Who needs a page turner?

If you are an instrumentalist, you probably won’t have much difficulty with page turns. After all, it’s quite easy to add an extra page to the music on your stand so you have three pages visible.

However, for a pianist, this is a different story altogether. There are ways of coping with this. This one below is NOT one I would recommend!

This pianist obviously had not thought about this kind of accident!  So what can a pianist do to eliminate performance hiccups?

Here are some suggestions if you want to turn pages yourself:

  • Photocopy the next page or enough of the page so you can turn at a convenient point, eg when one hand has a long note or some rests. DO NOT tape all your pages together as the pianist in the video did!
  • Turn early, playing the last few bars of the page from memory
  • Turn early, and mark a spot over the page where the bars you need are repeated. Play enough to get you to the top of the page after the turn.
  • Bend back the corner of the page so you can grab it quickly and easily
  • Decide which hand is more important and leave a few notes out from the other hand while you turn. In many Baroque or Classical pieces you can get away with just playing the left hand bass notes while you turn the page.

Do I need a page turner?

Having a page turner can definitely make playing easier if you need to get to the next page and there is no sensible place to turn. Also, if you think you might pull the music off the piano stand as you turn (some books do not sit well on the piano) then yes, by all means find someone to turn your pages. However, some pianists prefer to turn their own pages because it’s what they get used to when they are practising.

In the end it’s really up to you. Here are a couple of tips to help your page turner:

  • Make sure your page turner knows what your signal is to turn the page. Most pianists nod when they want the page turned. You don’t have to look at your page turner when you do this.
  • Be sure to let your page turner know how close and where to stand. You don’t want them cramping your playing if you have a lot of bass notes at the turn They should always stand on the stage side of your piano stool, never on the audience side. If the piece is slow or long they might like to sit on a chair until the line before the turn.

Happy performing!

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