Meri’s Musical Musings

The Art of Page-Turning

Posted on: November 10, 2012

I often work as a page turner for pianists and organists, most often for my husband, who strongly prefers to have me turn pages when he plays piano or organ whenever possible. While it looks like an easy job, there are several subtleties that make the difference between good page turners and bad ones. Here are some pointers on how to do it well (and get callbacks for additional gigs in the future)

  • Watch for repeats, DS/DC al Fines, and note which page you turn back to, if the musician is doing repeats.
  • Watch the melody line, or if it’s unclear, watch where the musician’s eyes are on the page.
  • Notice where repeating similar figures end near the places where a page is to be turned.
  • Don’t block the musician’s view of the keyboard
  • Don’t block the musician’s view of the music
  • Turn from the top right hand corner (top left hand if going back pages for repeats/DS/DC al Fine)
  • Be prepared for falling music off the rack, particularly if the musician is using digital printouts or photocopies.
  • Check that you don’t grab two pages unintentionally, especially with books that are relatively new to the musician.
  • Don’t get distracted by the beauty of the music!
  • Prepare 1-2 lines ahead for the page turn.
  • Watch the musician for the cue to turn the pages.

This article may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any way, shape, or form without permission from the author and agreed-upon amount of payment for its use.

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  • None
  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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