While there is no lone characteristic that distinguishes a conductor’s stand from a musician’s stand, the one commonality that conductors’ stands seem to share is that they are much stronger (and very often larger) than regular music stands. Extra strength and size can be built into a stand in several different ways.
A Larger and Stronger Tray
Because conductors typically have to manage many more pages of music at once than performing musicians, it makes sense that conductors’ music stands usually have larger trays (the part of the stand that holds the music). Since musical scores come in all sizes, these larger trays can be either wider, or taller, or both. One typical size is a double-wide tray to allow for the easy folding out of score books.
These trays can also be made larger by the addition of a double shelf (the shelf is the part of the tray that keeps the sheet music from falling down to the floor). A stand with a double shelf, one being a couple of inches below the other, creates a kind of mini-compartment that is especially useful to a conductor because he can use it to store such things as batons, pencils, and other accessories without interfering with the sheet music sitting on the top shelf.
In addition, it is also common for conductors’ trays to be made from stronger or thicker materials because they will need to support more weight. A good example of this is the opera conductor’s sheet music stand. With this design, the tray is three-dimensional all the way around with raised edges. Consequently, music scores cannot slide off any edge and are much more secure. The tray of an opera stand also typically has lighting built in to the tray itself so there are no worries of an attached light accessory falling off.
Stronger and Multiple Shafts
The main support mechanism of a music stand is the shaft, which connects the tray with the base (the part touching the floor). In order to bear the greater weight of music needed by a conductor, the shaft is usually also stronger. For example, this can be accomplished by making the shaft thicker and/or made of stronger carpintería de madera materials. Other conductor’s music stand designs include stands with double shafts, sometimes including a connecting crossbar for extra strength, and stands that don’t use the standard pole-shaped shaft, but rather have rectangular-shaped shafts offering four corners of support all the way up and down.
A separate feature of the shafts on these stands is that they have much greater height adjustment, since a conductor will often be standing on a raised platform while directing. This benefit does not come with all conductors’ stands, however, and a potential buyer should be sure to check.
Bases with Greater Stability
In keeping with the same theme, the base of a conductor’s music stand is very often much stronger and more stable than that of a regular stand. One style involves the combination of a double shaft together with a connecting bar between the two bases. Another style abandons the typical three-legged base in favor of a platform design. This makes tipping the stand over almost impossible. Still other styles include using a four-legged base, or a modified three-legged base with a much lower and wider leg span. These also make tipping much less likely.
Conductor’s sheet music stand cost
Finally, as you might imagine, along with all of the extra strength and stability two consequences should be noted.
One is that a conductor’s music stand will typically weigh more than a standard musician’s stand and be potentially less easy to transport. The other consideration is that, naturally, things that are bigger and stronger are also more expensive. Without getting into the use of special materials, a general ballpark cost of a conductor’s music stand will be anywhere from about fifty percent more to double the cost of a counter-part regular sheet music stand made by the same manufacturer. (Some models do cost even more.) That might sound like quite a premium, but most conductors find the added quality and benefits well worth the cost. In fact, many performance musicians use smaller conductors’ music stands because of the greater strength and stability, as well as the added convenient features, such as a double shelf or extra wide tray.