Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra moves from paper to iPads

With the help of Jamf and partner Spirit/21, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (SKO) is the first professional orchestra in Germany to move from paper sheet music to iPads.

August 4 2023 by

Ivna O'Neill

Two members of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra use iPads managed by Jamf to replace their sheet music.

Bridging the gap between tradition and technology

For a 75-year-old orchestra in Germany, a digital transformation journey had to be threefold: customized, sustainable and seamless.

Jamf partner Spirit/21’s task was to bridge the gap between tradition and technology, enabling musicians to perform their best. They worked with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra to replace their music sheets with digital versions on mobile tablets. To give musicians the best experience possible, iPads were the tool of choice.

This was no classic implementation project.

For the team, the priority was to listen to the client and understand the requirements of a bespoke solution to suit users and admins. As the first to take the leap into iPad sheet music, it was important for the orchestra to demonstrate that the iPads were capable of simplifying work so that the experienced chamber players did not miss paper sheets.

The iPad project for SKO focused on three main areas:

  • Managing devices for access to tools, apps and resources remotely as the orchestra regularly travels to perform
  • Protecting devices through a robust set of baselines to defend against threats and data loss
  • Working with the orchestra to implement the requirements for their unique needs.

With Jamf Pro as a baseline, the project took a closer look at the user experience and the customer’s pain points.

Embracing the digital age

Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra has never been shy about innovating and seeking new ways to transform their performance and the audience’s experience. The group has dabbled in holograms, AI and augmented reality— maintaining a constant hunger for cutting-edge technology.

The idea of digital music sheets started a few years ago, and so did the hunt for a solution that could fulfill the orchestra’s functional and sustainable requirements. SKO became the first climate-neutral orchestra in Germany in 2022, a recognition that coincided with the transition to iPads.

A mobile solution for a mobile orchestra

As one of the world’s oldest chamber orchestras, tours and performances all over the world are a regular occurrence. Ensuring that relevant material is always available made a lot of sense. Instead of carrying several paper sheets, and running the risk of leaving any behind, having an individual device for each musician helped build a consolidated, mobile music library.

Fostering collaboration with iPads

While improving mobility was a compelling argument for digitalization, for artistic director Markus Korselt the most crucial use case for switching to iPads was the ability to foster collaboration among the group.

Making notes to music sheets is a regular occurrence. Once, a comment from the conductor would result in a lot of pencils coming out and members writing individual notes. The devices changed this: a note can now be easily and quietly shared for the benefit of all members. For minimal disruption, pedals are used to change pages and keep hands free during rehearsals and performances.

Educating the end user is key

These practical aspects were essential to bring the musicians on board and ensure that they welcomed the devices. SKO provided a series of workshops to help the transition and to demonstrate the advantages of using iPads.

While at first orchestra members feared missing the romantic side of paper sheets, they soon became convinced by the practicality and scalability of the solution. Emanuel Wieck, a violist with the orchestra. “This is a quantum leap. Very clear. It's a real practice-oriented innovation,” said Wieck. “I think it's great with the iPad. It totally convinces me and it's really a relief.”

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