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Laurie Niles

Art Project: Cheap Portable 'Music Stand'

July 16, 2013 at 1:49 AM

Once again I am required to pack light -- very light. I'm driving across the United States with my husband, two teenagers, our bags, and yes, my spare fiddle.

In a Prius.

We're going from Los Angeles to Maine, to check out a school for my daughter. As you can imagine, space is at a premium in our tiny trunk, and the inclusion of the violin was a major concession to Mom (that's me). I dared not express what I was thinking, "What good is my fiddle, without a music stand?" There's no room, even for a folding stand. We barely have room for an extra shoe (much less a shoebox!).

Sure, I can prop up the music against my case, but that doesn't work very well in my fitted case. I'm bringing copies, not bulky books. Copies tend to slouch and fall and even float away. The case does have a small pocket for music, and in one of those "necessity is the mother of invention" moments, I thought up a cheap and workable contraption that will fit in that little pocket with the copies. (If a more elegant solution can be bought, I'll certainly consider it, but for now, I will share with you my invention!).

Materials required:
One sturdy plastic (not paper) folder with pockets ($1.99 from Staples, but you can probably find it cheaper)
One thin, foot-long ruler (plastic one from Staples, $.99.)
Packing tape

How to make a (really cheap) portable "music stand":

1. Open the folder and cut the outer sides of the pockets so that they can fold down.

Open folder

2. The ruler is what will hold the folder open and reinforce the bottom of the "stand." Prop up the folder and open as wide as you'd like it for the "stand." Place the ruler along the bottom and trace the edges of the ruler.

Open folder

3. Using the ruler lines as a guide, cut two slits across the ruler lines: one slit an inch from the left end and then another an inch from the right end of the ruler lines. To keep the ruler in place a bit better, make some pockets with the packing tape to go across the ruler line. Place a piece of packing tape right over the sticky side just where the ruler will go, so the tape isn't sticky there.

Open folder

4. If you want, you can make another one of these "pockets" to hold the ruler when you aren't using the stand. (I put one against the inside of the folder, so the ruler can fit diagonally, when not in use)

5. To set up the "stand," slide the ruler through the slits and pockets.

Open folder

6. Prop the "stand" in your case.

Open folder

7. Put your music up and play!

Music stand

8. To move on, take the ruler out, stick it in the folder, fold the folder, and you have a very portable "stand"! To make my "stand" seem legit, I printed out a picture of a real stand and put it in the pocket on the front of the folder.

Music stand

From Tom Holzman
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 2:01 AM
Cool! Very imaginative. Have a safe trip.
From Steve Reizes
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 5:13 AM
Thank you! I've needed something like that for a long time. You're spare fiddle's pretty too!
From sharelle taylor
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 5:24 AM
Plastic page protectors and blu-tac. Stick it on the wall or the window and you're good to go. But i do like a bit of craft, Laurie, and that was clever.
From Brian Kelly
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 5:25 AM
When travelling I use Blue Tack. I always have loose sheets of paper (not books) and I can tack the sheets of paper to a wall, door or mirror. I even use this method at home now as it gets the music up to a good height. Most music stands are a bit too low for my liking.

A bonus is that you can position four or five sheets of paper side by side (space permitting) more turning pages !

From Mark Roberts
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 5:46 AM
If there was one object that was both case and stand...
From Dimitri Musafia
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM
You can pack more stuff in a Prius than one can imagine! Last summer I was with my family in LA and between my wife and two teenage daughters we accumulated more stuff to load on the plane back than would even be allowed...

The year before we had had the same problem, my dad didn't want to bust the springs of his sedan with the excess weight while taking us to the airport, so that time I had hired a stretch limo. The kids loved it, they felt they were starring on a TV show, but alas there were no parazzi waiting for them at ther international terminal.

This time I called a cab and specified that we need a large one on account of four people and lots of bags. The driver showed up.

In a Prius.

There was no time to order another car, but the driver said "don't worry"... and through Rubik-cube-sque ingenuity the driver managed to fit everything in, including all five of us. Exactly how, I'm not sure.

Have a great trip!

From Ann Marie Cordial
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 11:22 AM
I like it. I travel a lot with my instruments, especially my viola....

---Ann Marie

From Anne Horvath
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM

I like the blue tack idea too.

Have a great trip.

School in Maine? That is far, far away...

From Terez Mertes
Posted on July 16, 2013 at 8:00 PM
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 7:40 AM
That's real ingenuity. Great! Have a good, safe trip.

I've been reading for many years. I remember when your daughter was about 7 y.o.

From Paul Deck
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 2:55 PM
That's three votes for blue tack.

Creative craft project, Laurie. Now all you need is a violin to go with it:

From Maria Held
Posted on July 18, 2013 at 4:18 PM
Simply genius! I have myself handcrafted some lightweight self-made music stand for a long Asia tournee with pieces of cardboard to be connected with brass fasteners. But your invention is much easier and more elegant than mine! Congrats!
From Laurie Niles
Posted on July 21, 2013 at 1:51 AM
Love the origami violin!
From Royce Faina
Posted on July 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM
Laurie.... that is cool! Mother Necessity at her finest! :o) I recall hearing some of the IT kids talk about "Smart Glasses" (I'll have to look it up online) and it sounded like eyeglasses with something like a heads up display. If such is available or becomes so it would be nice to be able to rig my eyeglasses were I can see music to do scales, etudes, pieces. Then again you music stand would be easier on the budget.
From Jeanne Majors
Posted on July 21, 2013 at 2:56 PM
If one is not as creative or artistic as you, one might prefer (as I do) a couple of strong (old fashioned pinch -type) clothes pins... Attach the music to the open lid of your case...or to the drapes or clothes hangers in a hotel room. Those hangers often have skirt or pant clips that also would work. Just thought I would share what has served me well over many years when I traveled!

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