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!

25 Drummers Drumming

One of the most important aspects of any piece of music is the beat. All music needs a beat of some kind whether it is heard in the performers’ heads or given from a conductor, a percusssion section or from a drummer. However, sometimes drummers “do their own thing” together and with much practice achieve amazing results. Check out the spectacular Top Secret Drum Corps below!


About Top Secret Drum Corps

Top Secret Drum Corps is a precision drum corps based in Basel, Switzerland. It comprises 25 drummers and colorguard members. The corps became famous for its demanding six-minute routine performed at the Edinburgh Tattoo in 2003, thus becoming one of the first non-military, non-British Commonwealth acts to perform on the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle. Since its success in 2003, Top Secret was invited to return to Edinburgh in 2006, 2009 and again in 2012. Under the leadership of Erik Julliard, the band is also responsible for the founding of the Basel Tattoo, a military tattoo show similar to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, now held annually in Basel.

Music is FUN!

We can learn a lot from children. When it comes to expressing ourselves musically, children lead the way. They move, they wriggle, they clap, they dance and they are totally uninhibited in doing so. Young Jonathan, at 3 years of age, is totally involved in his conducting of the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No 5. Watch how he uses his whole body to express what he is feeling in response to the music. He has it all: movement, energy, expression, intensity, humour and fun!  Enjoy 🙂

Jazz pianist, Joey Alexander

Joey Alexander is an amazing jazz pianist from Bali. If you heard him play without having seen him, you would probably guess he was a lot older than 11 years old! Joey learnt a lot from his dad and from listening to recordings and imitating them. Joey has just released his first album, My Favourite Things, which is available on iTunes. Check him out and be amazed!

You can read more of Joey’s journey on The Improvised Line – A Blog About The Piano, Improvising and Jazz.