Mudcat Café message #859997 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55223   Message #859997
Posted By: Don Firth
06-Jan-03 - 02:48 PM
Thread Name: Using a music stand
Subject: RE: Using a music stand
I totally agree that it's best to do everything from memory and not use crib sheets. BUT—let me remind you that in opera houses and live theater, one of the less obtrusive bits of architecture is the prompter's box. You never notice it, but if it were not there, you quite probably would. It's quite a chore, even for someone like Luciano Pavarotti, to keep an entire opera score in his head, even though he keeps several dozen operas and a whole bunch of other stuff there. On those rare occasions when Pavarotti does have a lapse of memory, the prompter is there, and he's smooth enough at covering so nobody is the wiser. That's professionalism. Also, in solo vocal recitals, the piano accompanist has the sheet music right there in front of him/her, and can function as a prompter if need be.

For a solo performer who rarely if ever sings in a theater with a prompter's box and who is not accompanied by an assistant who sits at a piano or crawls into the cubby-hole with the crib-sheets and whispers cues when and if necessary, a music stand set to one side, but in easy view of the singer, is a good alternative.

But learn the goddam song first and be able to sing it through umpteen times—at home— without a crib sheet—before inflicting yourself on an unsuspecting public! Then, if history proves that you need to keep a crib sheet handy, do so. BUT—if you have to keep referring to it constantly as you sing, you might think about confining your performing to the bathtub. There, you are a folk singer. In public, in front of an audience, whether you are getting paid or not, that audience has a right to assume a certain degree of professionalism on your part. If you are there at all, that means your ego is large enough for you to assume that you have the right to demand their attention and take up their time. You owe them something. If you stand there and read your songs off a crib sheets, that's pretty unprofessional. If you have a music stand within view and you glance at it—occasionally—that is not unprofessional. After all, professionals do. Nuttin' wrong with it.

Don Firth