Does Anyone Use a Tablet for Lyrics on Stage? Please Advise!

tele12

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.......
It screams “I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m not ready to perform”, IMO.
It’s amateurish and unprofessional.

No it doesn't, and it's not.

Maybe where you are from it's different, but in my area the musicians who play for a living are all playing multiple types of gigs. The Tribute bands, the original band, the cover band.
When they are playing the solo restaurant and winery gig they use the iPad for lyrics.
 

playforfun

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Ok I didn’t read all of the posts. I’m in a 6 piece band and I’m the singer. I use an iPad on a stand attached to mic stand. I don’t stare at the iPad I look at the audience and other musicians. I have over 50 set list saved to Setlist helper. I think it’s a handy tool and possibly a crutch as well. Call me insecure incompetent or unprofessional it’s ok. We put on a heck of a show and always get asked back. I do what works for me.
 

Happy Enchilada

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Yes it is amusing. I live in an area where everyone plays the blues. Why. I play rock and roll. Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Dion, things like that. My original stuff is similar. Yet everywhere you go someone is going to hollar "play some blues". I've got a black friend here, a hellofa rocker, big Frampton fan, people hollar the same thing at him. He'll give that what's up look.
Anyway glad you got a chuckle, now jump on those blues!
I grew up near Chicago. I know the difference between "good" blues and bad. Same with pizza. There are some players that really have a way with it - Gary Moore and Pat Travers and Rory Gallagher, to name a few good Irishmen. ;)
 

dsutton24

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There have been countless threads about music stands and tablets on stage. It's my considered opinion that the only people who care about such things are musicians. Ditto headstock tuners. Your audience just doesn't care, unless of course you're tuned half a step down from the rest of your band or you fluff the lyrics to whatever barfly anthem you're trudging through.

Do whatever it takes to sound credible, that's what your audience wants.
 

AAT65

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Tablets are different from paper because they're so hard to stop looking at, like when you go into a bar and nobody's talking because they're all staring at the tv. I've seen iPads have a negative effect on performance and eye contact with the audience. But I guess if you're aware of that from the start, and can tear your eyes away, then the benefits of having a limitless amount of material at hand are undeniable.
I think that's an interesting point.
I have only used cribs on stage for new material I'm still getting the hang of, but my preferred option then is an old school music stand set up low (about knee-height) with my handwritten paper notes. I don't think that's too obtrusive. Doesn't work too well on a dark stage though!
 

Red Ryder

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I grew up near Chicago. I know the difference between "good" blues and bad. Same with pizza. There are some players that really have a way with it - Gary Moore and Pat Travers and Rory Gallagher, to name a few good Irishmen. ;)
A few years ago I was invited to play out at a jamboree, far out. There were three acts with female singers ahead of me and each one sang Stand By Your Man, plus the usual assortment of ice pick in the ear. I played Little Runaway, B-Movie Boxcar Blues, Runaway Around Sue and Summertime Blues. I was not invited back.
 

tfarny

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I have a simple rule: Don't sing a song on stage, in front of people who paid to be there, that you don't know the lyrics to. There are ways to memorize lyrics (and poems, and actor's lines). IF you never work on memorizing the stuff, then you definitely will not automatically memorize it. It is hard, but being off book is important.

One simple important idea is to NOT read the lyrics as you are singing when practicing. Review them, then turn the page over, and try to play off book. If / when you stumble, turn over the page, review again, then hide the sheet and try again. At night while waiting to go to sleep, "sing through" songs in your head all the way through. Sing them acapella while you are driving, all the way through. Other stuff like that. But basically: Constantly test yourself.
 

Rustbucket

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I work 60 hours a week, have kids and a wife, manage rental properties on the side. I’m not a professional musician, but sometimes play one off shows here and there. I don’t have hours of free time to practice. I honestly don’t give a damn what anyone thinks if I choose to use a lyric reminder aid in front of me. I don’t bury my head in it but I do need the occasional reminder of the first couple words of some verses and the occasional bridge chord changes.
 

Sparky2

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Let's admit this much, and on this we can all agree;

If you muff the lyrics and/or forget the lyrics, over half the paying audience is going to notice.
And they will think less of you.
And they may not come back to see your band the next time you load in to that venue.

So.
If you brainiac super-memory intellects can retain all the lyrics and chords to over a hundred songs, then I salute you.
And I admire you.
You have my undying admiration and envy.
You have a beautiful mind that I do not possess.
I require just a bit of assistance.

And,
If your band has a firm set list of probably 25 songs, and you have learned all the lyrics and chords to those same songs, with reflexive muscle memory, then I say, good on you.
Rock those same 25 songs, and rock them well.
You are in a tight groove, and you kill on those 25 songs.

And so finally, if you are like me, and can rock a lot of songs without the chord and lyric sheets, but need help on dozens and dozens of other songs that might be requested (and very much appreciated by a paying audience member),
then I have your back.
I need the music stand and my really well-rounded stack of music sheets for those golden opportunities.

I know my left and right limits, and I am comfortable that I can bring it to the audience when they ask for it, or when the other band members say, "Hey, let's do Everclear's version of Brown Eyed Girl!"

I will take ten seconds to cue up the chords and lyrics and we will brilliantly kill Everclear's version of Brown Eyed Girl.


;)
 

brookdalebill

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No it doesn't, and it's not.

Maybe where you are from it's different, but in my area the musicians who play for a living are all playing multiple types of gigs. The Tribute bands, the original band, the cover band.
When they are playing the solo restaurant and winery gig they use the iPad for lyrics.
I hadn’t considered circumstances like you mention.
Though I have played in several slick, tight, professional wedding bands, only the horn section was actively reading any charts.
I can indeed see how iPads/devices would be helpful.
My disdain for devices stems from the obviously amateur guys I see in the small bars around here.
That said, if it works, it works.
I’m (still) blessed with a good memory for the music I play.
Anyways, point well made, and duly noted, yer honor!
 
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Red Ryder

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All this stuff is good advice and mostly fair comments. One thing I will add is don't get distracted before you go on. One time at a song writers showcase a buddy of mine showed up and we spent 30 minutes trading Dylan songs. When my name was called I walked up to the mic and stood there. Forgot what songs I was going to do, couldn't think. Made my apologies, played Subterranean Homesick Blues and walked off. Made it a point to keep my mind on the business at hand.
 

39martind18

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I've used binders for better than 35 years, but over the last six months I've transferred the lyrics to around 500 songs to my Band In A Box program. Since I use the program as my backing tracks, my laptop is gonna be onstage anyway. Having the lyrics with the chords in the computer saves about 2/3 of the time between songs (no finding the song in the computer, then riffling through the binders for the lyrics). In my stage setup, the computer is on a music stand, low and to the right, so that it's not directly between me and the audience. I've found this arrangement very advantageous, especially lately, since all my shows are, with rare exception, one hour shows in which I take a number of requests. With the number of songs in my repertoire at around 500, a number of them don't get played very often, and the lyrics displayed help to refresh my memory (which ain't what it used to be at my advanced age). If this makes me "unprofessional," all I can say is that I get no complaints from my audiences.
 

surfco

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If a top level, high performance cellist or any symphony orquestra performer for that matter has a music stand for their music to perform I don't see the problem for a cover band singer to use one.
 

rand z

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All your wife had to do was close her eyes and get lost in the music. Unless, this was a performance that required a lot of interaction. I don’t know this artist.

She could do that at home and save $100 on the ticket.

You need to check out Lucinda Williams...

imo.
 

OlRedNeckHippy

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At 65 years old, I been singing in the bars for over 45 years. I've learned and forgotten hundreds of songs.

My memory ain't what it once was, but I've earned the right to use a dammed tablet if I want to.

I'm still, constantly learning new songs. It's what keeps me going.
Yea I learn the words, but having that tablet there to give me the 1st line of a verse, be sure I get the arrangement right, it's ok.
I don't stare at the darned thing, I do learn the words, but at 65, sometimes I need a little help. I need to look the crowd right in the eyes as I'm singing. It's important to me. When I see singers literally reading the words off their tablets, it takes away so much from their performance.
I will not be that guy, but I do use the tablet.

You guys that shout Learn The Dammed Words... come back when you're 65 and still giging the bars regular, let us know how it's going.

These pics are very typical, that tablet is there, reinforcement, my security blanket, but my eyes are up and I'm singing to the crowd.

Red Guitar.jpg
Eyes Up.jpg
85015376_10218974319527245_3284127862210166784_o.jpg


And, I use a capo sometimes too.
 
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Telecastoff1

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I say whatever works for you, then it's your thing. In my band, we generally work 4-hour gigs. We play ALOT of music in that four hours. We play 2 hours straight, take a 15 minute break and finish up the night, sometimes playing a little over-time, if the requests are back-logged. But, we have no music stands or devices to rely on. We zip thru one song after another....very little dead-air time, just enough time to check tuning and take a drink. Our goal is to keep that dance floor full...and we do. Nothing to slow us down.
We brought in a new musician a few months back, that hopefully would work out. He was a highly-respected Pro, with a good reputation for knowing the music we played and playing it well. He brought his Pad to the first rehearsal, and we thought nothing of it, because he was new and needed it "for now". His first gig with us included his Pad on stage. We felt uneasy about it, but didn't say anything, but it really slowed down our performances...lots of dead-air time as he was searching thru for music and lyrics. We had him work with us for six gigs and realized it just wasn't working with that damned pad on stage. It slowed everything down. No zipping thru songs one after another anymore. It created alot of tension on our stage and our crowds definitely noticed the "change" and commented on it. Needless to say it didn't work out and neither did he. Too bad, because we really were hopeful.
So, to those who need those Pads and notebooks, that's fine if it works for you. We're living without them and playing pretty steadily yet after all these years. I'm 70 years old and my band members are around the same age....and we're still learning and memorizing new material. Ya can't know every request that comes your way, but do what you know and play it well.
 
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Marc Morfei

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I have an old iPad. Literally a 1st gen iPad I picked up used a long time ago for cheap. Clips to the mic stand with a bracket. I make PDFs of each chart and copy them into the built-in iBooks app. Pull them up with a tap if/as needed. During a 4-hour gig I might refer to it 3 or 4 times. But it's there if I want to glance at it, just to be sure of something. Better that than miss a change. Wait, is it C to G, or G to C? Oops, too late....

As for lyrics, I just put down the first line of each verse. That's all you need. It's a cue card. Every song fits on 1 page, no need to scroll.
 
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