How to use/manage your gig scores

Edited: April 14, 2019, 6:11 PM · Hello dear musicians!

I am happy. I've just finished the first practicing session of my freshly formed strings piano trio. We have a shared Google drive which stores all of our sheet music.

Gig players, how do you manage your scores?
1) print them out and put it in clear folder, turn pages by yourself
2) iPad
3) iPad with Wireless page turner

I was told that using iPad is not cool in formal occasions, what do you think? Please advice us!

Replies (11)

April 14, 2019, 6:18 AM · Not a gig player, but...
I don't think using an iPad would be "uncool", and on the rare occasions I play in public without knowing the music by heart, I mostly use an iPad 12,9" with pedal page turner now, since I own one. It's just a tool... What's really uncool are loose printouts getting caught by wind or accident.
At first sight, it may not look "suitable" for classical instruments with all that "tradition", but I've already been even to HIP concerts where electronic readers were used. Made no huge difference.
April 14, 2019, 8:00 AM · They’re in binders in sheet protectors with numbers. No way am I paying for four iPads, and since the personnel is fluid, it’s not reasonable to expect anyone I might hire to have an iPad.
Edited: April 14, 2019, 1:45 PM · Although I take Mary Ellen’s point - for a newly established group, (you might hope they all happened to have IPads anyway,) I have been to a performance of the Goldberg Variations by a trimmed down version of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and they were using IPads. I didn’t register that till halfway through, so, no not obtrusive . Haven’t seen the whole ensemble playing for a while so don’t know if they use them then.
In my very amateur orchestra , there is a violinist who sings professionally , and on our open-mic night, he brought his music on an iPad . I have been meaning to ask him when he uses that, as last year the amount of paper we had was becoming considerable by the end of the year . Unfortunately I had just bought a 10” iPad before I started , so unwilling to fork out myself for a 12.5”
April 14, 2019, 5:32 PM · Both of the orchestras I play in now have a mixture of people using printed music and people using tablets. Both orchestras distribute all parts in PDF format so that orchestra members can do either.
Edited: April 14, 2019, 7:25 PM · The novelty has worn off and I think the electronic tablet is completely acceptable now, even in "formal" situations. You can get music stands that are designed just for the tablet, or you can place your tablet on a regular music stand behind a music folder which might even be empty. The former (the designed system) is more secure -- i.e., less likely to drop your tablet. If you use the tablet, you might as well use the footswitch.

For ordinary jazz-piano gigs, I've found generally that putting my pieces in "gig order" does not work very well because there are always changes during sets. It's usually just as easy to look things up alphabetically or by some kind of index that you use for your music. I've subbed into groups where I was handed a "book" with all the music in "gig order" and then what happens is the leader makes a sudden change and then you have no idea where that chart is in the book, meanwhile the drummer is counting it off!

However, alphabetical is not as fast. I've also done gigs accompanying singers where it was kind of a show format and you sometimes had to get to the next tune immediately, like you would in the pit orchestra for a musical. That's where gig-order is essential.

The tablet should allow you to make a playlist (gig order) but then also look stuff up in an index if there's a change. That flexibility is very attractive, at least to me. I'm going to be going to a tablet soon -- just have to digitize all my fake books.

April 14, 2019, 9:17 PM · Presumably there are special apps for this? How does the page turning work?
And. Presume in settings you can stop the iPad “going to sleep “?
April 14, 2019, 10:45 PM · iPads are perfectly acceptable on formal occasions these days. ForScore is optimized for music and is the typical iPad app used with a pedal. You don't have to worry about the iPad going to sleep or the like. You do need to be aware that an iPad Pro 12.9" at max brightness will drain its battery quite quickly, though. (You can play a two-hour gig no problem on a full charge though.)

However, depending on the way that you handle music and where you play, you may find it easier to just use binders. You should carry portable music lights, though, since you'll need them in a lot of venues. iPads work okay outdoors, but I would probably prefer paper music outdoors -- in a binder with clear page protection so that wind doesn't blow the pages around.

Edited: April 15, 2019, 12:10 AM · The prelude/reception section of my binder is numbered. We don’t play “Queen of Sheba,” we play #3. Alphabetical is unnecessary. The order is roughly from what we use most to what we use least, but it’s no big deal to skip around when all I’m doing is calling out numbers.

Ceremony music is rearranged in whatever order is needed for that particular wedding, in sheet protectors in the very front of the binder. When we get the signal to switch from prelude music to the seating of the mothers, we just flip to the front of the book. Mothers—bridesmaids—bride—recessional, all in order.

Edited: April 15, 2019, 9:58 AM · I went from being very reluctant to very confident in the iPad in a short time. I use one for sheet music using ForScore. ForScore is a lot more than just sheet music storage. It's a metronome,a tuner and it has playback/ editing capability. Connects and shares with cloud based storage.

Has never let me down yet in either case.I usually have a backup plan if there is some kind of a failure. Had a few close calls with battery life on the larger iPad.Should be charged the night before any gig to be safe. They are way overpriced IMO. Can be found for less if you don't buy the most recent model. I would make sure I get one with a lightening charger though. Not the old style.

I love the page turner for playing strings. Not working very well for me on piano though since I use my feet on the pedals already, I find I need to feel around for it and make sure I don't accidentally go to far ahead or go backwards. Is easier to simply touch the screen to turn pages.

April 15, 2019, 9:03 AM · I love technology, but I use paper for performances.

Three 40 minute sets requires about 30 charts. I work out an order and distribute it prior to performances, and everyone has the charts in order on the job. I have a leather folder, but most use a plastic file (not sleeves, but "frames" that hold the pages). Oh, and I have a sturdy "Rat Stand".

We keep about 100 pieces polished for performance, and with the set list distributed before each gig, people are not searching for charts.

Old fashioned, I know, but paper still works. No-one has complained.

April 16, 2019, 3:01 AM · Thanks for all the input!! Thank you!

Paul, you can download the Fake Book online, in PDF.


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