NEW HOMEPAGE LANDING PAGE Forums Practice Questions Filing Music For Practice

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    • #46402
      Nick Wilkins

      A while ago in one of the videos, a lovely lady called Tara asked a question about the best way to file her music. To be honest, as I was only learning about three tunes at that point, I didn’t really understand, as whatever it was I needed was, at most, hidden by one other piece of music on my stand.

      Now though, I have lots of tunes and I really do get Tara’s question. Sometimes it takes me ages to find ‘The High Road to Linton’ buried underneath a, b, c, d, e, f and g [etc].

      A music stand is a very narrow thing and now I’m up to 20-or so sheets of notation, I’ve had to make a plan. So this is it: I’ve put each sheet with its title on top in a plastic sleeve, put them all in alphabetical order [c.10 each side of the stand – which is now about filled], and then I take out and put on top the three or four pieces I’m going to practise in that session, 1 and 2 on the left and 3 and 4 on the right, and then put them all back alphabetically once I’ve finished.

      Now I’ve typed that, it really looks like egg-sucking; apologies if so.

      Is there any other [better?] way?

    • #46557
      Jim Guinn

      I sometimes use my music stand, and it is also covered with papers that I have to sift through if I need to look at a particular tune.

      I practice in my office at home, and a lot of times, I don’t use my music stand. Instead, I use my computer. I have all my music saved alphabetically in a folder in pdf format. I just click on the tune I want and use my monitor as my “music stand”.

      Ashokan Farewell

      • #46558
        Nick Wilkins

        Hi Jim, and thanks for this. I mainly use a MacBook, and I’ve tried propping it up high enough for me to be able to use it to look at music I’ve copied but not yet printed – but it’s not very successful.

        I love your tab, which I think really helps to see the patterns in the music [and so learn them]. I used to write out guitar tab in that way.

        I watch quite a lot of string quartets, and the free streaming from Wigmore Hall here in the UK is wonderful. I’ve noticed there that a lot of players use iPads on their stands and have a footswitch to move through the ‘pages’ – see this stunning performance of Schubert’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ as an example [they are playing in the Baroque manner it was originally written for and played in, so if you are a fan of this work but haven’t heard it played in this style, it may take some conscious adjustment before you can really appreciate it]:

        Keep on keeping on!

    • #46561
      Nick Wilkins

      The Schubert starts at 32 minutes in!

    • #46582
      Jim Guinn

      Hi Nick…I have a large monitor and I sit when practicing, so my monitor is right at eye level.

      I can’t remember where I found this tab idea, but I like it much better than the way Jason writes out the tabs exactly for the reason you mentioned, “really helps to see the patterns in the music.”

      Beautiful piece! I never knew there was such a foot switch to “flip pages”. That is neat.

      • #46583
        Nick Wilkins

        Hi Jim.

        Yes, once I’ve found the pattern in a piece, I always find it easier to put it together in my head.

        The Schubert is wonderful, isn’t it! It’s my second-favourite after Smetana’s ‘From my life’. There’s a wonderful video of that on YT by the Pavel Haas Quartet, whose playing is phenomenal. The first movement is here:

    • #46592
      Jim Guinn

      What marvelous playing. I really enjoyed this.

    • #47071

      Usually I only use the computer when I’m doing the lesson (fiddlehed, or from a YouTube video). I’ve watched people have to stop in the middle of doing an open mic to get their iPad or phone to open back up or stay awake so they don’t get lost or forget lyrics or get stalled. Awkward! I’m sure it can be made to work just fine, but I tend to go with the hard copies.
      I print out the sheet music, punch holes and put it alphabetical in a binder. But it can all get complicated. So I have multiple binders.
      One binder for Fiddlehed only tunes.
      One binder for my banjo tabs. (Alphabetical, but within the different tuning categories.)
      One binder for my (bluegrass) lyrics.
      One binder for all the other fiddle tunes I have collected and either sort of play or want to play.
      One binder for my antebellum banjo tunes.
      One binder for all the songs that my bluegrass band did.
      A folder each for different instruments that I am just playing around with.
      But then, there is a smaller binder with tunes and songs that I am specifically working on, divided between fiddle, banjo, songs.
      Then there is the hard thing of the music books. When there is a tune in a book that I really want to work on, I photocopy it and put it in a binder. Once in awhile I take journeys all through my binders.
      My goal is to have stuff memorized and not have to refer to the music in the binders, let them just be reference. So I have a small bound book with banjo and fiddle tune song titles listed that I know. Periodically, I play through them to make sure I haven’t forgotten them.
      I regard the small bound book as the most important piece of my arsenal.
      I’m sure most people don’t go this far! But having them set up like this relieves my anxiety about forgetting all about some wonderful tune I used to know.

      • #47081
        Nick Wilkins

        Carolyn, do you have a binder … for all those binders?

      • #47139


        I may do much of the same things. I have binders for my guitar music, banjo music, mandolin music, and dulcimer music. When I play out with my fiddle friend, I have a separate binder for the music we play together. She plays fiddle and I play dulcimer with her, mostly Irish tunes. Now, I’m building a binder for my Fiddlehed music here.

        I also build binders with my “playing out” music. Pre-pandemic I played mandolin with a group and I had a binder for those songs. We played locally and for assisted living places. I have a binder for a bluegrass band I played with decades ago. These last two are song books of the songs with chords.

        I have used my iPad for storage of music sheets — words with chords — so when we played out, I could bring up the songs in case I needed the sheets.

        When I started learning fiddle two years ago (pre-pandemic), I learned fiddle by ear. I had the words and the chords/keys and kept a binder with those songs. No music. But my fiddle teacher provided me with DVDs of the songs. But he left for Tennessee over a year ago. So now, if I want to recall something I learned with him, I have to listen to the DVD.

        With Fiddlehed, I copy the tab and the music onto one page and print a sheet for the binder. I’m trying to learn to read the music this way.

        Like you, I try to memorize everything. As a band member over the years, I did things by ear and memory. So I want to continue to do that. But I always have my reference binders!

        So much wonderful music, so little time!

    • #47083

      Ha ha! Yeah. No, but I do have a dedicated cubby space in a shelf unit for them.

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