Is your music binder a mess? Here are some tips from New York, NY voice teacher Chelsea F. for keeping things organized…
Imagine you are gathering your go-to items for your audition or lesson when you grab your binder filled with every piece of vocal sheet music you have ever owned, and suddenly the binder slips from your hands. In a split-second all your music flies into the air and is now scattered and disorganized all over the floor… That’s a sure sign it’s time to get organized, especially if you’re regularly working with an accompanist.
Avoid this scenario — and keep your accompanist happy — with these easy steps:
• Start from scratch! Throw away torn and crumpled copies and make new ones, and use white hole reinforcements for extra security in the binder.
• Buy a new binder that is not falling apart! Start with a one-inch or two-inch binder, since it is easier to transport a thinner binder in a bookbag or tote. If the binder is too big and overloaded with music, it may not rest comfortably on the music rack on the piano.
• Make sure your name and phone number are visible either on the outside or inside of the binder in case you misplace it.
• A binder with pockets in the front and/or back is extremely helpful to keep extra headshots, resumes, and any other loose music.
• Eliminate the shiny paper protectors! The glare is difficult for pianists to play with. If you really want to to use the paper protectors, make sure to get the non-glare ones!
• If you sing a variety of genres, color-code the binders. For example — Black: Classical Binder; White: Musical Theater Binder; etc. This way you can grab it easily! You could also make a specific Audition Binder that has a little bit of everything in it!
• If you’re using ONE binder for all of your vocal sheet music, use dividers and labels for each section: Musical Theater, Classical, Art Song, Contemporary, etc.
• Consider adding a “Table of Contents” or “Table of Repertoire” at the front of the binder, so your accompanist can easily find a specific selection in your binder if needed. Then add tabs with labels on the right hand side so the pianist can easily flip to the aria or song. This makes it foolproof!
• If you are set on specific music selections, you can spiral-bind your audition materials in one small booklet, which can be done at FedEd Office, Staples, or your local paper store. Having all of your music in one easy booklet makes it super convenient.
• When putting vocal sheet music in your binder, make sure it is double-sided and none of the accompaniment is cut off at the bottom! You don’t want the pianist to omit something because a copy was cut off or hard to read.
Make your binder your own! Though it maybe overlooked, an organized binder for all your sheet music will take you far!
Chelsea F. teaches singing, piano, and music theory in New York, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Cleveland Institute of Music and a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music. Learn more about Chelsea here!
Photo by Dave Parker