At my university, we carry around sheet music in black folders in backpacks. I imagine this practice is not the same among professional musicians, such as those in an orchestra or a big band. How do professional musicians normally carry around music?

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    How else would you carry it? Aug 3, 2015 at 3:01
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    I only carry my music (written on parchment paper) in an elk-leather satchel that is twice daily flown to me by my falcon. If you're asking why my falcon doesn't just carry my music, my answer is that I wouldn't be able to carry it in my elk-leather satchel. Aug 3, 2015 at 3:27
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    My most recent experience was that I was sent a pdf as an email attachment, I sent it to my printer, and then I put the loose sheets in my case for the first rehearsal. For the next rehearsal, I had the sheets in a 1/2 " black 3-ring binder, where I had done a little bit of scotch taping to deal with some awkward page turns. I carried the binder in one hand and the instrument with the other into the venue. Aug 3, 2015 at 5:09
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    I tend to commit it to memory. Then all I need to remember is my head...
    – Tim
    Aug 3, 2015 at 12:42

2 Answers 2


In the big band, a flight case holds all of the orchs, which get set up by the band leader or one of his minions, on the music stands on the bandstand/stage. That way, no-one ever forgets their music, or brings the wrong folder, and the dots never get lost.

For personal use, there is a special sort of leather case, which has a metal bar to close it over. Never found why it was designed like this, but musos still occasionally use one. 50 or so yrs ago, most musos would use one.

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    Do most big band ensembles do this, in your experience?
    – Bob
    Aug 3, 2015 at 12:57
  • @Anthony - most of those I've worked with, yes. A set of orchs for one piece may consist of 18 separate parts, quite expensive to buy, earlier stuff irreplaceable, and losing just one part is inconvenient at the least. So it's a safe, tried and tested method. Till someone steals the vehicle that they get left in - as happened - then it's catastrophic!
    – Tim
    Aug 3, 2015 at 13:03

It is very typical for musicians to have a folder or binder for whatever sheet music they are using. It is also not uncommon nowadays to see musicians using and iPad or a tablet to store digital copies of their sheet music and using it in place of a binder or folder.

  • Yes, all the bands I play in use ring binders. In the brass band where we sometimes play in tents or outside the separate sheets are all in plastic covers, the kind with holes so they go in ring binders. This is of course a pain to get organised the first time, but it's worth it if you have a lot of gigs. In the Big Band we use the big binders exactly the same, but for a gig we'll take the sheets out and organise them in the right order in a little binder. I like to keep using the plastic covers, so they don't fly away, but some people won't. Have some clothes pegs handy to keep them fixed!
    – RedSonja
    Dec 8, 2015 at 7:23

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