Category Archives: General

My iPad Journey – PDF Viewers

After getting my new-to-me iPad set up, I began searching for a solution to view my percussion scores. Since my scores are all saved as PDF’s, it just made sense that I should look for a good PDF viewer. I had a few basic requirements that a viewer would have to meet.

First, a useful PDF viewer for my intended purpose would have to include the option to scroll pages horizontally, like a book. Bonus if the scroll animation mimics an actual page turning. Secondly, the viewer would have to offer the ability to make notes right on the PDF score and save edits. This is commonly called annotating or markup. And finally, it must be able to access cloud storage. That’s it. Nothing fancy. Basic features right?

A search of the most popular/best PDF viewers for iPad yielded a starting point for apps to check out. Among those were Acrobat’s Adobe Reader and PDF Expert. Along the way, I also discovered PDF Viewer and decided to test Apple’s native Files app, as well.

The table below shows the main features I looked for and tested within each app. A few notes about the listed features: Intuitive 1 and 2 page view refers to the app displaying a single page in portrait mode and 2 consecutive pages in landscape mode automatically based on screen orientation; shapes refers to the apps ability to insert shapes, like a circle around a given count of a measure; arrows added to point out something specific in a measure, typically with a note attached to it; text – could a text note be added to the PDF; highlighter – freestyle like an actual highlighter to highlight specific musical notation and the ability to highlight printed text within the PDF.

PDF ViewerPDF ExpertAdobe ReaderFiles
Horizontal scrollingyesyesyesno
Intuitive 1 page view (portrait)yesno, must selectno, must selectno
Intuitive 2 page view (landscape)yesno, must selectno, must selectno
Page turn animationyesnonono
Score annotationyesyespaid upgradeyes
Apple pencil/fingeryesyesnoyes
Shapesyesyesnoyes
Arrowsyesyesnoyes
Textyesyesnoyes
Highlighter freestyleyesyesnoyes
Highlighter textyesyesnono
Cloud storageyesyesyesyes

As you can see, PDF Viewer checked all the boxes for me. And a bonus feature with this app is the ability to save a signature for signing documents, which most PDF apps charge for, but PDF Viewer includes with its free version. So if you’re looking for a reliable, feature-rich PDF reader that has a great free version, great for viewing and making notes on your sheet music and scores, you can’t go wrong with PDF Viewer.


My first iPad

For the past year plus (maybe two), I’ve explored options to go paperless with the primary focus being while teaching Drum Camp. I wanted something small enough to be portable and lightweight, but with a screen large enough I could easily read my scores. And not expensive. For me this ruled out iPads so I never considered that an option. Also, I’m a longtime user of all things Google and am deeply entrenched in the Google ecosystem.

Devices I’ve considered include Amazon’s line of tablets, Samsung, and even a purchased Lenovo 2 in 1 laptop. But each had shortcomings that were deal breakers for me. Screen size too small, resolution too low resulting in blurry screens, overpriced, too fragile. The list goes on.

My wife used an iPad (purchased through our mobile carrier) for various work-related tasks. She liked it but never raved about it. I’m the tech enthusiast of the family, but because I’m a Google fan, I barely gave her iPad a look. Then about a month ago she decided the iPad was no longer needed for its purchased purpose, so she passed it along to me hoping it would end my search. And boy did it.

In the short amount of time I’ve been using it, I’ve quickly realized it does exactly what I need it to do and so much more. First, it’s the iPad 7th generation. An older model yes, but that’s ok. The screen clarity is incredible, the size and weight are perfect, and because my wife destroys technology with the ferocity of a charging bull, the case we put it in protects it quite well.

I’ve decided that other music educators and more specifically, percussion instructors, might benefit from my journey. The apps, the method, the implementation, the setup. So you’re invited to join me as I explore all the possibilities. I’ll be writing and posting here so check back often to read more about my iPad journey!


Lonestar Apparel Sale

Need drummer swag for yourself or a gift for that special drummer in your life? Lonestar Percussion has you covered. Now through midnight Thursday, December 3rd, take an extra 30% off in-stock shirts, hats and hoodies with code CYBERSWAG20. Check out the details here or get to shopping here!


Beetle Percussion Sale

Beetle Percussion is offering free shipping, a free floppy pad and a free 4″ laminate when you spend $50 now through December 15th.

Beetle Percussion uses beetle-killed wood and recycled car tire rubber in the making of most of their products. With each purchase, a tree seedling is planted in the beetle affected forests of Colorado. They offer ecologically-minded, environmentally-helpful green products handmade from 100% American materials. Check out their store here!


Stick sell at Steve Weiss Music…

Hello all! Steve Weiss Music has a great sale going right now on drumsticks. Buy 3 pairs of Vic Firth Corpmasters snare drum sticks and get a 4th pair free! Included in this sale are Ralph Hardimon, Roger Carter and Thom Hannum Signature Series sticks and many more. You can mix or match and the fourth pair must be of equal or lesser value and is added during the checkout process. But hurry as this sale ends August 13, 2018 while supplies last!

Buy 3 get 1 free sale!


This week’s deals

Hey all! It’s been awhile I know but I’m hoping to start posting again on a somewhat regular schedule. So here are a couple deals going on currently you might be interested in…


Steve Weiss Music is offering free shipping on orders over $49 through May 21st. They have some of the best prices and a huge selection so if you haven’t visited before (the horror!) or it’s been some time since you did, now is a good opportunity to check them out.


Lone Star Percussion has a limited time deal you’re going to love. Buy any Evans practice pad and get a pair of Pro Mark drumsticks for free! Pads start as low as $21.95 and any pair of Pro Mark snare drum or drum set sticks is eligible for this great deal! Go get them. Now. No seriously, what are you waiting for? I’ll wait…


Great Buddy Rich Site

Several years ago I discovered an absolute treasure on the internet: Mike James Jazz. He has assembled a collection of 23 live concert recordings of the masterful Buddy Rich laying it down like only he could do. The recording quality of each concert is rated as low, medium or high and notes about most of the concerts are also included. If you’re a fan of the great Buddy Rich, or just want to hear an awesome artist at the top of his game, check out these concert recordings. He also has photos and videos of Buddy as well. Enjoy!


Welcome!

Welcome to Drummin’ Around. It is my hope that what you find here will be of benefit whether you’re a student (beginner or advanced) or educator. My focus will be on rudimental literacy and the application of rudiments in practice and performance. Thus far, I’ve included some classic rudimental solos, a wide variety of links to some not-so-known sites that are full of great information, and the beginning of a Care and Maintenance section that beginners and teachers of beginners will find of interest. And if there is something you would like to see included here, please let me know.


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