Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I find musicians and how do I know if they’re good?
Professional musicians can be found via word-of-mouth from your friends (one of the best ways), in the yellow pages, online, at wedding fairs, in the want ads, at local concerts, by calling the local symphony, opera, ballet, or musicians’ union. Get phone numbers or web addresses and contact all the likely prospects. You are doing the hiring; it’s your money, so AUDITION PEOPLE YOU HAVEN’T PERSONALLY HEARD! Serious professionals will have a demo tape ready to send you. You can, if you’re local, ask where the person is performing in the area and then go check them out. Ask for references.
We agreed on everything over the phone. Is that enough?
When you have found the musician(s) you like, be sure to have a written contract between you. A professional musician will send you a performance agreement and ask for a deposit. Not only does a contract protect both parties, but it is also your reassurance that, if your dealings have been by phone, that your musician has written down the right date time, location, etc.
Do I have to find all the music for my musicians to play?
When I meet with clients, I ask them what style of music they like. Do they want popular love songs and show tunes, do they like celtic music, do they prefer a particular kind of classical music, etc. And—lots of times people know what they like but don’t know what to call it. So the best thing to do is to give examples: “I like the music from Phantom of the Opera. I liked the music played at Princess Diana’s wedding. I like ‘The Wind Beneath My Wings’ and country-western songs. I like Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.” Knowing that, I can play music in my repertoire that corresponds to that style or feeling. If it’s a wedding ceremony, I can also suggest wedding marches in that style, or, if there’s time, learn something new. Some of my best material has come from clients’ requests.
My musician isn’t coming to the wedding rehearsal. How will we ever get things timed correctly?
The point of hiring a professional musician is that they will time their music to fit what you are doing, and not the other way around! During your consultation you will have explained the order of the ceremony, and where music is wanted. What will then be needed is a clear set of cues for your performer. In general, the cues I ask for are:
- Who or what will signal me that the wedding processional music needs to begin? (Then as I play, I count—“One… two… three…four… five bridesmaids… one ring bearer…two flower girls. There, that’s everybody. Ready for the bride’s music.”)
- What words will signal the music that is to be played during the ceremony? Or will it be a nod from the minister, or a candle being lighted, etc.
- What words or actions will let me know when to start the exit march? A kiss? An introduction? The breaking of a glass?
Other questions? I’d be happy to hear from you.- firstname.lastname@example.org
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