Most artists you see using one have not only performed songs thousands of times, but they actually wrote the song in the first place. Believe it or not, the stage is a serious multi-tasking zone. Play live music one time in front of an audience, and you’ll understand. There are many reasons why singers use a teleprompter on stage.
As great as iPads are, there are a few problems with using an iPad or tablet to read lyrics on stage.
First, the size of the screen on a tablet is small. Therefore, for the artist to be able to see it, the device must be about 2 feet away from their eyes. This location puts it right between the performer and the crowd and can get in the way of a connection with the audience. Some artists don't mind this, and the same goes for certain audiences, but live music is about connecting. There's a reason why people prefer a live band over recorded music played by a DJ. They want to be a part of the experience and they want the artist looking at them.
The second reason why iPads aren’t good for reading lyrics is that they are multi-use devices.
I love my iPad, I use it for playing music, shopping online, and watching Netflix. However, have you ever been binge watching a show, when suddenly, the show is interrupted by a balloon pop up for a text message, weather alert or low battery?
Imagine being in front of a packed audience, halfway through the third verse of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” when your “teleprompter” asks you if you’d like to answer a FaceTime call from your mother. Before you know it, you’re trying to hit the “can I call you back” button with your right hand while holding an F#m with your left. Try keeping your “guitar face” during that routine.
Finally, the biggest problem with reading lyrics, is just that, reading. There are some great iPad apps for the live stage. Some will let you control your mixer volume while others will run backing tracks.
The problem is that moving lyrics keep the artist “tethered” to the device, so it looks like they’re reading. No matter how hard they try, or how tinted their sunglasses might be, they still look like they’re reading. Even artists who don’t need help with a lyric will find themselves fixated on the moving words as they roll past.
Reading also requires a cadence of some type, meaning the lyrics must move at the same pace as the live band. Most bands rehearse enough to know what this pace is, but sometimes things change. The lead guitarist may want to extend a solo, or a chorus could get repeated. When this happens, the lyrics on the iPad won't be in the right spot for the singer to use. Now what?
What's the Alternative to Using an iPad?
Many bands look for ways to differentiate themselves. There is a lot of competition for parties, events and shows these days, so any advantage that a band can have to stand out against their peers matters. A great way to do this is to not have an iPad or tablet on stage. It also could lead to higher paying gigs, as it looks more professional.
So, what is the best way to have a teleprompter on stage but not have the issues of using an iPad?
The Stageprompter brand of products by Staffords on Stage has been the preferred lyrics monitor for vocalists for over a decade. Many of the world’s biggest bands use a Stageprompter, without fans taking notice.
The Stageprompter Wedge03 is a self-contained, user-operated teleprompter that looks just like a wedge monitor so it’s covert to the audience. It has a 22-inch screen that is large enough to display all the lyrics to most songs, so no scrolling is required.
Artists can move freely about the stage, using their Stageprompter only when needed. Most artists have performed their songs hundreds of times, so they know the words. They just need help sometimes remembering how the second verse starts.
Also, for those artists who would like to make their own wedge teleprompter, check out the Stageprompter Controller05. It's a stable and reliable way to drive lyric images to a homemade monitor, or multiple screens.
Most importantly, all Stageprompters contains a proprietary controller inside that will not be interrupted by anything, not even mom.
Since 2008, Staffords on Stage, a Cambridge, UK based technology company has been designing and manufacturing covert lyric-prompting solutions. They provide a complete range of solutions and accessories including flight cases and other complimentary products. With manufacturing, service and support in both the UK and the USA, Staffords On Stage and the Stageprompter brand of products have everything you need to outfit your stage, corporate event or house of worship.
If you would like more information about the Stageprompter or Staffords on Stage, please contact us at:
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