages, can be tedious and nerve-racking, not to mention a major distraction from being able to focus on putting yourself into the music.
I’ve had napkin drawings of software to solve this problem for a long time, but putting a laptop up on the piano always seemed like a bad idea, not to mention a dangerous one. I just could never bring myself to trust a live performance to a Windows PC, and Macs weren’t an option for me until just recently. Moreover, the form factor of a laptop just didn’t seem to fit, at least not for me.
With the announcement of the iPad, I knew my platform had finally arrived, and so I took the plunge and created NextPage. The roadmap for NextPage is pretty straightforward:
Version 1 – Available now
Manage the music files and present a set of songs using manual page turning. In addition, provide a way to quickly jump to any page with a single tap and tools to mark up the music with annotations.
Version 2 – In development
Provide hands-free turning using wireless foot pedals.
Version 3 – In the concept stage
Provide automatic turning by following the music. If you think about it for a few moments, you’ll realize this is not a trivial problem to solve.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how to accomplish this. I have no agenda other than this: help people who have to deal with the joys of paper sheet music. Maybe we can build it together!