Did you major in portable folding sheet music stands?
Or are you just a musician like most of us?
Let’s see how to get a good look at this science.
Which music stand suits me and which one should I buy?
An introduction to the science of portable foldable sheet music stands!
Orchestra music stands
When you are part of an orchestra, you will be rehearsing in a hall that is provided with music stands already. They are all alike and usually black metal that is closed to the audiences’ view. In that case you will need to adjust your pages in pairs, so that they won’t stick out the stand.
If you need to make some extra copies, because you need let’s say page 3 together with page 2 but also in part with page 4, you will need to have two pages 3, in order to always have two of them in front of you.
Even worse when you play outside in an open-air concert.
You can’t have more than two pages blowing in the wind and will need magnets or an elastic to tie them to the stand. Needless to say that clothespins are not a very professional option.
Portable music stands in general
Whenever you need to rehearse where there are no stands you need to exactly know what you are getting into.
If you play outside, you will need a heavy one, at least 1.5kg, to not fall down when music sheets are offering wind resistance. This will be heavy to carry around, so you could opt for an intermediate stand, not too heavy and not too light.
It will have spaces to look through so you will need a black back for your sheets.
It is very unprofessional to let the audience see your copied pages (in case, you play like most of us from downloaded pdf sheets that where printed out).
Choose a stand you can attach this paperback to, so it needs to have angles on the upper right and left side.
Do not ever buy the ones that cannot extend to the right and the left and are without the top part.
They are useless and just for school concerts. You will not bring them along to any professional gig. So it is worth buying a pro one already.
If the orchestra is a very lucky and professional one, they will have the stands that auto-regulate their heights without you loosening or tightening any screws, they will just adjust to any height you put them in and stay there.
The perfect height for a music stand, orchestra, soloist or chamber musician is below your face
The audience should be able to see your head completely. You are not supposed to read note for note anymore when you perform in a concert and the sheet music is just for support.
This improves the spreading of your sound throughout the space the concert artists and audience are coming together in, it improves massively the engagement of the audience and the artist’s communicability and expression.
Playing in the orchestra it allows for more contact with the other musicians and the director. Be sure to find the right compromise between reading the music and performing it together with someone else for someone else. The height of your music stand says everything about your attitude to those fundamental parts of the performing arts.
Portable folding music stands
Usually the stands described above are folding. Make sure they can be folded to pieces that are not too lengthy for your bags. You might want to fit it into you general bag when going to a rehearsal and not carry it apart.
Of these folding music stands with enough support for your music sheets you will be able to choose between three different materials and weights.
- Aluminum or carbon stands are very light, very portable and perfect for inside rehearsal as well as inside concerts with no air movement.
Ultra Lightweight Music Stand Black
- Usual ones for playing at home and rapidly leaving for playing anywhere else are intermediate
I have a bunch of them for students and carry them around easily.
For more information you can click on the following link.
- Heavy duty power stands are over 1.5 kg to play outside and as a soloist.
This is the one I use and you can see in the concert photo further down the article and at the top of this website.
It is 1.55 kg, so at the limit, but it is the best compromise you can make between support, stability and portability. It is made from steel and won’t be blown away by wind or people passing. I haven’t needed another one since. This is the perfect compromise for all situations.
For more information click on the following link.
You can easily add more accessories as it is very stable. In the concert foto above you can also see that I added a flute holder below the sheet music. That was because I was playing more than one flute at that concert. I had to hold the piccolo and the bassflute at arm length distance.
I have had the K & M music stand for some years now and it is the best I ever used. Easy to fold, stable tripod and metal arms to the sides. Elegant black and handy screws that don’t damage our precious finger tips.
As you can see in the photos, I took my own advice and also added a black paper back. That looks more professional. The steel arms allowed to elongate it to four pages.
With the wind in an open air concert I didn’t want to struggle too much with turning pages.
Sheet music stands and accessories
Earlier I described the different stands that can be useful in different situations. You will also need to accessorize them.
1. If you are playing different instruments, like flute and piccolo, you can attach an instrument holder.
If you need something to carry a pen, pencils, highlighters, cigarette papers, tuner, metronome, cellphone, magnets, water, towels, screwdrivers, scissors, scotch tape or/and anything else and you are not provided with an orchestral stand, be sure to equip yourself accordingly.
2. It is also recommended for professionals to think about their own stand lights, if they need one.
You won’t be provided with them in every situation, even if you should be able to expect that. In a professional orchestra they usually have them, as they prefer them all to be the same.
But for chamber music concerts, smaller groups in all the different situations we musicians play in nowadays, at dawn on a hill, at dusk by the sea, in dark churches or archeological sites.
Just prepare yourself to read in the dark!
I personally use this one as it has two light points that illuminate very well up to four spread out pages and it cost me less than 20 bucks.
It is far superiour to all the others I have tried.
For more details click on the following link Proline PLD4 Dual Head Music Stand Light with 4 LEDs.
3. Do not forget to grab some magnets, even when playing inside.Music Stand Super Power Magnet
Certainly not very professional having your pages flying around.
For sure I recommend at least four magnets, if you elongate the metal arms. Especially when playing outside. Furthermore, set on the arms they give great stability and fix your pages to your stand.
They are the strongest on the market and the most professional ones for open air concerts.
I usually use four power magnets, as I don’t like my pages blowing in the wind.
4. Be sure to know exactly who is playing with you and where they are seated. You might need customized pro ear plugs for musicians.
At least if you intent to be in this business for some years.
Great, and now?
Choosing a music stand for the first time is not easy at all. You need to consider so many aspects. But do not worry, you will need more than one. So start with the one that fits your needs at the moment, knowing that you will need to buy another one soon. This should also be fun, because it immerses you deeper into the pro musicians world.
Be sure to have a medium weight one for practice at home and the first gigs wherever. Be equipped with magnets, pencils and black paper back and it will already be professional.
Every thing else you can add along the way.
So do not worry too much. Be sure to choose a black one, so it will be useful for concerts as well.
Try at home to be quick with folding and unfolding it as that will give the right impression to your colleagues!
A music stand is a music support, nothing more, nothing less.
Be sure to study the music, so you will be communicating something to your audience.
The best outcome would be that your audience would not be able to tell in the end, which music stand you used!
Have you decided on a flute for beginners yet? Wish to add a new instrument?
Feel free to follow my advice on ——-> how to decide on a flute for starters.
Feel free to ask questions or comment on this article.
I would love to hear your opinion!