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Being a classical musician, it is so often that we write off technology as being unnecessary, hiding technical imperfections, or a distraction from practice which is how we really improve and develop. While there is an argument for some of these, there are applications where it can help as a practice tool. Here I'll be discussing the use of the PlayScore 2 which is a sheet music reader app.

***This is not a sponsored post. All ideas expressed are those of the author.

Can you use it to learn to read music?

As a beginner or someone who is new to reading music, there is a bit of uncertainty when reading scores. Mistakes are bound to happen, and this leads to the first benefit of using a tool like this.

It does what it's supposed to do with scanning music and playing it back. This is a good tool to check that the notes you're playing are in fact correct (as long as your ear picks up the mistake).

What PlayScore does best?

When practicing music that is a duet or features muti-instrumentation, I think PlayScore is a great tool to have.

Upload the music and you can practice playing along with your partner's part. Need slow practice? You can change the BPFM speed to whatever you need.

I think this is PlayScore's best application. It's a lot closer to the real thing than just playing to a metronome or forcing yourself to play a tempo before you are ready.

How accurate is the reading?

Not all scores are equal and that is clear with uploading and taking photos of different music that's laying around. Uploading clear scores that aren't cluttered, fading, or handwritten is important for improving the accuracy of the note reading. Also, uploading seemed better than taking a picture (so keep IMSLP ready).

It never seemed to read the wrong pitch. However, if it wasn't a great quality score, a note or two may be omitted. I was surprised at the accuracy of the app to read music. Even high register passages with multiple ledger lines, PlayScore got it right.

Now for my biggest surprise......it even read dynamic markings within the score, crescendos and diminuendos included!

Also, if you're looking for changing the midi instrument playing within the app, you're able to select between piano, harpsichord, pipe organ, guitar, accordion, violin, viola, cello, string ensemble, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, flute, tenor sax, trumpet, trombone, tuba, and french horn. You can export MusicXML to any score editor like MuseScore - with full dynamics, articulation, even fingering.

How we rate the app

For the developing pianist as well as the performer, this app can be a great practice resource.

The PlayScore can handle anything from double-checking you are playing the right notes to playing along with the orchestral part for a piano concerto. There's wide use for this music reading technology in the practice room.

One area that I think can be particularly useful in a pianists development, is the ability to play/mute a single staff of piano music so I can play along when practicing hands separately.

Learn more about PlayScore 2 and give the app a try by visiting PlayScore.co!

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Dave McLellan

Concert & Chamber Musician

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