StaffPad: initial reactions
On purchasing my Mircosoft Surface I decided to try out the StaffPad music notation app which was developed especially for the Surface. This is absolutely not a full review of the app, but just a couple of initial thoughts based on personal experience.
As soon as I downloaded the app I wrote a simple folk melody (I was in Ireland at the time...) and really enjoyed the process of being able to write on the screen like it was paper. Despite the process not being entirely natural since I have my own way of drawing quavers and crotchet rests which wasn't recognised by StaffPad, the overall feeling I had was positive.
One element which was overwhelmingly awkward was my inability to accurately or quickly write chords on the piano. So, as you can see, my composition quickly descended into a single line folk melody as my patience ran out!
I soon wanted to experiment a little more with the app and for this I decided to arrange A Night in Tunisia for the jazz band which I was leading:
Honestly, this took around double the time it would have taken me on Sibelius (which I know like the back of my hand!). Coupled with the fact that StaffPad currently does not have the functionality to extract separate parts and edit them, it really ceased to be useful. I exported the StaffPad file into Sibelius and exported the parts, etc. from there. This was a little disappointing and frustrating.
The classroom (either with a full class or in individual instrumental lessons) is the one other situation I would like to experiment further with StaffPad in. I can imagine it would be useful for writing out individualised exercises which are often imagined in the moment as a student is working through a piece of music and comes to a difficult passage. I can also imagine that the 'magic' of StaffPad transforming the notes from my handwriting to actual notation would keep a full class focussed on the task in hand!
Unfortunately, currently I am unable to experiment much with StaffPad on my school computer due to the heavy firewall restrictions that must be in place. Hopefully this issue may be resolved in the future and I can continue experimenting. Until then, I'll keep using the unassailable Sibelius software!