How to make a Music Workbook
As soon as I decide to study a piece of music, I create a Music Workbook of the music I am about to learn. I've developed this procedure myself over time. This takes some patience and effort - I'd much rather just dive right in and start playing right from the original music, but there are big benefits to creating this Workbook. My reasons for doing this are:
I do not like to work from the original published score, as it is often in a thick book, bound with other pieces, and the pages have a tendency to want to close or for pages to flip by themselves;
I do not like to make marks and notes on the original, and when I study a piece, I make extensive notes (fingerings, performance notes, reminders, etc.) .
When I travel with music to gigs or elsewhere, I do not like to carry large anthologies - I only carry what I am going to play, to save schlepping of unneeded books, and wear and tear on my valuable original music books;
I like the music to lay flat. Music books do not, as a rule, lay flat on a music stand;
I like to be able to read a whole piece through with a minimum of page turns. Music books rarely take this into account in their lay-outs.
Unmounted, individual photocopies quickly get out of order, lost, and easily damaged;
If you lose your original, or spill coffee on it, you are screwed. But this Workbook can be made from the original again and again. You will lose your notations and performance notes, of course (unless you scan it after it is annotated);
A final benefit, is that during this procedure I scan the music into digital format, and thus I have a library of most of the music I've studied, as .pdf documents in my computer.
Please be aware that scanning and photocopying of protected books and music may not be allowed. I don't really know - and I am not advising you to break any laws. Please consult with your lawyer, the county district attorney, or the divinity and/or Supreme Being of your choice before scanning or photocopying any copyright protected material!
Now that that is out of the way, here is how I create a Music Workbook. If done right, this book will last a long time, and stand up to wear and tear - even better, in fact, than the original publication, and certainly better than unmounted printer paper or photocopy paper. It will lay flat on your music stand, will fit into your gig bag with many other Workbooks, and will allow you to perform a piece from the music without any page turning.
For this demonstration, I have chosen Bach's 2nd Lute Suite, BWV 997. At 15 pages, it is fairly lengthy, making the construction project much more difficult than a 2 or 3 page piece. Shorter Workbooks can be made using the same methods though. Since I am about to study this suite anyway, I chose this piece for the workbook demonstration.
To make the Music Workbook, you will need the following common materials:
a supply of good bond copy paper, for your computer printer;
a supply of heavier card stock, such as 110 lb Hammermill CopyPlus Card stock;
Scotch Tape (the permanent kind, not the kind that can be easily removed);
Heavy permanent masking tape;
a paper trimmer;
a good flat working surface (a large piece of heavy cardboard will do);
an ordinary pair of scissors (but do not RUN with them!!!).
To start, you must scan or photocopy the pages that you will be using for the Workbook. Adobe Acrobat is excellent for scanning documents into PDF digital format. Once you have the music scanned and printed, or photocopied, you are ready to make it into the Workbook.
Take each page and individually trim it, on each side. The exact size you trim it to, is not that important. Just leave a bit of room all around the staves. You must trim both the LENGTH and the WIDTH of the page. It's a good idea to leave the page number though. That makes ordering the pages foolproof , in case the pages get mixed up.
PLANNING THE LAY-OUT:
It is desirable to have a lay-out that will allow reading the piece through with no page turning. If it is a long piece, of more than 4 pages, it may not be possible, but most guitar works are 4 or less pages.
The first piece of the Suite is the Prelude - and it is 4 pages long. I've trimmed off the Fugue - which starts halfway down the 4th page, to be used later. I've laid out the pages on my work surface.
MOUNTING THE PAGES:
Now I'm going to mount the sheets on the card stock. Because of the lay-out, I must trim a bit off the width (not the length) of 3 of the pieces of card stock. You don't have to trim much - 1/4" is plenty. This is so the pages of the Workbook can fold up into each other, as will be seen.
I take the first page of the Prelude, and center it on the full-size piece of card stock. I use the Scotch tape to fasten it. I use 6 pieces - 1 in each corner, and 1 on each of the long edges. Now I take the remaining 3 pages of the Prelude and fasten them to the card stock that has been slightly trimmed in width.
BINDING THE PAGES:
I now take the last 2 pages of the Prelude and butt them edge to edge.
I then take a piece of the heavy masking tape - a little longer than the length of the card stock, and tape the 2 pieces of card stock together as shown.
You don't have to be exact on how much tape overlaps each piece of card stock, as long as some does overlap each piece. I hold each end of the tape and slowly lower it down until I can just see the butt-ends of the stock through it - then I press it down.
Now I do the same on pages 1 and 2, until the 4 pages are taped end to end.
Now I fold the pages along the tape joint - each page should fit because of the clearance you created by trimming a bit of width off the card stock on all but the first page.
Now I trim off the excess masking tape with the scissors. I'll label the front "cover" of the workbook (actually the back side of the card stock of page 1).
Here is the Workbook so far - as you can see, it closes up flat, to the size of a single sheet of card stock, and opens fully, so all the pages can be seen at once. Actually, my music stand is just barely wide enough to accommodate it.
Now that the Prelude is done, I make the rest of the book in similar fashion. The only trick is getting the inside pages - make sure you remember to trim a bit off the WIDTH so they have clearance to fold into the Workbook.
FINISHING IT OFF:
The last step is putting several pieces of masking tape on the outside of the spine to make a binding. I tape down a piece close to the back, and then bend it around. I bend several layers around the back, and trim off the ends.
And my Workbook is DONE!
Now I'm ready to start the hard part - learning this music.
As I said, if you can make a 15 page Workbook, a 3 pager is a piece of cake!
I hope you find this to be clear and useful. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I'll do my best to answer them.
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