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Lilylynne

Do I take the gig or not?

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My friend's friend needs a violinist for her son's wedding. My friend recommended me to her. Here is the problem, I don't do wedding gigs. I've only played at one person's wedding and the church director made the experience a nightmare. The playing was fine, but the church director was horrible. Anyway, my friend was trying to convince me to do it. I'm really reluctant to do weddings because as one cellist from my orchestra said, she doesn't rehearse with her group, they just sightread the music at the wedding. I guess that is fine, but I don't think this cellist plays with a set group of people. I'm the "likes to rehearse everything" type, so I guess I stay away from weddings because it seems to be more of sightreading performance gig. I do more solo work and orchestra work, because there is usually set rehearsal time for that.

Anyway, I decided to give this a try. I called up the woman and asked where, when, what type of ensemble and music they wanted. I didn't get set answers as they don't know the details yet, but they were thinking of a cellist and a violinist. They will be calling me back. I normally work with a pianist. I guess I could find a cellist to work with if they really want it. Originally they just wanted a violinist. Okay, so as the musician: Do you give them what they want? OR Do you suggest what may work better?

Here are some other questions I have: Is there a flat rate or is it depending on how much music they need? How much should I charge them for two people playing? Do I have to give them a sampling of the music beforehand? I've seen some collections of wedding music for violin and piano, but have found less for cello and violin. Does anyone have a suggestion of good arrangements of wedding music for either violin and cello or violin and piano? Should I be upfront about the fact that I don't normally play weddings or should I just not mention that because it will make them think that they aren't hiring someone good? I'm trying not to look too green, so any advice is appreciated. Thanks! :)

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How did the church director make the other gig a nightmare? I almost always refuse wedding jobs as well. People are just too wound up for weddings. The couple that I did came out fine, but I did them for friends and I refused to charge anything.

Dwight

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If they want a violinist and a cellist it's better to try and give them what they want - there can be extra-musical reasons why they want a cellist eg. they think it will look good in photos etc. so don't just turn up with a pianist if they are expecting a cellist; if you propose an alternative instrumentation to what they have in mind, better to discuss it thoroughly first to make sure it's going to be acceptable. Reminds me of one wedding gig where we played very little during the scheduled time as the cellist had been hauled away for an extended photo session in a garden.

There's no need to mention that you don't usually play for weddings, but maybe a good idea to discuss if they are expecting any specific style of repertoire.

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I guess a lot of the answer depends on whether or not you want to do this as a piece of your income, on a regular basis. If you do, you'd want to set up a process where the fees and the music are set in advance; you might design a webpage or a handout with this information.

I'm freelance and do a lot of these kinds of gigs; someone asked me, in fact, to set up a page with information about how to manage weddings. I love playing weddings and playing in church, and have always done a lot of it. As long as you play well, I wouldn't mention that you haven't done it often.

We normally do it, string quartet. The players come and go, but we use the Latham editions of wedding music, and they're very easy to read. We do at least one rehearsal, however, and it's not negotiable.

There is a short list of Violin/Cello works here:

http://beststudentviolins.com/lit.html#vlvc

and the quartet wedding books that we use are here:

http://beststudentviolins.com/sheetmusic.html#wedding

The Latham quartet books work very well for gigs, if all the players play well and read well, and playing these parts is not stressful. They also frequently work just fine, if you only use two violins, or violin and cello. There is a long list of them here:

http://beststudentviolins.com/sheetmusic.html#stringquartet

For weddings, I would recommend the Latham version of the Brandenberg, the Vivaldi, the Handel. Not Latham eds., but the Mozart Divertimenti and Elgar are very nice, especially for the reception afterwards.

In terms of payment, I would visit with other working musicians in your area and see if you can get a copy of their contract and brochure, if they have one.

Good luck, and PM me privately if I can be of any help.

Connie

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The Latham Wedding albums for violin & piano OR for cello and piano work just fine for the solo instrument on many of the baroque-era pieces.

Last Resort Music has many of the same pieces in their collection of 2 (+ the Christmas one) albums of violin/cello duets. I've played them and they work just fine.

One can often just fine by having the players read a couple of lines off the piano part from any source.

My rehearsals to do weddings and other "low risk gigs" consist of getting together with the other player(s) and picking the music and running through it once to get time estimates and decide whether to and where to repeat. Sometimes we will fill in by sight reading pieces that we had not selected to play but are there in front of us (in the books).

Hardly anyone is paying attention to the music except for that played during the ceremony itself.

I usually charge $100 each to do a wedding that will take me less than an hour and that is close to my home. If I had to travel to get there, I would add about $30 - $50 per hour estimated to get there (depending on how likely it is to he congested and take longer). Thoughtful clients will tip you too (maybe 20%) - don't refuse it!

Andy

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In terms of fees, it depends on where it is. In Texas we get $500, which includes the service and an hour at the reception. But fees go up with cost of living increases in bigger cities: Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas, Austin, Houston. You have to determine what other quartets charge and set your rates accordingly.

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Thanks for all the info. I'm just trying to get my feet wet with this gig. I don't know yet if I want to do wedding gigs on a regular basis. I don't work with a regular quartet, so I think I'm at a disadvantage there. Also, occasionally when I have to play a gig in which the client requests a particular grouping of instruments, I contact many acquaintances who sometimes want to get friends of theirs in on the gig as well. So, what started out as my gig ends up being taken over by other musicians. It turns into too many cooks in the kitchen ruining the stew. So I rather just play with a pianist. Of course I would make sure that's okay with the clients.

In my first wedding gig, it was the church's musical director (not church director as I previously stated) that gave us a hard time. I wasn't even in charge of that gig. I was just playing 2nd violin for my friend's wedding. The music director came over to us and said that she would take Panis Angelicus in B-flat as if she was ordering food off a menu. Well we weren't aware that we would be accompanying her and had planned on playing it as a string quartet which is what the bride asked us for. The cellist (who was in charge of this gig) informed her that we had Panis Angelicus in G and that the bride had asked us to play it. Well that sent woman into a tizzy and she replied: "This is my turf and I run the show here. We do things my way. I've spoken to the bride and this what she wants." Well anyway, the cellist replied that she had also spoken and met with the bride and that we were all very close friends with her. We ended up letting her sing Panis Angelicus with organ accompaniment. And then throughout the ceremony she kept telling the cellist that we really should learn that piece to add to our wedding repetoire. :)

I'm also concerned with the having musical requests thrown at me last minute. Sometimes people deviate from the original requests and all of a sudden you're asked to play such and such. What if when your playing at the gig, all of a sudden you are asked to play something that isn't included in the music you have on hand? How do you handle that?

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I'm sure MingLoo, has a link to her website to answer any question and the solution that will be available for purchase on beststudentviolins.com. :)

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I'm sure MingLoo, has a link to her website to answer any question and the solution that will be available for purchase on beststudentviolins.com. :)

Okay; you win. I'll stop.

I mean, everyone is so NICE to me..

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I didn't see anything commercial in m-l's reply. Let's not start up a debate that takes away the point of the original poster's question.

I normally don't have an issue with your well reasoned replies, but I do with this one. If you really are following and monitoring all the threads, you would have an issue with MingLoo's reply. Also consider her backing down in other threads that she used, or tried to use, to promote her website. Also consider all the messages that were forwarded to you privately regarding her posts and personal replies that you have seen. She has been rather caustic, don't you think?

Anyway, I will join the other Europeans and Aussies in a glass of a nicely oaky chardonnay from South Africa in another thread. Love the views outside of workshops, waiting for the weather to get better so I can take a pic outside my teaching studio. Noroc!

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I would hope there's nothing wrong in posting information from, or a link to another website, including one's own website, when that posting is a relevant response to another poster's (or initial poster's) question. Nothing more than that has happened here in Ming's post. Hope that's ok, because I'd like the freedom to cite other websites, including my own, if I had one, when that citation is a relevant response to a question. I've used that kind of citation many times, as have many other posters. Ming has that right, too, I assume.

That's very different from soliciting readers to add information to some outside website while adding nothing to a Maestronet thread.

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I am not a professional musician, but I am a small business owner who provides academic services to clients who can be somewhat demanding at times, so I was following this thread with great interest and enjoyment. It was developing into a good exchange of ideas and does not deserve to be hijacked. Let's get back on track to the original question, please!

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I am not a professional musician, but I am a small business owner who provides academic services to clients who can be somewhat demanding at times, so I was following this thread with great interest and enjoyment. It was developing into a good exchange of ideas and does not deserve to be hijacked. Let's get back on track to the original question, please!

I really didn't know how to answer her without referring to my site. There is there, after all, the listings of the materials she wanted. I guess, in future, what I can do is ask people to message me privately if they'd like links to collections of whatever.

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I really didn't know how to answer her without referring to my site. There is there, after all, the listings of the materials she wanted. I guess, in future, what I can do is ask people to message me privately if they'd like links to collections of whatever.

I had no objections to your post; I thought it was relevant and appropriate.

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My friend's friend needs a violinist for her son's wedding. My friend recommended me to her. Here is the problem, I don't do wedding gigs. I've only played at one person's wedding and the church director made the experience a nightmare. The playing was fine, but the church director was horrible. Anyway, my friend was trying to convince me to do it. I'm really reluctant to do weddings because as one cellist from my orchestra said, she doesn't rehearse with her group, they just sightread the music at the wedding. I guess that is fine, but I don't think this cellist plays with a set group of people. I'm the "likes to rehearse everything" type, so I guess I stay away from weddings because it seems to be more of sightreading performance gig. I do more solo work and orchestra work, because there is usually set rehearsal time for that.

Anyway, I decided to give this a try. I called up the woman and asked where, when, what type of ensemble and music they wanted. I didn't get set answers as they don't know the details yet, but they were thinking of a cellist and a violinist. They will be calling me back. I normally work with a pianist. I guess I could find a cellist to work with if they really want it. Originally they just wanted a violinist. Okay, so as the musician: Do you give them what they want? OR Do you suggest what may work better?

Here are some other questions I have: Is there a flat rate or is it depending on how much music they need? How much should I charge them for two people playing? Do I have to give them a sampling of the music beforehand? I've seen some collections of wedding music for violin and piano, but have found less for cello and violin. Does anyone have a suggestion of good arrangements of wedding music for either violin and cello or violin and piano? Should I be upfront about the fact that I don't normally play weddings or should I just not mention that because it will make them think that they aren't hiring someone good? I'm trying not to look too green, so any advice is appreciated. Thanks! :)

+++++++++++

I would, why not?

The audiences in a wedding envronment, are different of that in a concert hall. Your expectation of them should be different too.

Long pieces are not their favor. Something simple would work better. Just my guess.

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Some thoughts:

1. At this point you don't have to decide whether you'd like to do wedding gigs for the rest of your life or not. You can just try it out by taking it seriously and preparing well to give the whole idea a fair chance, can't you?

2. My guess, or hope, is that the people who tell you they don't practice for weddings did practice at one point, and now they practice other things and know the wedding pieces well enough to be able to just pick them up. So when you start, of course you can tell your fellow musicians that you want to have a couple of sessions where you sight-read different collections and then one where you rehearse the pieces that have been picked for this occasion.

3. I've heard a lot of praise of the Last Resort collections, and they come in a big variety of instrument combinations.

If you're going to perform with a cellist, of course almost any Baroque violin piece will work fine -- he or she will just start out with the bass line which is usually enough to make it sound very nice.

But maybe you could ask friends or teachers if you can borrow what they have for a sight-reading session, and if your library has something then borrow what you can there to. After reading through everything you can find, you can decide which collections or pieces or arrangements you need to own and then buy them. (If you're the one paying for all the scores that a group is using, maybe you can make a deal with the others about getting a larger part of the fee.)

4. Situations and people can vary a lot, but in order to prevent awkward moments like the one you described with the music director and misunderstandings with the couple or wedding planner, you can

a. meet the couple or whoever gets to choose the pieces to give a live sample of your suggestions (a lot of people don't know what sounds good on a single violin, etc, and you probably have pieces that you really like to play but that are not very well-known) and to tell them what you can do to fulfill their wishes (ie you can arrange that very special favourite piece, but that will mean a couple of hours in front of the computer, which means they'll pay you more, or you can play that piece but it really needs a string quartet and are they ready to go for that ...)

(-- and if you find you LOVE wedding gigs, after a while you'll probably make fancy repertoire lists and a sample hand-out CD or a website where people can listen to you)

b. ask to be contacted by/get the phone number for whoever else is doing music stuff for their wedding, so that you can coordinate your efforts

Good luck!

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I love weddings! I would do weddings all day every day if I could. They are a great source of income, lots of fun and easy.

My friend Jim and I do guitar/violin duets. We play waltzes, jigs and reels and slow airs. Periodically we will be asked to do something classical, so we'll do Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; Pachelbel's Canon, etc.

Don't take yourself too seriously. The wedding is not about you, it's about the bride and groom, their family and their friends. They're not thinking about you and they only want music as a filler. You show up, sit where you're told, play when you get the eyeball from the best man or JP (minister), get paid and leave. It's great!

Love weddings.

I always set up a meeting with the bride & groom at least a month before the wedding to go over music selection (I play them examples and they pick), timing/schedule, and details. The week prior, I like to be in touch by email with the JP or best man to coordinate cell phone#s and last minute details.

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HI!

It really depends upon your comfort level.... I started playing solo flute and/or violin a couple of years ago. Now I play with a friend. My friend plays violin, and I play violin or cello in our duets. I designed our website and we slowly started doing some advertising. Things have started to take off for us. We have bookings almost every month. We have some for next year as well. We found it's a lot more fun to play together, rather than solo. We have a set repertoire that people can go with, but if there is enough time before their event we will learn a piece for them if they have a request. I say, "go for it"!

It might turn out to be a nice little side business for you. :)

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LilyLynne,

I'm probably way too late on this reply but for what it's worth I have a few experiences with weddings and ceilidh bands.

Usually, what the wedding couple expect bears virtually no relation to what is needed. Timings are usually out by at least one hour and when the music finally gets started no on wants to listen, or participate!

I would, in your situation, respectfully decline. Sorry.

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There are different parts of a wedding engagement, the wedding itself and the reception. Often you are hired for just one of the events and what you play for the two is very different.

Playing the wedding you generally want music as people are arriving, sitting down, and getting settled, then you play the processional, (it used to generally be Mendelssohn's here comes the bride piece but now seems to gravitate towards the Pachabel's Canon), and then another piece of music is played after the ceremony as people are leaving.

Playing the reception get something so that people can dance.

Live music, played well, adds elegance to any occasion.

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