On Which Paper Is It Best To Print Your Music?

Has this ever happened to you?

  • You have a quick page turn in your concert and the next two pages are stuck together.
  • Under the existing light, you suddenly realize that the notes on the reverse side of your music are showing through.
  • As you quickly turn your page, the sheet gets stuck on the stand and tears in two.
  • While erasing your previous pencil markings from your music, you gouge a hole where your notes used to be.

These are very common situations and I have finally found the solution to these as well as many other problems caused by inferior paper- Staples Color Laser & Color Copier Paper.

My trumpet ensemble, the Branson Trumpet Ensemble has a very extensive library and last year I decided that the paper our charts were printed on was not holding up through average use. Each member of the ensemble has a three ring binder for their music and after a few concerts the pages were beginning to tear out which increased my library maintenance time. I finally found a paper which would last, was easy on the eye, took erasures well and even felt more professional to work with. We are now using this paper for all of our music and have found no faults with the product.

You can find this paper in most Staples stores and it is called “Staples Color Laser & Color Copier Paper”. The numbers you will have to look for are “*96 Bright, 32lbs, letter size, 500 sheets, acid free, item #633213”. If your local Staples store does not have it on the shelf, they would be happy to order it for you.

Advantages for using this paper-

  • It feels like real paper. Every time you turn a page of conventional, light weight  copy paper, you have the feeling that this is cheap and in many cases, you realize that the music you are performing isn’t the original but is a third generation of the original: which you are using illegally.
  • Because of the thickness and weight, the pages turn easily and there are no worries that you will tear the page as you perform.
  • You will not erase through this material no matter how many times you mark your part incorrectly.
  • The brightness of the paper makes the notes stand out for easy reading under all lighting conditions.
  • This paper is more porous and consequently less reflective than normal copy paper which is easier on your eyes.
  • Because it is more porous, the ink soaks deeper into the paper for longer life because of the deeper penetration.
  • Connecting pages together is much easier because of the added weight of each page.
  • The heavier paper handles dirt, oil, water, coffee, etc. better than normal copy paper.
  • Due to the longer lasting character of the heavier paper, your page will last much longer and will never have to be recopied as we sometimes have to do with lighter paper.

Here are a few suggestions when working with this paper-

  • This paper can be used in any printer without problems.
  • If you are storing your music loose in a folder you might consider switching to a three ring binder.
  • Each page can be punched for a ringed binder for easy storage.
  • You never run the risk of your music spilling out as you rush to get on a bus.
  • In a binder, the music is protected at all times.
  • Once you get to the concert, remove all of the music you are to perform.
  • Connecting multiple pages is easy and even several pages taped together can be stored easily in the binder.

Taping and punching suggestions-

Until I purchase a printer that can print on extended paper, I have to use single, letter size sheets which in some cases requires taping sheets together. The best way I have found is to connect sheets together is to use Scotch, one inch masking tape. The one inch is too wide for most of my taping chores but after buying the one inch, I run a razor blade along the middle of the roll and alternate sides of the roll as I peel it off. Boy, am I cheap!

I have found that three short sections of tape work much better than two full length sections of tape. I butt the pages together and place about two inches of tape in the middle of the. Then I flip the music over and place two similar sections of tape on the back side, one towards the top and the second towards the bottom. Do not place the tape from the front in line with the tapes from the back for that will cause a bind when you fold the pages.

After you have taped the sheets together, place them on a punch and add the required holes for your binder. Storing even six pages of taped music in your binder is easy and once you have removed them from your binder for your performance, they will open and close just like commercial sheet music.

The Branson Trumpet Ensemble has been using this paper for two years now and everyone has been very happy with its characteristics. I hope you will try it and achieve the same results.

Bruce was a member of the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, School of Music in Cedar Falls from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He has performed with many well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson.

3 thoughts on “On Which Paper Is It Best To Print Your Music?

  1. Edward B. Lee

    When you learn something about paper, tell me. All untreated paper is porous. What you are trying to describe are the differences between hot pressed paper and cold pressed paper also known as plate and vellum finishes. The hot press paper produces the sharpest image.

    Music sticking together … the remedy … avoid laser printing. On a hot summer day, laser images melt.

    Staples paper … just a house brand manufactured by others.

    Absolutely, 32 pound paper is more durable than 20 pound … thicker and NOT usable in many low end printers.

    Ease in turning pages, punch with a 3/8″ punch, not 1/4″, and use only D ring notebooks.

    Pencil markings erasures … toss those red (latex rubber) erasers in the waste basket and use white vinyl plastic, such as Eberhard Faber “Magic Rub” or dozens of other recognized brand (Staples markets Staedtler as is A-OK). Yeah, those red latex rubber erasers in your trumpet case and you wonder why your silver plated instrument tarnishes so fast … the eraser is the culprit.


  2. ConnieOI

    Your suggestion about how to tape pages together is inspired! Thanks.

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