When leaving home for a concert or gig, musicians routinely check to be sure they have instruments, music, and maybe a music stand, pencil and of course, glasses. For serious freelance flutists, however, a bag filled with some basic essentials will prepare you for almost any emergency and avoid last-minute scrambling as you go out the door.
1. Scotch tape: This is an essential that always has proven to be very useful. Of course, taping music together is the obvious use, but other purposes come to mind such as to tape that pesky hem on your pants that won’t stay put. Tape can also be used to hold music in place if you do not have clips – see #2. By the way, duct tape (best kept in the car trunk) is always useful too.
2. Clips: Music that will not stay put is always a problem. I have seen musicians use many things to solve this, but the best in my opinion are old-fashioned clothes pins that you can buy at any grocery store very cheaply. They tend to disappear, however, so make sure to have a good supply. Binder clips will also work.
3. Business cards: Keep cards handy so you do not have to root around in the bottom of your purse. This looks unprofessional, and they can quickly become dirty and beat up. Be careful about handing out your card if you are not the contractor for a gig.
4. Stand light: It is worth it to buy the battery operated lights so that you don’t have to deal with #5.
5. Extension cord: Be careful with its usage. If the cord is stretching across an area where people are walking, get permission from those in charge. You don’t want brides tripping down the aisle.
6. Quarters & dimes: If a gig is downtown, have change available to feed the parking meter. One ticket could cost you whatever you might make at the gig.
7. Small sewing kit: Pack a plastic bag with black and white thread and needle (preferably with the needle already threaded) and a small pair of scissors. Include one black and one white button.
8. Nail clippers: These can be used in place of scissors (see #7).
9. Small temperature gauge: This is helpful to monitor the temperature of outdoor gigs. Make sure the contract states the weather conditions you are willing to play in. Most musicians can stand as low as 60 degrees, but check with your colleagues beforehand.
10. Sticky note pads: These come in all sizes; I prefer the smallest. They are very useful for directing colleagues to the correct page for a lightning fast change – like from the processional music to the bridal march. Just label them bridal party, music for parents to walk to, bride’s music, etc. and put them in the appropriate places in the music.
11. Dental floss: Besides the obvious, floss is actually pretty strong and can be used in a pinch for tying things.
12. Phone numbers: Keep colleagues’ phone numbers on your cell phone, so in a last minute emergency, you might be able to dig up someone who lives nearby.
13. Tiny screwdrivers.
14. Hair scrunchies: For those with long hair, black hair scrunchies are very helpful for windy outdoor gigs.
15. Medical kit: Pack your own first aid supplies and include band-aids, headache medicine, antibiotic cream, disinfectant wipes, etc. Travel size packets work well.
16. Music stand: Keep an extra music stand in the car always.
17. Underarm deodorant: The small travel size fits nicely in the bag.
18. Bug spray and sun screen: Again look for travel sizes and preferably unscented varieties.
19. Water bottle.