Once you’ve considered the ensemble type and size as well as researched the
musicians, it’s time to take the next steps in hiring musicians. Next, you should consider the following:
WHEN contacting musicians (Contact your favorite musicians as soon as possible, as they often book up to a year in advance.)
□ Discuss style for each section of music requests (for a wedding, consider the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, etc.)
- Describe the musical style that you feel complements you and your style.
- If you’re not sure, consult the musicians. Describe your vision for your event and ask what music they would suggest including what specific songs and music they have in their repertoire. You can often make special request for specific songs or music you’d like to hear, although there may be an additional a fee to arrange special requests.
□ Describe location. Musicians will need to know where you are having your event including:
- indoor or outdoor
- size of space
- climate controlled or not
- bright or dark lighting
- hard or soft surfaces
- sound system and power availability
- number of guests
Find out where the musicians are based and if they have played at your venue before.
□ Cost. Just like you’re probably not buying the cheapest dress on the market and not ordering fast food for your guests, you will probably not end up pleased if you hire the musicians based on price alone. When you hire the least expensive musicians, you are risking getting
- poor preparation
- lack of communication
- limited skill
- questionable reliability
As with anything else, you will likely get what you pay for when hiring live musicians. When you receive quotes for musicians, you will either be quoted a flat fee or an hourly rate. The fee may also include costs for travel, set up, overtime, etc.
□ Contract: Once you’ve selected your musicians, we suggest your contract include
- Contact information for the musicians and/or manager. Include the names of all musicians and which instruments they will be playing. If you are hiring through an agency, this will help ensure that you get the musicians you request, not a sub with less experience.
- The exact time and location including the time you expect the musicians to arrive.
- A list of the equipment that you will supply and that the musicians will supply.
- Dress requirements.
- Performance details including the length of the performance, the number and length of breaks, and what will occur during the breaks (recorded music? no music?)
- A play list and perhaps a do-not-play list. Include any details about special songs that you want played as well as the fees associated.
- Fees and payment procedures including: the total cost, accounting of additional costs, due dates for deposit and balance, and refund and cancellation policies.
It might take a little more planning, but working with live musicians for your special event allows you to personalize the occasion far more than just having a DJ or CD play the same songs you can hear on the radio. We hope this checklist helps you find the perfect musicians to create an unforgettable soundtrack for your special event or wedding.