With all of the upcoming summer performances, this simple hack will keep your music from flying or turning in the breeze when playing outdoors. This works best for broadway style books! For other situations, see the other recommendatioms at the end.
Last summer in the pit of Thoroughly Modern Millie, we had a particularly strong breeze that turned all of our music mid-rehearsal. We all got out our clothespins to keep the music from flipping, but being a long book, this created some problems. It was near impossible to not miss measures of music at page turns, as I was clipping and unclipping and switching between alto, flute, clarinet, piccolo and soprano. At the end of the rehearsal, the 3rd Reed player, Wendy, tapped me on the shoulder and showed me this trick that she had been using for a while. It made the rest of the run go smooth and I'll be using it again this summer.
As I revisited this hack, I spent a few hours testing the weights, line size, position, etc. inside with a strong hair dryer and outside in the wind, and found this to be the optimal arrangement.
I got all of these supplies at Wal-Mart and I have included links so you can get them online if you prefer.
1. Cut fishing line to about 25"/65cm. Err on the long side, as you can trim it later. I chose 8lb line as it is clear and thick enough to prevent ripping into the paper.
2. Slide weight on and tie with a few simple knots.
3. Loop and tie a second weight through the short end, if desired. I found 2-3 worked best at keeping the wind at bay while keeping the pull manageable.
4. Take the long end of the line and loop it through the first clothespin.
5. Loop the line through the second clothespin, pull enough so that there is enough line to go across the music stand, plus a few inches. Tie the line with some simple knots.
6. To use, clip the free-moving clothespin with the weight on the bottom, pull the second clothespin across the page and clip to the other side. Click here for a video demonstration. Turning pages is easy and only requires a simple edge flip. The optimal set up for me was two to three weights with three lines, though you can do as many as you like.
7. To store, pull the two clothespins together and wrap the line around them.
Clothespins: These hold the music well and are inexpensive. Unfortunately, they are slow to turn and sometimes don't reach all edges when using larger stands. Can work on on 2 page charts.
Long/clear clothespins: Usually two work fine, though they also require clipping and unclipping. I don't see many people with them.
Plexiglass sheet: These sheets stop any effect of wind and don't impede vision. However, it is impossible to turn pages, the sheet is heavy and big to carry around, making it fairly impractical. Good for 2-3 page big band charts.
Tablet: Paired with a foot pedal, this can be an amazing solution, as you can have the setlist in order and have all of the charts in one spot. The downsides are that tablets tend to overheat in the sun, are hard to read in bright light and you can only see one page at a time. At night, they are pretty solid!
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