Thursday, 20 February 2014

Mrs Lau's Guide to being a page turner.

Recently I had the privilege of turning pages for a concert pianist colleague and it caused me to think about the skills required to do this job well. So here is my list of things to consider as you prepare to do this tricky job!

  • What to wear? Either all black or something in subdued colours. Look smart but save the tux for when you are the soloist. Non- squeaky, safe height shoes.

  • Make sure you are freshly showered, well-deoderanted (you will be leaning over the pianist...) but not perfumed- ( it might over power the pianist or they might be allergic).

  • Check what time you are required: for a rehearsal, for a quick briefing etc.  Also make sure you know where the venue is.

  • Listen carefully to where the pianist wants you to turn: are they doing all/some of the repeats, do they want to do some of their own page turns, are there any back turns/ Da Capos etc?

  • Sit on the left of the pianist (unless the piano is the other way round) and well back but near enough to see the music and get to the page turns in time.

  • As a general rule stand up and get your finger between the pages 2 lines before the end of the page but remember that if the music is fast you might want to stand up earlier, if it's slow you might stand up half a line later.

  • Turn quickly and efficiently when the pianist nods. Most pianists will nod early most of the time, it depends...Make sure the music stays turned and stays on the stand.

  • When its all over sit well back and clap. Slip off the stage as unobtrusively as possible, you are not the star.

  • Advice from a colleague and singer: always remember why you are there; its easy to get carried away listening to the performance but that's not why you are there, your job is to make the pianist's life easier, so concentrate on their music and them.

  • Enjoy the job, you will learn a lot about accompanying and it is a privilege.

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