Don’t think for one minute that the whole world are using backing tracks nowadays and “live” music is dead. Not so!
If you are a professional singer, you will, from time to time, find yourself booked to sing in a venue which provides a house band (or you may be booked to do theatre work or cruise ship gigs etc). For these types of gigs you’ll need sheet music.
It can’t be denied that acts who use backing tracks (often called self-contained acts) are more popular with venues than acts who require a backing band because of cost. It makes sense that if one person with a good selection of quality backing tracks can put on as good a show and sound as good as a full band, then there’s only one person to pay so money is saved.
But, live music has a magic all of it’s own and for this reason, there are still plenty venues who provide a live band for backing.
When you come across situations like this, ideally you should have sheet music for every song you sing, so that no matter where you are booked to appear, you have the ability to be flexible and use your sheet music whenever called upon to do so. This is the real mark of a professional singer.
Using sheet music with a band is something you really need to learn how to do. It’s not a simple case of walking in to the venue, handing the sheet music to the band leader and expecting all to be well. You need to talk them through your arrangements beforehand and make sure that they are as comfortable with reading your sheet music as you are that they will play it correctly.
See my article on using sheet music for a more in-depth look at sheet music and using sheet music with a band.