In Praise Of The Humble Index Card

(Or 3 by 5 cards as they are known in the US)

In my youth I’d jot down notes on nearly anything (as I’m sure many of you do) - envelopes, magazine pages, my hand and even the dreaded cocktail napkin, which tended to easily rip and smear from condensation. But then I grew up and abandoned those ways and only use 3x5 cards.

Because They Are:

  1. Small enough to easily carry around in a pocket
  2. Thick enough to be sturdy, but not too thick
  3. Cheap when bought in bulk at your local office supply warehouse
  4. Since you bought a billion you can put small caches everywhere - bedstand, TV chair, instrument case. I’m almost never further than 10 paces from a card and usually much closer (put a pen there too)
  5. One side is blank - great for sketching out a signal flow or other drawing
  6. One side is lined - lyric bits for sure, but draw in a few bar lines & you’ve got music notation too
  7. They are all the same size (unlike envelopes and napkins), so easy to sort through & organize - they even make little boxes just the right size to hold them - big ones too
1 Like

I write a lot of notes on scraps of paper, and they end up in a pile, and I forget why I took the notes. I keep a list of to-do items in Windows Sticky Notes, and I usually ignore them. I’ve used index cards for speeches (here in the US index cards and 3x5 are the same). I don’t make speeches anymore. If I get a musical idea, I usually fire up Cubase, although rarely, I’ll scribble staff lines on any paper within reach. Maybe I should mention that I know how to write in cursive script, but I never do it.

I used to carry around a music notebook to capture ideas, but I didn’t usually have ideas on the move. But I’ve seen that others sing into their phones.

I think I used to know how to do that