Don’t get a sore neck!
Sitting at a table or desk reading music at an awkward angle is not a recipe for success: in fact it’s a recipe for a crooked neck! Using a music stand is a must for your playing posture, as you will not be putting as much of a strain on your back and neck.
Your practice sessions will feel a lot easier if you have a decent music stand. Also, having a reliable stand for gigs is imperative when reading music or lyrics is required. They come in different shapes and sizes, and some don’t last as well/aren’t as sturdy as others, so here are a few that I recommend. I have personally used all of them.
If you’re in or near Leigh-on-Sea (Essex), please consider supporting my friend’s business and buying from the marvelous Leigh Music Co.
The music stands…
Hercules BS118BB Music Stand with Folding Desk and EZ Grip
Hercules make some great products: I have found their wares to be built to such a standard that I feel confident taking them on the road with me.
This item in particular is excellent due to its compact size and portability.
It has a single button that allows for change of height: great for when you need to get set up quickly.Also, the metal supports in the middle can be rotated to accommodate more pages (they will hang off the edge, but I have used this stand for four sides of taped-together A4 in a pinch).
This stand won’t disappoint for beginner, intermediate or pro.
Hercules BS408B Music Stand with EZ Grip
This is an excellent choice for any musician requiring a very sturdy music stand.
This thing will take huge folders of sheet music for theatre gigs, and other concerts requiring the reading of lots of pages.I used this one recently on a show with a pad containing 100+ pages of piano music with plastic wallets (heavy!).
The EZ grip makes adjusting the height a doddle, and the whole thing folds away quickly and simply.
Another great thing about this is that it’s so easy to write on.
It doesn’t budge when you press your pen or pencil on it and it doesn’t have the holes that some stands have, making writing around them a chore.
It’s a bit more pricey than the others, but I believe it to be well worth the extra.
Kinsman OPS6 Heavy Duty Music Stands
Kinsman are also a good manufacturer of musical accessories. I have owned several of these and found them to be durable and lightweight.
The OPS6 is folds into a more compact size than the equivalent Hercules offering (BS118BB), and is slightly cheaper also (at time of writing).If you would like to save a bit of money and have a great compact, lightweight stand, you won’t go far wrong here.
Kinsman OPS55 Deluxe Music Stand & Bag, Chrome
Made by the same company, Kinsman, is this slightly thinner, smaller stand costing about £10 less. It’s not bad at all for the money, and will easily take a tablet computer, or small folder of music. It’s also in a rather fetching chrome finish. This would make a good purchase for a beginner or occasional player.
Tiger Orchestral Music Stand – Fully Adjustable Sheet Music Stand in Black
This is a cheap and cheerful music stand that might suit a beginner needing a stand that can cope with reasonably weighty books or folders of music. It is slightly less robust than the other alternatives, but for the price, it’s not a bad deal.
Other essential items!
Please keep reading as this is vital for gigging musicians!
The stage can be a dark place. You should make sure your sheet music is well lit!
I have played at gigs where it’s been so difficult to read the music that it has adversely affected my playing. Don’t make this mistake! On these occasions I either hadn’t brought a light (d’oh!) or had brought one that wasn’t good enough for the job.
Here’s the best light for the job. Hands down.
Tiger Orchestra Music Stand Light – 9 Quality LED’s & AC Adaptor
There are two main types of music stand light. There are the ones like this, which are basically a strip of LEDs inside a rigid plastic housing, or there are the ‘alien antenna’ ones that are essentially just a light or two on those gooseneck things. The latter usually have less than half the amount of LEDs of the former. I have bought ‘antennas’ before and they have either not been bright enough or have failed on me due to their cheap design.
I would suggest paying a bit extra and going for the one linked above from Tiger as it evenly disperses the light across two pages. It can be plugged in to the mains, or used with batteries. Sometimes I have found that, in bigger bands, it’s important to have the battery option, as there isn’t always enough access to mains power.
Don’t get left in the dark! Make sure you light your music (even at home, to reduce eye-strain).
Large Metal Hinge Clips, 20 Pack
I had a gig on Sunday in the park. It was a lovely day in Southend and it must have gotten up to about 25° or 26°c. However, there was a bit of a breeze and my music would have gone everywhere were it not for these little fellows. Make sure you buy some bulldog clips to avoid your pages flying everywhere for those outdoor gigs!
It’s handy to have decent pens and pencils! I wouldn’t skimp just to save a few pennies. I always keep some fine point Sharpies, ball point pens and HB pencils as well as rubbers and sharpeners with me when I’m out teaching, gigging or recording. Buying quality will ensure that you don’t waste money on unusable writing tools.
I would massively recommend the Zebra pens for writing chord charts. They enable you to write really quickly and seem to last forever!
My experience has taught me what tools work and what tools don’t. If you opt for buying some of these items, you should be able to spend less time stressing and more time playing!