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Piccolo Stands

Cynthia Ellis | March 2009

    By our very nature, piccolo players are considered doublers; we are expected to play flute on most concerts as well. Because of this, there should be an array of options for safe piccolo parking when switching back and forth between the two instruments.  Of course the instrument not in use can  be placed in your lap. I actually prefer to do that for short periods of time or for very quick instrument changes, but leaving an instrument there for long periods of time is not very comfortable, and I have heard of piccolos sliding to the floor.
    An instrument should never be left on the floor, on the seat of a chair, or on the bottom shelf of a music stand.  All three of these spots are courting disaster. As any experienced repairperson will tell you, many piccolos have ended up with major damage because they were stepped on, sat upon, or dropped from the music stand itself when the stand tilted. 
    There are numerous options for safe, convenient storage when playing. My personal preference is an instrument tray. 
These small trays attach to the stalk of the music stand with a clamp and provide a very stable surface for the piccolo. I can even place two instruments side by side with plenty of room to spare.  You can purchase trays like this for around $50.  The tray shown above is designed by RAT Stands.
    Doubling tables are small low tables that are placed in front or to the side of a player, so that instruments can be placed upon them for easy access. They are handy, but not very practical to transport. I have used these in some European halls but find that they take up a lot of floor space. This can be troublesome in close quarters, such as orchestra pits or churches.
    The product known as the Flute Saver is very innovative in design. It works for either flute or piccolo and attaches at the bottom of the typical metal music stand.  A Velcro strap secures the wood block to the metal stand.  Only one instrument at a time will fit on the stand. This particular peg style is extremely lightweight, portable, and takes up no floor space at all. Because it is not independent of the music stand, it is much less likely to be kicked or knocked over accidentally.  The Flute Saver costs around $40. 
    There are numerous kinds of flute and piccolo pegs that also offer portable solutions for instrument safety. Manufactured in various materials, they are available in acrylic, wood, metal, or a combination of materials, such as a metal base with wooden pegs, for example. Stands are offered as combinations, holding both a flute and piccolo. Some even expand to hold an alto and bass flute as well, with single pegs for each instrument.
    It is important that any instrument peg sits upon a stable base to prevent an imbalance and accidental tipping of the stand. If portability is your main concern, look for some of the collapsible peg styles. K&M makes a stand that is no bigger than the palm of your hand when completely folded up. The base just telescopes into the body for storage. These piccolo stands sell for around $20. Many manufactures make bases of varying sizes with optional pegs, so you can buy specific pegs to match your needs.
Clarinetist Herb Blayman created a line of instruments stands while he was working in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. The bases for the stands  are the starting point, because they come in various sizes – for 1-2 instruments, 3 instruments, or 4 instruments in a price range from $45-$70. They are known for their stability, largely due to their weight. Pegs, which screw into the base and are coated with rubber to protect the bore of the instruments, are sold separately.
    The peg shown below is another style by K & M, which is very stable and portable. Its metal base folds up for easy storage and is quite lightweight due to its slender size. The pegs are made of wood and screw into the base.
    Most two piece base/peg combinations run in the neighborhood of $40-$50, regardless of the material from which they are made.  Other manufacturers of similar stands include Hercules, Belmonte, Manhasset, Aracadia, Jewel, and  Kohlert.
    These are some of the many options to keep your piccolo safe during each and every performance!