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geoff1954

Reading music: what glasses?

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Hi. This is a problem which seems to afflict many older musicians. It is hard to read music on the stand especially when sharing a stand in an orchestra, because the distance is too far for 'reading glasses' to help. In my case I stopped playing in my local orchestra because I found it frustrating that I could could play the music perfectly well, but not if I couldn't see it! I've spoken to others of 'mature age' and it seems to be a common problem. I play the cello where the stand has to be a reasonable distance away. 

One solution is for each player to have his/her own music and stand, so that the distance will be shorter. But this is contrary to the culture in string sections and, of course, makes page-turning a problem.  Any other suggestions? Someone told me about 'intermediate distance' glasses: does anyone out there have experience of these? Thanks.

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During my last eye exam I requested a single vision  prescription for the distance to my music stand (~30" in my case). I sent this prescription to Zenni.com and bought a dedicated pair of glasses that I use only for playing. The modified prescription cost me nothing extra since the focal length is calculated based on the normal (bifocal in my case) prescription.

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3 hours ago, geoff1954 said:

Hi. This is a problem which seems to afflict many older musicians. It is hard to read music on the stand especially when sharing a stand in an orchestra, because the distance is too far for 'reading glasses' to help. In my case I stopped playing in my local orchestra because I found it frustrating that I could could play the music perfectly well, but not if I couldn't see it! I've spoken to others of 'mature age' and it seems to be a common problem. I play the cello where the stand has to be a reasonable distance away. 

One solution is for each player to have his/her own music and stand, so that the distance will be shorter. But this is contrary to the culture in string sections and, of course, makes page-turning a problem.  Any other suggestions? Someone told me about 'intermediate distance' glasses: does anyone out there have experience of these? Thanks.

I'm in the same boat. Been experimenting for years.

I don't like the "intermediate" or "office" glasses.

Think, next time, I am going to try single vision glasses at stand distance and just hope I can still see enough of the conductor to catch the downbeat...

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53 minutes ago, Rue said:

I'm in the same boat. Been experimenting for years.

I don't like the "intermediate" or "office" glasses.

Think, next time, I am going to try single vision glasses at stand distance and just hope I can still see enough of the conductor to catch the downbeat...

Best not look at the conductor, it will put you off.

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For years I have had my optometrist make a special measurement of my vision at one meter for reading music (it is a distance that works for me for both violin/viola and for cello). After my 2nd cataract surgery I used the 0ne-meter prescription AND that for closer reading to define a pair of progressive lenses that I ordered (in a frame, of course) from ZENNI - so now I can read the music AND the measure numbers.

If you do not have serious astigmatism you might be able to use drug-store (or Amazon) readers, but they are often more expensive than single-vision ZENNIs.

Also, for some years I found progressive readers at Amazon that allowed for  reading music, computer work and reading books or Kindles.

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I can read music on the stand using my progressive lenses, provided the stand is straight in front of me.  That makes it difficult to share a stand but, so far, I've been able to work out an arrangement that, while not perfect, is doable.  In our orchestra one can have a stand to oneself but that means you have to sit at the back of the section.  I like Andrew's solution.  I can see the conductor well enough using the "wrong" glasses so I think I will try Andrew's approach after my next eye exam.

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I read music using progressives and a good stand  light or an iPad. I don't especially like the progressives and am thinking of having an intermediate pair made specifically for music.

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About 15 years ago I started using a separate stand from my stand partner. Cataracts began to affect my vision and at some point I needed to enlarge my sheet music to see it well enough. Parts up to 13 or 14 inches tall could make it difficult to watch an erratic conductor. By careful cut-and-paste of my parts I could avoid tough page turns.

For the past 8 years I've been playing in a chamber orchestra of experienced older people (although only a very few are older than I am) and we all play off our own stands. I find that for some music using tri-fold instead of bi-fold music can avoid some bad page turns - and if all else fails I use my cut-and-paste approach. If that fails, I just bite the bullet like everyone else. At least surgery solved the problem of having to enlarge my music. We play without a conductor - so that problem is solved. Surgeries solved my cataract problem 4 and 8 years ago and battery-powered stand-lights provide a clue to who is having problems now.

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8 minutes ago, Shunyata said:

I too went to my optometrist and got a prescription for music stand distance.  The improvement is wonderful!  

Single vision I presume?  Congrats!  Being able to see without constantly micromanaging one's head, shoulders and body, is a wonderful thing.

I'm due for new glasses in October...I can hardly wait, lol.

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3 hours ago, Rue said:

Single vision I presume?  Congrats!  Being able to see without constantly micromanaging one's head, shoulders and body, is a wonderful thing.

I'm due for new glasses in October...I can hardly wait, lol.

Yes, single distance.  I am near sighted and my regular glasses worked great at 6 feet, naked eyesight worked great at 1 foot, but the music stand distance was impossible.  (Drugstore readers will not work for this if you are nearsighted, it is the opposite of the prescription you need.)  IMPORTANT: Give your optometrist the exact distance to your music stand! They tune the prescription to give you laser sharp focus at a very precise distance.

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On 8/3/2019 at 7:39 AM, Bob2 said:

During my last eye exam I requested a single vision  prescription for the distance to my music stand (~30" in my case). I sent this prescription to Zenni.com and bought a dedicated pair of glasses that I use only for playing. The modified prescription cost me nothing extra since the focal length is calculated based on the normal (bifocal in my case) prescription.

After I read this I got the DoD to write me up a prescription for 30" and I sent it to Zenni to put in a $6.97 frame.  Curious to see how it goes.  Price was right at least.

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