Choosing a music stand is one of those things that may appear easier than it is. How complicated can a stand for your sheet music really be? While not overly complicated, there are things that we need to consider before we make a purchase to ensure we end up buying the best portable music stands for our needs. This article is focusing on the folding style of portable stand which you can take with you wherever you go.
Music stands are helpful for musicians of all different types. It is standard practice to use a music stand when you are a classical musician, or you play instruments such as violins or flutes, but these stands can be useful for all sorts of players. Guitarists may even wish to use them for their tab or chord books, singers can use them for lyrics.
Portable Stand Reviews
Peak Music Stands SMS Range
The SMS Range of stands has four different models, all of different sizes. These are named the SMS-20, SMS-30, SMS-40 and SMS-50. They are brilliantly constructed and made of a strong tubular metal. Each of the SMS stands is totally collapsible and based on a sturdy ‘tripod’ style design. The folding desk means it is a very small size when collapsed, and easily fits into a carry bag, which even comes included when you buy the stand.
In spite of being available in four sizes, each of these is also adjustable to an extent so you can perfect the height to your own needs. This is done with a ‘quick clamp’ system, and doesn’t require any awkward fiddling around.
It weighs in at just four pounds, so doesn’t add a big load to the equipment you have to carry. The fact that it comes with a bag is a huge plus point, and lots of the reviews online have been extremely favorable. This isn’t the cheapest music stand we’ve seen, but it does have a lot to offer when it comes to sturdiness and stability.
Crafty Gizmos Black Adjustable Folding Music Stand with Carrying Bag
This is one of the most highly reviewed products online when it comes to music stands, and it is easy to see why. Not only does the Crafty Gizmos stand fit the bill in terms of being sturdy and adjustable, the price at which it is available is impressive.
An easy to adjust knob controls the angle of the stand so you can get the perfect reading position. The height of the stand is adjustable in three different places so it covers a huge range of heights.
This stand is very small and lightweight and easily folds into its own waterproof case. In spite of being small, though, it is still cleverly designed to keep it pretty sturdy on the stage. Hence a huge amount of five-star reviews online, which compliment the value-for-money Crafty Gizmos have created with their folding stand. Perfect for beginners, but great for any player who needs to take their instrument and sheet music out and about.
Crafty Gizmos Deluxe Adjustable Folding Music Stand with Carrying Bag
It really says something about this brand that we want to recommend both the original and deluxe models of this product. The Deluxe costs a fair bit more than its smaller sibling, but has some additional features including:
- Easier squeeze handle for adjusting height.
- A design that can even adjust to uneven surfaces.
- Extremely sturdy design that can hold even the thicker music books available.
- Upgraded, more hard-wearing bag than the original Crafty Gizmos stand.
Another product with generally very good reviews. This is definitely an upgrade on most of the other stands on the market, and offers a crazy amount of stability whilst retaining its light weight and flexibility. If you can afford to spend a little extra, the Crafty Gizmos deluxe is worth a look.
Why Go Portable?
When we think of music stands we often think of archaic, wooden structures that look like they would fit in well at a big concert hall. These kinds of structures are great if you are fitting them into venues where they never need to be moved, but realistically that isn’t how modern music operates. You need your equipment to be able to come with you whether you are a violinist or a guitarist. The improvement in technology and build-quality in recent decades also means that you don’t have to sacrifice quality just because you are looking for something portable. Many of the best folding music stands are actually very hard-wearing and sturdy whilst still being lightweight and small enough to take with you to gigs and practices.
What We’re Looking For
The criteria are relatively simple, but we’ve judged our list of portable sheet music stands on a few important factors which are needed for a reliable stand.
Durability is absolutely essential, you’re buying a music stand to be reliable and last a long time, and not to break in the middle of a performance and leave you with egg on your face. There are lots of very durable, hard-wearing products on the market which aren’t likely to break.
Depth. If you need a lot of books and sheet music to be stored for one performance, you will need a deeper stand with capacity for this. It may not be a problem for beginners, but for a pro gearing up for a long performance you may want to look into the dimensions of the stand.
Weight. As we’re focusing on the portable products out there, weight is a big consideration. Musicians usually have enough equipment to lug around, and every lb added to the load for a gig is worth thinking about. Luckily, there are some great stands out there which are so lightweight that even a child could use them.
Adjustable. We’ve also looked at the best adjustable music stands as people come in all shapes and sizes, and different instruments require different positions for playing. As such, a stand which you can adjust the size of to suit your needs is a huge bonus and is pretty much essential for most instrumentalists.
Easy to Use. Ease of putting the stand up and taking it down again is another big consideration. Messing around with joints, buttons and levers just to get your music stand to where you want it can quickly become a pain. Quick and easy is the golden ticket, just like in the video below where violinist Zlata Brouwer walks you through folding and building your stand.
Tilt. Being able to tilt to the perfect reading position is hugely helpful, and a feature most stands should have.
Stability. There’s nothing worse than trying to read from a wobbly stand. A good quality stand needs to be made in a way where it will stay in position even if knocked slightly on stage. Imagine trying to read from sheet music that is constantly moving in front of your eyes.