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  #16  
Old 08-27-2011, 05:57 AM
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Gutch Gutch is offline
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Poets use a lectern when they recite their poetry, reading from a page.

Authors, during public readings of their book, will not have the section memorized but, rather, will read directly from the book.

Professional musicians playing jazz, classical and many other genres of music will use a stand and read directly from the sheet music. Although you don't see it, many of the biggest rock acts use tele-prompters on stage to help them remember the lyrics.

If all these professionals are allowed to read what they are playing/reciting, why would I be embarrassed by doing the same? I'm leaving my house in an hour to set up and play a three hour gig at a Farmer's Market. I can tell you that a music stand and binder will be in the car and used during the performance. No shame at all, as I know using it will benefit my audience.

When I start making $1M/show or have a bevy of beautiful women clamoring for my autograph (and more), at that point I'll start worrying about memorizing all the music...
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  #17  
Old 08-27-2011, 08:05 AM
Rick Shepherd Rick Shepherd is offline
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OK. This is pet peeve for me. The only thing I hate more than seeing music stands is folks reading vocals from them. Same could go for cord charts. It would be OK if you're playing in a pick up gig but never in what is your main show band. I was in one band that the lead singer read every song. They should have named the band "Page Reader". If a song is important enough to add to your set list, know the song. It's not that hard. Watch the you tube videos. Even videos posted here. Folks have gotten creative with how to hide the fact they are reading pages. The eye's don't lie though. Think about it, you're in the audience. Do you want the singer focused the audience or reading from a book? The physical barrier is bad enough. The emotional connection with your audience is critical.
Ya, it's cheezy! It is difficult to establish that emotional connection with the audience if you, as the performer, are focused on a sheet of music. I am talking about performing while singing and playing. If you are focused on reading the lyrics, chances are you are not performing to a level that is satisfying to the listener.
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  #18  
Old 08-27-2011, 08:30 AM
GibbyPrague GibbyPrague is offline
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You should get rid of them as soon as possible. Meaning you have learned your maerial and dont need them anymore.

It looks bad out there on stage.

We had to use them for quite some time as we were learning new material but these days dont use them.
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  #19  
Old 08-27-2011, 12:55 PM
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Use a stand, go to jail.

It's the law, people.
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  #20  
Old 08-27-2011, 01:03 PM
Rick Shepherd Rick Shepherd is offline
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Use a stand, go to jail.

It's the law, people.
OMG! That is funny!
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  #21  
Old 08-29-2011, 11:51 AM
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Wow. Seems like there definitely two camps on this issue. One saying music stands are OK, and one saying they're never OK. I perform regularly and consider my needing to learn all the lyrics -- and all the music -- to the stuff I do, which is just cover songs aside from a few originals, to be a requirement of being a performer. OF COURSE an audience expects it. I know I do, as an audience member. Playing music is not at all, in my mind, comparable to an author reading from his book or a speaker using notes. There's too much emotion and personal connection, and pure entertainment, in my mind, between a musician and an audience. And those teleprompters that the Big Boys sometimes use are not at all comparable, either, to a lounge act using music stands. Music stands in that case are WAY too visible and relied upon by the musician, typically.

Submitted respectfully, but adamantly.
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  #22  
Old 08-29-2011, 12:13 PM
hansentj hansentj is offline
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Yo Yo Ma uses a music stand. That's all the justification I need. Anyone gonna call him unprofessional?
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  #23  
Old 08-29-2011, 12:54 PM
Kyle76 Kyle76 is offline
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At nearly every professional concert that I've been to lately, the musicians have music and/or lyrics on some type of music stand. Heck, at the Steely Dan show I saw recently, Walter Becker had his monologue for "Hey Nineteen" written out and was clearly reading it as he intro'd the song. Leon Russell, Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald -- they all had their music on paper or computer screen. If you're getting paid tens of thousands of dollars for a gig, you can't afford to blank out on a lyric or chord change.
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  #24  
Old 08-29-2011, 12:55 PM
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I think there's a clear distinction between the expected context here on AGF and a classical musician's performance. It's accepted, for some reason, with the latter, although I still don't get why he wouldn't know his music by heart, whereas, I'm sure with most people, there's a different feeling with a singer/songwriter performer who uses a music stand. Maybe hard to put into words, but there's a difference. And as I said, in both cases, why wouldn't both kinds of musicians know their material? As complex as Yo Yo Ma's music may be, it's not any more complex than lots of classical, new age or even rock pieces by countless guitarists -- Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Hedges, Tommy Emanuel, Eric Johnson, David Wilcox... the list is endless. In my mind, it just doesn't come from the heart as much if there's someone reading directions while they're playing. Although the skills involved are, of course, still very advanced...
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  #25  
Old 08-29-2011, 01:06 PM
sharkydude50 sharkydude50 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hansentj View Post
Yo Yo Ma uses a music stand. That's all the justification I need. Anyone gonna call him unprofessional?
Jorma Kaukonen used one the other night when I saw the acoustic Hot Tuna show- nuff said!
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  #26  
Old 08-29-2011, 01:14 PM
mchalebk mchalebk is offline
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Back in the 80s when I used to perform 3-4 hour solo gigs on a halfway regular basis, I had all my material memorized and sang/played everything from memory. However, I did like to keep a song list handy and I didnít work from set lists, so I used a music stand for my song list so I could quickly get some ideas for my next song.

Back in the 90s, I was hired to do a St Patrickís Day gig one time. Since I didnít know any Irish songs, I went on a crash course and learned about a dozen in one month. However, there was no way I was going to be able to memorize them in such a short time (having a full time job and other responsibilities), so I resorted to using ďcheat sheetsĒ. I wasnít proud of it, but it was necessary.

What I found is that the people really didnít care. First off, I didnít stare at the cheat sheets, I still kept good contact with the audience. Plus, this was a corner bar where the average customer was only paying so much attention.

And I think thatís a key. A lot of people in this thread are talking about keeping in touch with the audience. However, there are an awful lot of gigs out there where the audience doesnít really connect much with the performer. When playing bars and restaurants, for example, it is not uncommon for a lot of the ďaudienceĒ to not even be able to see the musician(s). At the end of songs, they may or may not applaud. Most performances are not concerts, with audience members focused on the performers.

Now, at age 54, I would like to get back into playing the occasional paid gig, which I havenít done since the 90s. To be honest, my memory isnít as good as it used to be. My going in position is to memorize my material. However, is it better to not have a music stand and mess up several songs a set, or to have the stand and not have to worry about it? Plus, if I used cheat sheets, I could have so much more material available.

Hereís something Iím thinking about if I do use cheat sheets. Iím thinking two sections of the binder, the first part with cheat sheets for the songs I plan to perform, in order. So, I would simply flip from one sheet to the next between songs and be ready to go. The second section would have every song sheet in alphabetical order, including duplicate copies of the songs in the first section (so I could easily handle the occasional set list deviation for requests, etc.).

Once again, I hope to be able to perform a 3-hour gig without cheat sheets. However, I still have a full time job, other obligations and my memory isnít what it used to be. The binder may be my only recourse.
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  #27  
Old 08-29-2011, 01:17 PM
mchalebk mchalebk is offline
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It's probably worth pointing out that a musician like Yo-Yo Ma probably performs many hundreds of pieces every year, some on very short notice. People like him can't afford to get wrapped up in memorizing everything they do. It would really be impossible, unless he had a photographic memory. However, I suspect he can just about sight read most of this stuff and pull it off without a hitch.
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  #28  
Old 08-29-2011, 01:40 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Got a hunch many in the "No music stand camp" couldn't read a piece of sheet music if it was on the stand in front of them anyway.

Insulted? Good, now you know how people who make their bread by being able to read on stage feel when you say they're "unprofessional."

Different kinds of music, different kinds of playing atmospheres, different guidelines apply. Try to lump it all together, you get nowhere.
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  #29  
Old 08-29-2011, 02:24 PM
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When I was in my 20's, I made a list of all the songs that I knew the music and lyrics to with out any prompts. It was over 350. At the time it amazed me that I really could remember all those songs. Now that I am almost 60, the square root of 350 would probably be pushing it. For all those who are in their 20's and 30's that say that will never happen to them, believe me I was there and it will happen to you.
Because I could remember so many songs, I always thought a music stand was tacky and cheesy. Well guess what I use now. I actually don't have a problem remembering, except a couple songs out of the 30 plus songs we play at a gig, but you just never know when that senior moment might set in. We also have all our songs in sheet covers and adjust the order for our set list in our music book.
I have my stand attached to my mic stand and set low as not to create a barrier with our audience. I also set it as flat as possible as to give it the illusion that it is not this big, flat, black metal shield I am hiding behind...
Funny how the petty things when we were young become the necessity things when we get older...
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  #30  
Old 08-29-2011, 02:29 PM
slewis slewis is offline
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I may have missed it, but I don't see anyone in this thread calling performers who use music stands "unprofessional." Someone above said that the audience doesn't noticewhen you use one. And in some cases I'm sure that's right. But for my $.02, yes, I absolutely DO notice, as an audience member, when a performer uses one, and you as the performer wouldn't have a clue what I thought. And I'd think that you'd come across a little more polished if you didn't use one. But as the original post said, hey, if you really need to use one to make the gig happen, it's a no-brainer. Use it! It's not a sin; it's an avoid-it-if-you-can. Another point is the visibility of the stand. I bet most of us use some kind of printed/written notes, set list, etc. I use the occasional small lyric tip sheet for newer songs, but I make it very hard for the audience to see it.

I don't think anyone's condemning anyone here for using stands, but I do think there's a prevalent opinion that if you can avoid it, it's a good idea. And yes there are factors such as venue, music type, context, proximity to audience, etc.
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