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Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2594774 12/14/16 12:23 PM
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"...relearn all my "December" music and figure out how to end "Carol of the Bells...."

Well, to start out, it takes what bystanders will call 'some nerve,' and not only that, but a steady hand on the food processor, NOT a blender. You end up with "Silent Night," and that is not so bad in German, but you get there by a process which has something in common with a rowdy crowd operating the Bumper Cars at an amusement park.

Just throw caution to the winds, and depend on that little dash of brandy in the egg nog. The folks in the lounge will be a little dizzy anyway, and they will surely acknowledge your genius--- how could they not?--- for it is not at all hard to start up a perpetual motion machine; the trick is to make it stop. And the other trick is to make it stop so the folks can join in, discerning that you intend another Christmas song and not "Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City, She Went About as Fur as She Could Go."

If they do... well, it's jolly, and that's what's important.

I actually prefer some pieces which are not played to death in every elevator in the Western Hemisphere. "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," take your pick of Praetorius or Brahms settings, it's from the deep past of medieval Europe, either way; "The Shepherds' Farewell to the Holy Family," by Berlioz, from his cantata, "L'enfance du Criste," a very pretty choral piece and likely to keep all but the most discerning guessing when the words go away; and "The Holly and the Ivy," pagan and poignant when sung; mysterious and curious when not. Pull a switch on your audience, having planted ringers around the lounge, who come in for a capella verses, back and forth with the piano, finishing with both together, just in time for brandies all around--- hold the nog.


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Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2597350 12/23/16 04:11 AM
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Good music selections, Clef! Marian McPartland played "The Holly and the Ivy" on the NPR Jazz Holiday Album Volume 3—that's the one that I am on. It's a nice album, but I don't think it's available any longer. No doubt some sort of celebrity licensing issues going on there. I think I was the only participant without a lawyer.

My December 11th concert went well, or at least I think it did. We sold out the room and everyone showed up in their holiday finest. The piano was in good shape and stayed in tune and I did not have any train wrecks in the middle of "Silent Night" (one of my biggest fears—you hit a clam during Silent Night and, well, you may never recover).

I am off on Christmas Eve and intend to celebrate with my family. The 25th and 26th I'll be playing, as usual, at the hotel. We are all sad about the attack in Berlin—the Christmas markets here are such peaceful, happy places. Friends gather and drink mulled wine and eat waffles. The market next to the hotel and cathedral is always beautiful.

Wishing all of you a peaceful and safe end to 2016, a year that has been full of sharp edges. May we glide into 2017 with hope in our baskets and a song in our hearts.





Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist
Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2597370 12/23/16 06:44 AM
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We must come and see you in action. My wifes family live near Koln and we have an apartment there.


Currently playing 2017 C212 with carbon fibre soundboard, WNG action. Working on Bach, Beethoven, Grieg mainly.
Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2597689 12/24/16 04:12 AM
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By all means, do stop by AJB!!!

Here is my holiday schedule at the Excelsior Hotel Ernst (next to the Dom):

Friday, Dec 23, 15:00 - 18:00
Saturday, Dec 24, OFF
Sunday, Dec 25th, 15:00 - 18:00
Monday, Dec 26th, 15:00 - 18:00
Friday, Dec 30th, 15:00 - 18:00
Saturday, Dec 31, (Silvester) OFF
Sunday, January 1st, 15:00 - 18:00

After the holidays I am there every Fri, Sat, and Sun from 15 - 18:00. (with the exception of Jan 6th)

Looking forward to meeting another PW member!


Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist
Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2599116 12/29/16 05:48 PM
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It was, and is, exciting to have broken the five million ceiling. But, just after a guest left [who gave my piano a good pounding], I happened to be idly noodling around the PW fora, intending to send him a note. And I will, but since PW is what the browser window opened to, I was glancing around some of the sections I don't often frequent.

You will have guessed by now. It is in the Adult Beginners Forum, and the title of the thread is: "Alfred's Basic and All In One Adult Piano Course, Book Number Two." And it has had over twelve million hits.

Kiss catching up goodbye. I'll bet Alfred Publishing Company, Incorporated is really glad they published these items. I could well imagine them putting out some other works along the same line, maybe a bit further along than, "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands," not that I have anything against it.

Others may be more confident than I, that they know everything there is to know about music... but I do wonder sometimes if there could be something important I missed along the way. For example, there could be a whole work devoted to reading and notating time signatures and rhythm patterns--- and if that isn't enough for a whole book, they could throw in appoggiaturas and all their cousins. Not every reader is up to speed enough to make the best advantage of "Essay on the True Art;" in fact, I say with some confidence that at least 95% of them have never heard of it.

Twelve million hits says I am confident enough to invest in Alfred Publishing, if they should begin to offer something in a distance learning product. It is unknown, without some testing of the waters, if its best form should resemble the traditional weekly piano lesson, strictly during business hours, or alternatively, something else. Maybe a pickup basketball or softball game, or a conference call could provide a model. My guess is that most of these folk are learning on some fashion of DP, and that they use some flavor of cellphone which supports video. Add Bluetooth, beat for five minutes, and serve.

Twelve million hits suggests that there is a crying need. And knowing that musicians are the target audience, many of them young, suggests that operating into the late hours, or the early hours, might work for everybody. Distance learning suggests, for one thing, that we are disconnecting the clock and are working across time zones to the point that it just doesn't matter what the clock says.

It is at this point that I might usually say, "But I digress," but I think the train [of thought] has jumped the track from the first sentence of the first paragraph. Anyway, I am proud of those five million hits, and there are people whom I have come to love from this little shower of electrons. They could step on my feet in a crowded elevator and I wouldn't have any clue.

Or maybe I would....

Happy New Year, everybody! The best of the year to you! And hold the nog!


Clef

Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2599321 12/30/16 11:38 AM
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"...and I wouldn't have any clue..." who they were.


Clef

Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2600190 01/02/17 07:08 AM
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Happy New Year, friends of LTW! I am happily sitting (okay, reclining) on my sofa, enjoying the snowfall and the knowledge that I am gig-free for the next few days.

Okay, so we only have 5 million (plus) hits on LTW. I like to think it's because we are a niche group. Special. Slightly nuts.

A hot tip for any of you looking to play weddings in the near future. Check out Jennifer Blaske's book: Giggin' for a Living: How to Make Money as a Musician Playing for Weddings and Special Events.

Piano Girl fans have been on my back for years to write a manual, but I don't have it in me—I get too sidetracked by the funny and emotional stuff and shy away from anything that could actually HELP players! Jennifer has filled that gap. It's only available on Kindle. Grab a copy if wedding gigs are in your future.the book is generous, well-written, and full of great tips. Congrats, Jennifer! I hope you'll join in here more often. Link is below.

Giggin' for a Living


Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist
Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Jeff Clef #2600686 01/03/17 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
It is unknown, without some testing of the waters, if its best form should resemble the traditional weekly piano lesson, strictly during business hours, or alternatively, something else. Maybe a pickup basketball or softball game, or a conference call could provide a model.


Judging from the actual behavior of my younger relatives and their friends, the model has been tested and refined to an optimal state.

It is the online gaming community. It is interactive and contains sufficiently sophisticated reinforcement scheduling to maintain an extremely high level of output.


gotta go practice
Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2601004 01/04/17 11:44 AM
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Tim, I think you have nailed it. Besides what you have said, it breaks through the isolation that a dedication to the piano can demand.

Cubase points out to persons who are installing their product, that keyboard musicians and the online gaming community share some requirements. Fast transfers, low latency, plenty of RAM, storage that is ample and very fast, and absolutely current drivers. And a great monitor--- better yet, a bank of monitors. Cubase shows a photo of guys in a studio with a bank of six monitors, and I felt myself start to salivate. I limp along with three, but my next computer will be able to do lots more.

They offer a product that can allow people in different cities to play together, as if in real time.

It should not be greatly taxing for some genius to dream up a way to deliver content [like structured piano lessons], integrated with realtime peer-to-peer [1] with a teacher, and [2] with peers. Add the element of competing for something. Actually, composing for gamer soundtracks is a real business. That, and tracks for TV, film, clubs with dancing, etc. There is exciting stuff to be done in today's music environment.

So now, we need only to figure out how to make the end users pay for it, and we're off to the races. We may not know just where to work right now, but I expect there are those who are working on this right now. Probably, trying to figure out how to squeeze money out of it.


Clef

Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2602841 01/10/17 12:21 PM
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A new essay for all my working-musician friends. A road trip with an 82-year-old musician, who happens to be my father.

The Notes that Got Away

“See that Burger King? I played there once, before it was a Burger King.”

I’m in the car with my musician father and he’s pointing out places where he used to perform. “The Burger King used to be a Moose Club. Before it was a Moose Club it was a Masonic Lodge. I played there, too. And down the highway, over by the Southland Shopping Mall? That used to be the Ankara. Big night club. Six nights a week, live music, different acts all the time. I was in the house band in the sixties. Mr. Cenemie was the manager. Called him Mr. Centipede. He hated me. I’m telling you, beautiful dancers from the Philippines in that place. Made no sense since it was called the Ankara, but whatever. And up on the hill? That nursing home? I played there for about two years, when it was still a hotel. They had great shrimp cocktail.”

“Was that the place with the singer of small stature and the Desi Arnaz look-alike?” I ask.

“What? The singing dwarf? No, that place was across from the nursing home. And the dwarf worked with the stripper, not with Desi. The Desi impersonator usually worked with the ice skater, but sometimes with a ventriloquist.”

“Wait, the nightclub had an ice skating rink?”

“Back in the day they spared no expense.”

“Jesus.”

“I worked for him, too. That Catholic Church over by Wendy’s? Al Dilernia was extremely popular at that church. I used to play with his band for church events. The priest liked jazz. Al used to listen to Pirate games on his transistor radio during prayers. He once yelled ‘Goddamnit, you a**holes during the blessing when the Cleveland Indians hit a homerun. He usually had spaghetti stains on his shirt.”

“I remember Al,” I say. “And the spaghetti sauce. He tried to kiss me on the lips once when I was, like, sixteen.”

“Which Dilernia was that? Albert or Alfred? There were two brothers, both named Al. Both great players. Both liked spaghetti. Either one would have tried to kiss you.”

“The guitar player.”

“That would be Al. I always said they should start a band with Edmond and Edward Manganelli. Al and Al and Ed and Ed.”

Driving anywhere in the greater Pittsburgh area with my dad, eighty-two year old drummer Bob Rawsthorne, means listening to dozens of stories pulled from over six decades of gigs in vanished venues. We can hardly cross a strip-malled intersection without him pointing at a corner and blurting out a tale that involves skullduggery, musical madness, or management idiocy.

“Ah, there’s the VFW, Post 5111,” Dad says as we drive on Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington. “I hated playing there. Rotten piano. Rotten manager—that guy actually snapped off the TV during the moon landing. We had taken a break to watch it. The damn moon landing! ‘I ain’t payin’ you guys to watch television,’ he said. I’ll never forget the bartender’s reaction. He went outside and looked up at the stars, hoping to see Neil Armstrong live. Sad. So sad.”

In just one trip to the Giant Eagle grocery store I hear about a drunken host with a mynah bird that spewed racial insults, a greedy nightclub owner with a drawer full of stolen watches, and a girl singer with balloon boobs who would always blank out when trying to remember the words to “Accentuate the Positive.” Dad’s stream-of-consciousness tales of smoky nightclubs, Burlesque palaces, concert halls, and after-hours dives would make one think the live music culture of the sixties and seventies offered a non-stop, sophisticated—and often silly—soundtrack to our unencumbered, simple lives. Maybe it did.

“I used to work there! And there, too. I think I played across the street too, but it looks different now with the Tiki-Tiki torch on the outside. Sometimes I get inside a joint I think I’ve never been in before and I see something that triggers my memory—and, bam!—I remember a gig I thought I had forgotten. Nice.”

***

My father was, and is, an accomplished musician, a big fish in Pittsburgh’s smallish pond of high-quality players. He stayed in Pittsburgh because the city’s many nightlife outlets once rewarded good musicians with plenty of work. For most of his career he stayed busy. Crazy busy.

We’ve often talked about the roller coaster lives of working musicians—the way a five-star gig on Tuesday turns into a dumpster-dive engagement on Wednesday. Here’s an actual conversation from 1986:

“Hey, Robin, guess where I’m playing this week? The White House.”

“Great, Dad. Is that the new restaurant in Bloomfield?”

“No, man.” (Jazz musicians often call their wives and daughters “man,” which manages to be slightly insulting and endearing all at once). “No, no, man. The White House. Like where President Reagan lives. I’m going with the Johnny Costa Trio from the Mister Rogers show to play for Nancy Reagan. Dig that.”
He went. The trio played “Nancy with the Laughing Face,” but the First Lady didn’t recognize it. A little jazz goes a long way—I guess Costa didn’t hammer out the melody enough. The next night Dad was back in town, playing for a drunken sing-a-long at the Swissvale Moose Club.

The day after that, he returned to the television studio. Dad held on to that Mister Rogers gig for over thirty years.

My father also had a thirteen-year steady engagement in a popular pizza and beer joint called Bimbo’s, a warehouse-sized restaurant that catered to gaggles of fun-loving folks celebrating life with oily pepperoni slices and mugs of watery swill. “Don’t eat there on an empty stomach,” he used to tell us. Dangerous food, fun music—an unbeatable combination. Dad also subbed occasionally in the percussion sections of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Opera, and Ballet orchestras, often racing from the beer hall to the concert stage and back in one evening.

Bob Rawsthorne has played a lot of notes in his life. “You know how many times I have to hit those drums to pay for a semester of college?” he used to ask me.

Now that I have my own college-age kids, I can guess it was quite a few.

Dad recounts an endless number of stories in locations that ranged from seedy to suave. Remember the time the chimpanzee in the Burlesque show slapped Red French (the pit drummer) on the forehead and left a palm-shaped welt that took days to fade? I listen and try to catalog and edit his words for my selfish, writerly purposes. But the dime store philosopher in me—the halfway serious woman who occasionally questions the meaning of a life in the arts—starts to wonder about the music itself.

Where did all the notes go? Where does the magic of any live performance go? Perhaps that’s the attraction of real, live music—that it fleets and falls exactly where it’s welcomed or needed—in a dancer’s happy feet, in the heavy heart of a jilted woman, in the romantic soul of an aging poet, in the noisy mind of a student hoping to restore order to a chaotic life.

Or maybe the notes land on the beer hall floor, and that’s that.

Talking around the music feels easier than talking about the music itself. To do that a player must talk about musical technique. Or beauty. Or love. And that gets personal. So instead, musicians like my father reminisce about nasty nightclub owners or foolish F&B managers or knackered brides who insisted on singing “Summertime” in a key that was way too high. Or a drummer with a chimp paw print on his forehead. Or the White House, man.

After four decades in the music business, I have my own stories, my own list of vanishing venues and lost gigs, my own kind-of-funny, slightly sad narratives that prove I am part of an era that seems to be slipping away. Where have all the notes gone? I played here, I played there. Does live music fill the world with light and optimism? I don’t know for sure. But I don’t think anyone would argue that we’re better off without it.
Today we’re in Cranberry Township, near Pittsburgh. As my father’s drummer-friendly SUV reaches the top of a rise and descends into the valley, we pass an Olive Garden, a Starbuck’s, a Wal-Mart, and a KFC. At the bottom of the hill is a scrappy field, the last vacant lot on a congested strip of potholed concrete. Grass grows. Wild flowers stretch their faded heads toward the blazing sky.

“There!” my father says, pointing to the empty lot. “I played there once. On that very corner.”

“Nothing there now,” I say.

“No. But there used to be,” he says. “I’m telling you, man, there used to be.”


Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist
Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2602927 01/10/17 04:43 PM
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Missed the Christmas opportunity - constant round of visiting relations and as this will (we expect) be the last Christmas (with a capital C) for one of them I could not in all conscience prise the in-laws away. However, we are back in the Spring.


Currently playing 2017 C212 with carbon fibre soundboard, WNG action. Working on Bach, Beethoven, Grieg mainly.
Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2603038 01/10/17 09:31 PM
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Capture as many of your father's memories as you can, Robin. When they are gone, what you will miss most of all from your parents is the knowledge.


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Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2605404 01/17/17 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Piano Girl RMG


A hot tip for any of you looking to play weddings in the near future. Check out Jennifer Blaske's book: Giggin' for a Living: How to Make Money as a Musician Playing for Weddings and Special Events.

Piano Girl fans have been on my back for years to write a manual, but I don't have it in me—I get too sidetracked by the funny and emotional stuff and shy away from anything that could actually HELP players! Jennifer has filled that gap. It's only available on Kindle. Grab a copy if wedding gigs are in your future.the book is generous, well-written, and full of great tips. Congrats, Jennifer! I hope you'll join in here more often. Link is below.

Giggin' for a Living


I am just now seeing this. Thank you so much, Robin! I was definitely inspired by you over the years, not only in becoming a sort of "piano girl" myself, but also because you wrote a book, and I knew I wanted that someday I wanted to write one too.

At least for me, becoming a solo pianist was a little bit of a mystery job: What songs do I need to play? Do they have to be memorized? How in the world do I actually get a job playing somewhere? How much do I charge? Do you have to be famous before you can do something like that? So I liked the idea of sharing my experiences and suggestions for other people out there who must be wondering some of the same things.

Right now I'm getting ready to play for a wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner this Sunday at the GA Aquarium in Atlanta. That will be a new venue for me. It's funny; when I got married, the question was basically, "Which church for the ceremony, and which hotel for the reception?" We had no idea that people got married in dinosaur museums, and aquariums, and zoos -- and who knows where else! smile

Jennifer McCoy Blaske
www.PianoJenny.com


Jennifer McCoy Blaske
Pianist and Author
www.PianoJenny.com
Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Redhead1 #2605409 01/17/17 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Redhead1
Originally Posted by Piano Girl RMG


A hot tip for any of you looking to play weddings in the near future. Check out Jennifer Blaske's book: Giggin' for a Living: How to Make Money as a Musician Playing for Weddings and Special Events.

Piano Girl fans have been on my back for years to write a manual, but I don't have it in me—I get too sidetracked by the funny and emotional stuff and shy away from anything that could actually HELP players! Jennifer has filled that gap. It's only available on Kindle. Grab a copy if wedding gigs are in your future.the book is generous, well-written, and full of great tips. Congrats, Jennifer! I hope you'll join in here more often. Link is below.

Giggin' for a Living


I am just now seeing this. Thank you so much, Robin! I was definitely inspired by you over the years, not only in becoming a sort of "piano girl" myself, but also because you wrote a book, and I knew I wanted that someday I wanted to write one too.

At least for me, becoming a solo pianist was a little bit of a mystery job: What songs do I need to play? Do they have to be memorized? How in the world do I actually get a job playing somewhere? How much do I charge? Do you have to be famous before you can do something like that? So I liked the idea of sharing my experiences and suggestions for other people out there who must be wondering some of the same things.

Right now I'm getting ready to play for a wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner this Sunday at the GA Aquarium in Atlanta. That will be a new venue for me. It's funny; when I got married, the question was basically, "Which church for the ceremony, and which hotel for the reception?" We had no idea that people got married in dinosaur museums, and aquariums, and zoos -- and who knows where else! smile

Jennifer McCoy Blaske
www.PianoJenny.com


Hi Jennifer,
I saw Robin's post, immediately downloaded your e-book to the Kindle on my cell phone (so I'd always have it with me). Geesh, at that price it's a no-brainer.

Enjoyed the tips, great stuff for anyone starting out and useful pointers for those who have been at it a while.

Keep on gigging, and feel free to add some of your own adventures to Robin's never ending (and very popular) Let's Talk Weddings thread.

All the Best,

Frank B.
Piano World

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Re: Let's Talk Weddings
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Quote

Keep on gigging, and feel free to add some of your own adventures to Robin's never ending (and very popular) Let's Talk Weddings thread.

All the Best,

Frank B.
Piano World

====================



Thanks Frank! My adventures are not nearly as interesting or expansive as Robin's, but here's something that you might find amusing.

A few years ago I played at this outdoor wedding at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta. (Photo by Paperlily Photography)
[Linked Image]

I had just started using an Ipad app for playing music and had several specific songs on the ipad that they had requested for the ceremony.

I got my keyboard all set up outside and then started setting up the Ipad. Strangely, I could barely see the music on the screen. Oh right -- there was a dimmer setting; it must be turned down.

No, wait! It was already turned up all the way! Then why couldn't I see anything? What was I going to do? I couldn't read it well enough to play. What was wrong with my Ipad?? How would I make it through the ceremony? Help! Help!

Oh, wait.

I was still wearing my sunglasses.

Jennifer McCoy Blaske
Author of Giggin' for a Livin' and Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom
www.PianoJenny.com

Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2608025 01/24/17 03:51 PM
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Nice photo, Jennifer! Looks very European.

There are certain advantages to playing everything from memory! My eyes are so whacked at this point that reading anything, with or without glasses, would be a trauma. I do read words when I do a program with stories, but I print out a script with a super-sized font. Then there's the lighting situation. Most bars and lounges are on the dark side. I guess the iPad solution helps with that.

Playing during the daytime means lots of light. Good for the eyes, bad for the wrinkles. Ah well. And i truly wish I had had a little less light on Sunday—just as I had started playing my first set for a quiet, elegant Afternoon Tea crowd, a stout man wearing a kilt and carrying BAGPIPES entered the lounge. Entered is too kind a word—he busted into the room. A man on a mission carrying a full set of pipes and wearing a kilt and a little hat. He exited the room as purposefully as he entered it and I thought, once again, like I was in the middle of a Monty Python sketch.

By the way, the German word for bagpipe is DUDELSACK. One of my favorite German words. Put that in your Dudelsack and smoke it.

Just when I was starting to relax, in burst another Dudelsacker, then another, then another. A total of twenty bagpipers came through, and a dozen drummers. I still don't know where they were going or why they were there, but it was quite the scene.

I am playing for a wedding on the 4th of February. And I have four or five bookings for May, including one couple that wants my concert program (between the champagne reception and the dinner), not just background music! We'll see how that works out. It's at a botanical garden.

Visit my website for details if you live in Pittsburgh, PA, or Charleston, SC and want to attend one of my concerts during my little USA tour in February. Would LOVE to see a few PW friends there.

Summerville, SC Feb 19th
Charleston, SC Feb 20th
Pittsburgh, PA Feb 25th

Sending love from a dimly lit living room in rural Germany.

RMG







Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist
Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2608316 01/25/17 10:48 AM
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Twelve pipers piping, eleven lords a-leaping...

And Today in Wedding History:

1858 – The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn is played at the marriage of Queen Victoria's daughter, Victoria, and Friedrich of Prussia, and becomes a popular wedding processional.

And, as if by some eerie cosmic coincidence, eighty years later, down to the very day [in 1938], Etta James was born, singer of the quintessential wedding song, "At Last."

This is why the date is printed in gold, on every document generated in the wedding industry.

Last edited by Jeff Clef; 01/25/17 11:03 AM.

Clef

Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2612073 02/06/17 08:40 AM
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Hey I just want to ask the performers here, are solo piano gigs in less demand where you are?

I used to play gigs on and off at hotels, restaurants etc but it just died down. i'll play the odd holiday party but my heart isn't much into it now. some of the offers are so rather insulting and people are basically paying less than what a good teacher would make hourly!

i did have a good NYE gig offer but wasn't in town so didn't do it.

Re: Let's Talk Weddings
4Fingers #2612718 02/08/17 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 4Fingers
Hey I just want to ask the performers here, are solo piano gigs in less demand where you are?

I used to play gigs on and off at hotels, restaurants etc but it just died down. i'll play the odd holiday party but my heart isn't much into it now. some of the offers are so rather insulting and people are basically paying less than what a good teacher would make hourly!


I'm in the Atlanta area and not aware of any hotel gigs. There are a few restaurant gigs that I'm aware of. I played at Von Maur department store for a while and enjoyed it very much and learned a lot, but the pay is horrible and they treat you like a store employee. You even have to clock in and out!

My gigs are all private parties and weddings, which pay much better than restaurants anyway. I don't play anywhere for under $300.

I get about 80% of my gigs from my website and the other 20% from past customer, wedding planners, or venue referrals.

Jennifer McCoy Blaske
www.PianoJenny.com

Author of Giggin' for a Livin' and Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom


Jennifer McCoy Blaske
Pianist and Author
www.PianoJenny.com
Re: Let's Talk Weddings
Piano Girl RMG #2613690 02/12/17 03:29 AM
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I live in Germany, where we celebrate live music by providing multiple platforms for concerts, recitals, etc. But the concept of "background" music seems difficult to grasp, mainly because Europeans are taught, in early childhood, that music should be respected. The concept of talking while someone is playing is foreign to both musicians and audience.

Due to my "American" sensibilities and my skill at blending into the ambience of a room full of chatting wine-sippers—I have found a niche for myself. There are a few others doing the same, and with great success. My current place of employment boasts live music seven days a week and keeps five musicians gainfully employed. The guests love it and so does management.

My hotel is a small, privately-owned hotel with an on-site director who is in the trenches with me every weekend. He sees, hears, and experiences what I do first hand. In the big chain hotels, the director is usually stuck in an office somewhere, a slave to corporate F&B rules about budgets. I spent 7 years at the Marriott in Manhattan and could count on one hand the number of times I saw the GM.

So that's my advice—if you want to do hotel work, seek out the little boutique places and offer some flexibility. I "invented" the jobs I've had in Germany by scoping out places and convincing management of the beauty of solo piano and the value it would bring to their establishments. I know that sounds cheesy, but, well, it's true.

In wedding news: My wedding last week was delightful! Everyone was pregnant! The bride was ready to burst and looked beautiful. And it seemed all her friends were either pregnant or toting babies. The receiving line was right next to the Steinway (loved that!) and I got to watch the parade of well-wishers. One well-wisher carried a screaming two-year-old named Timmy. Timmy wanted to be ANYWHERE but in a five star hotel. His mother gave him a cracker in an attempt to stop his screaming. Timmy spit the cracker at the pregnant bride. I was grateful the cracker detritus did not land inside the piano.

In these situations I usually open the piano full stick, to avoid having people use it as a cocktail table. All that champagne, all that hugging—people see a flat surface and they put their drinks on it. Makes me crazy. So I open the piano. But at this wedding, one woman put her drink down INSIDE the piano, on the harp. I almost had a heart attack. I leapt up, without resolving the cadence, and snatched the glass. One of the waiters fetched a cocktail table for her and that was that. Lord have mercy.

By all means—you aspiring wedding pianists should check out Jennifer's site. She has done an excellent job of telling perspective clients exactly what they want to hear—it's friendly, transparent, and to the point. I use a different approach. Most of my private party clients come from concert audiences or (sometimes) my hotel guests. I don't advertise myself as a wedding pianist, even though I'm happy to play weddings. It all works out.

Headed to the USA tomorrow. Hope to see some of you in Charleston or Pittsburgh! Go to my website for details.



Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist
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