Which iPad model should I buy for my music classes?

Which iPad model should I buy for my music classes?

Which iPad model should I buy for my music classes?

iPads for music teachers and their students

“Which iPad model should I purchase?”

This is a question I’m asked quite frequently, so here are my thoughts.

The most recent model when possible

My advice is to purchase the most recent iPad possible with the largest capacity you can afford. I would recommend 64GB as a minimum. Some apps – particularly the multimedia-type ones – are quite large and because you and your students will be using your iPad to create music and videos, files can also take up a substantial amount of room.

Reconditioned iPads

Yes – you can purchase older reconditioned models and that might be a good way to get started.  As always, it’s best to purchase from a reputable, authorised seller.  You will get better service and after-care and you’ll have someone to call on if you require tech support.  This aspect of purchasing any tech devices or software cannot be underestimated!

Wifi-only?

Consider purchasing the wifi-only model if you will mostly be using your iPad while at school or on your home wifi network. I have always had a wifi-only model and on the rare occasions I’m away from a wifi network, I simply use Personal Hotspot on my iPhone to connect to the internet. You could do the same if you have an iPhone or another type of Smartphone.

What about iPad Minis?

An iPad Mini is absolutely fine. It will run all the same apps as the regular size iPad – it simply has a smaller screen size. If you’re purchasing multiple iPads for your classroom, iPad Minis might be a good option because they are less expensive and you can squeeze a little more out of your budget. I would definitely consider them if working with young students that have small fingers!

iPad Pro?

Lastly, if you are going to frequently use the iPad for reading sheet music, the iPad Pro (which has the largest screen size) would definitely be my recommendation.  I’ve heard reports from friends that they are fantastic for this purpose!

Comments?

If you have iPads already, any comments you would add?

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By | 2017-02-23T15:19:32+00:00 April 12th, 2016|How-To and Tips, Music Tech Tips|8 Comments

About the Author:

I love to simplify technology for music teachers. I help teachers from all around the world through the Midnight Music Community – an online professional development community where teachers can take online courses, ask questions and receive personalised help for the music tech goals.

8 Comments

  1. Brigid Finucane April 13, 2016 at 8:40 am - Reply

    The importance of your opening sentence can not be underestimated: “My advice is to purchase the most recent iPad possible with the largest capacity you can afford.” Friends have requested an iPad from the schools they worked at, and the powers that be responded with 16GB iPads – which were immediately filled to capacity. It’s more expensive in the long run to not have the storage capability you want/need.

    • Katie April 14, 2016 at 8:02 am - Reply

      I totally agree Brigid. So many teachers I know choose a higher quantity of iPads over a smaller number that have a bigger capacity. I would always opt for the latter since I know there will be fewer headaches in the long run!

  2. Martin Emo April 13, 2016 at 8:47 am - Reply

    I’d agree with getting 64Gig minimum and Wi-fi only too. I link my Dropbox account with all apps where possible so that there is a backup and I need over about 50Gigs of space really.

    • Katie April 14, 2016 at 7:55 am - Reply

      I link my Dropbox account with most apps too. Dropbox has been one of my best investments in recent years!

  3. Ann Burgess April 13, 2016 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    I bought the largest size iPad Pro at the end of last year with maximum storage and 4g. Yes, it was expensive but worth it as I can try out new apps and l download things with all that storage rather than relying on the school,’s wifi, which sometimes becomes overloaded. . Being able to see my music was nne of the main reasons for my choice, I also find it saves me money if the data on my phone’s allowance runs out early in the month: I don’t lose all my phone minutes and texts just because I need more data. I bought the Apple pencil and have really enjoyed using it for art as well as music.

    But for the musician nothing can beat that big screen: I can choose to have a double page spread of my music or a large print version off one single page – wonderful! Or I could even open up a piano and get enough keys to make it worth playing, albeit rather clumsily!

    I ought to mention that we as a school were warned against videoing students on our personal devices, though, even for assessment purposes. I have to use a school iPad for that.

    • Katie April 14, 2016 at 8:00 am - Reply

      Great comments Ann. I’d love to get the iPad Pro just to test out music reading. That’s something I haven’t been able to try yet. Same goes for the Apple Pencil!

  4. Marian Flick April 14, 2016 at 1:49 am - Reply

    I have a question. I am a choir conductor and I arrange and compose music. I want to buy ‘something’ to use for reading scores, I want to arrange and compose (using Musescore), I want to connect the device to my keyboard and I would like to digitalise my old records. Can I do all these things on an iPadPro or should I invest in a Mac airbook, or……..do I need both?

    • Katie April 14, 2016 at 7:59 am - Reply

      Hi Marian – really a laptop (Macbook Air or other option) would be best for all of those jobs, although the iPad would do most of them. If you have the budget for both, you would have the best of both worlds since the iPad excels at the reading scores job. Arranging and composing using a notation program is something I find MUCH easier on a laptop – I tend to use the iPad for “sketching” musical ideas only. The heavy-lifting notation work I always do on my laptop. So in your case, I would go for the Macbook Air and an iPad as the extra added bonus device!

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