PSA: Onstage iPad face-glow is a thing

Posted: May 20, 2013 in choral, iPad, performance, tablet

Credit: apartmenttherapy.com

A little public service announcement…  Last night I was in the audience of a concert performed by the choir that I’m usually singing in.  Being the denizens of Silicon Valley that we are, there is a significant adoption rate of iPads/tablets for reading music in our choir, over 20%.  We generally perform on-book, and from the house, I could see that several singers had iPad face-glow that was bright enough to be seen from the audience.  It was especially noticeable with singers who wear glasses (because of the bright iPad screen reflecting off of their glasses toward the audience) and those who were standing in poorly-lit areas of the stage.  Personally, it did not bother me so much as an audience member because I’m primarily concerned with how a chorus sounds more than how they look, and–let’s face it–as someone who calls Silicon Valley home, I am quite used to seeing the ghostly glow of a electronic display on everyone’s face, all the time 😉  However, if this aspect of your ensemble’s visual presentation concerns you, do make sure that the tablet users in your group 1) turn down the brightness as much as is comfortable for them, 2) not hold the tablet too close to their face (cause you’re not buried in your music during the performance…right?  Right?) and 3) stick to well-lit areas of the stage if possible.

[UPDATE 5/20/13: Hugh S. and Ellen R. wrote in and reminded me of a fourth tip, which is to reverse the colors of your iPad so you have white print on a black background.  Some music reader apps like OnSong and MobileSheets have this as an app setting (as do many eBook reader apps, incidentally) but for apps like forScore that don’t, you can use the global iPad setting at Settings > General > Accessibility > Vision > White on Black (On) to reverse the display for all apps.

Also, as another musician mentioned to me, there are other performance scenarios where we need to be conscious of the light from our electronic devices and its potential for distraction/disruption – for example, using a tablet while playing in the orchestra for a stage production where there is a blackout at the end of the act.]

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Comments
  1. airturn says:

    Some apps, such as OnSong for iOS and MobileSheets for Android, give you the option to reverse the colors on the screen – black page and white text for OnSong and black page/white notation for MobileSheets – specifically to cut down on screen glow in dark settings. Might take a bit of getting used to reading notes that way though…but for text it’s ideal.

    • Tech4Singers says:

      Thank you for the reminder, Hugh – I totally forgot to mention this option. Also, I knew there was a global iPad setting to do this, but didn’t know about those music reading apps having app-specific settings for it. I will update the post with this info.

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