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#1528759 - 10/05/10 03:55 PM Questions about playing for weddings  
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 156
Redhead1 Offline
Full Member
Redhead1  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 156
[I'm never sure if "weddings" goes best here or in the non-classical forum, but I'll try here ...]


I am involved in a rather heated discussion on another piano list, and I was curious to get some additional opinions.


1) When you play for a ceremony and/or reception, do you typically MEET with the bride one-on-one somewhere weeks before to discuss the music?
Should a wedding musician be EXPECTED to do that? Are they providing poor customer service and/or being rude if they only discuss the music over phone and e-mail?


2) When you play for a ceremony, do you always attend the rehearsal? Never attend it? Only attend if they really want you to, but then charge extra?


3) When asked to play for a wedding (ceremony and/or reception), how much new music do you consider reasonable to learn?
The person in question was given a list of 40 song requests, most of which she did not know. What should be the expectation here? Should the pianist learn 30 new songs for this one event? Five new songs? Charge an extra fee for any number over ten?? Something else?


Thank you!
Redhead


Jennifer McCoy Blaske
Pianist and Author
www.PianoJenny.com
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#1528824 - 10/05/10 05:19 PM Re: Questions about playing for weddings [Re: Redhead1]  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
apple* Offline
apple*  Offline


Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
i will meet with a bride for the ceremony selection. I prefer email and phone, but brides are generally high maintenance. When they ask me my fee i tell them blah blah blah for the ceremony, blah blah for rehearsal time (including the rehearsal the nite before) and blah blah blah for high maintenance. I generally don't attend the rehearsal but I play at a church where everything is pretty much the same all the time. I explain they are paying for my time... and I let them know how they can be economical. I say this nicely and they know they are expected to pay before the service.

If someone calls me constantly and changes music and I add another 50 or 100 on. (only have done that twice).

It would be difficult to learn 30 songs for a reception.. unless you can just sight read.

It's very normal to invest a lot of time in the 'beginning of one's career' and not realize much profit for time spent.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#1528857 - 10/05/10 05:52 PM Re: Questions about playing for weddings [Re: Redhead1]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 6,651
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member
stores  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 6,651
Here, as opposed to there
If you hire me for your wedding, then, by all means, I will be present at the rehearsal. I can't imagine NOT being there and then having a curve thrown my way come "show time." I charge one flat fee for both. If you want me for the reception, then that's another fee altogether. If I have to buy the music for those 30 to 40 pieces, then there will DEFINITELY be extra money involved. I can't imagine having much trouble learning them, but there's my time tracking the music down and the cost for the sheet music not to mention the time away from lessons and my own practice to become familiar with the pieces. As for a physical meeting with the bride (or whomever) to go over music...that's really not necessary. The phone or email works fine (and honestly I prefer email).



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

#1528878 - 10/05/10 06:23 PM Re: Questions about playing for weddings [Re: Redhead1]  
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 513
Jonathan Baker Offline
500 Post Club Member
Jonathan Baker  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 513
New York City!
I seldom play weddings now - maybe once or twice a year during the summer at the United Nations Chapel. I have played around 200 weddings over the years I suppose. Full-time organists have played far more than that, of course.

Whether to attend a rehearsal, for me, is entirely dependent on the order of the service. If it is a straight down the aisle and back again service, with maybe a solo singer somewhere during the service, that does not require a special rehearsal. In that case I will rehearse with the singer 45-minutes before the service is to begin to go over their piece. That always seems sufficient.

The few times in the past years that I have played rehearsals I require at least 50% the cost of the wedding added to the total fee.

Speaking of the U.N. Chapel again - I am very glad I attended a rehearsal for a certain wedding because neither the guest minister or the engaged couple or their families had the faintest clue how to proceed! I constructed the ceremony from start to finish on the spot, and given their flamboyant temperaments (not bad tempered, just extravagantly emotional) that was quite a vigorous workout!

I should have doubled my fee since I made that huge wedding function. They were a really amazing group of people, so I suppose I was paid back with the Fellini-like theatricality of it all!

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#1535417 - 10/14/10 02:04 PM Re: Questions : I know NYC is expensive, but. . . [Re: Jonathan Baker]  
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 304
elecmuse3 Offline
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elecmuse3  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 304
Cincinnati
I couldn't resist adapting this:

I require at least 50% the cost of the wedding added

So for a wedding that is costing the participants $40,000 you add $20,000?


Terry@cincyrockers.com
www.theplayerpianoshop.com
#1535426 - 10/14/10 02:27 PM Re: Questions : I know NYC is expensive, but. . . [Re: elecmuse3]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,020
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,020
Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by elecmuse3
I couldn't resist adapting this:

I require at least 50% the cost of the wedding added

So for a wedding that is costing the participants $40,000 you add $20,000?

Haha, I read it that way too, at first! smile

Quote
1) When you play for a ceremony and/or reception, do you typically MEET with the bride one-on-one somewhere weeks before to discuss the music?
Should a wedding musician be EXPECTED to do that? Are they providing poor customer service and/or being rude if they only discuss the music over phone and e-mail?

I do not usually meet. We talk over the phone or via email. Brides are busy too, and they usually appreciate not having to meet with yet another person for the wedding. If that is the expectation and they can come to my home or studio, then that is fine - I'd keep the meeting as short as possible.

Quote
2) When you play for a ceremony, do you always attend the rehearsal? Never attend it? Only attend if they really want you to, but then charge extra?

For me, I will charge a flat fee for the wedding, plus additional money for each rehearsal I have to do with other musicians hired by the bride. Any special instructions I should know about I ask the bride to have the pastor call me.


Quote
3) When asked to play for a wedding (ceremony and/or reception), how much new music do you consider reasonable to learn?
The person in question was given a list of 40 song requests, most of which she did not know. What should be the expectation here? Should the pianist learn 30 new songs for this one event? Five new songs? Charge an extra fee for any number over ten?? Something else?


Usually the bride has like one or two pieces they want me to play, and they have no idea about the rest. Most of them don't even have any requests. If I encountered a bride who gave me 30 pieces to play, I would have to see if they are sight-readable. Still, 30 new pieces is a lot. I don't think I've ever played 30 pieces for a wedding. Is this for a reception? I guess if I were the performer I'd charge an extra amount - whatever price I felt justified learning 30 new pieces. It doesn't come up very often, so no need to have a set "policy" about it. Determine your time spent on it vs. the time you'd take to polish up pieces you already knew.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#1536129 - 10/15/10 04:21 PM Re: Questions about playing for weddings [Re: Redhead1]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 409
riley80 Offline
Full Member
riley80  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 409
Florida
My, but weddings are so complicated now. My organist came to the rehearsal, I KNEW I wanted to come in to the Voluntary and out to the Mendelssohn. And that was it. I paid her 25 bucks and that was that.

I WOULD advise that you get the agreement, price, expected music etc in writing. No nasty surprises.

A friend got married and his pianist played from a fake book for two hours. I wondered what he'd have charged a regular customer. (He was the groom's best man, godfather and ALSO stood up for the groom's parents 50 years prior.) I plunked out a 'duet' with him, just repeating the melody two octaves up and got a round of applause. Sheesh, I guess they thought this was a real feat - ha. So few people play today, maybe it was.


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