Music is the background for Dad's retirement party, Suzie's wedding, your clan's family reunion, anniversary celebrations and other landmark events.
Event planning is hectic, even for the seasoned professional, but choosing the right music, which is the soul of your celebrated event, doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you keep a few things in mind. I sat down with Pegge Ealum of Music by Pegge to find out just what you need to know when booking music for the next special event in your life.
With the holidays approaching, this is a traditional time for families to gather making this a convenient time to plan upcoming celebrations. Dad’s retirement party, Suzie’s wedding, your clan’s family reunion, anniversary celebrations and many other landmark events in your life are discussed when the family comes together for turkey dinners and Yule tide cheer. Whether your venue is on Amelia Island, in Savannah, Georgia, or Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, we have a few pointers from a professional wedding and event music coordinator. Here is the scoop from a true insider in the music industry.
How many people are on your guest list?
Depending on the number of guests you are expecting, you may prefer to hire a violin soloist, a duo with a flute and a piano, or a trio consisting of a flute, a viola and a cello. For the more intimate gathering with less than 50 or 75 guests, a duo or a soloist will do the trick. You do not want the music to overpower your celebration. The music and the guest list should be balanced. In a smaller room, guests should be able to carry on a conversation while the music balances the ambiance of the room. A longer guest list means you will be using a larger room and there is more area for conversation and music to mingle, permitting you a trio or possible a small jazz ensemble or an added vocalist.
What price have you allocated in you budget?
Prices by a reputable music coordinator are already established depending on the talented musicians you are requesting, whether they are a classical guitarist, a harp or a pop band, they expect to receive an established fee to perform. Some instruments are more expensive to hire than others. For example, having a harp soloist perform on the beach is nearly impossible because of the size of the instrument alone and Harpists are generally paid more because of the cumbersome size of the instrument alone.
You need to establish a price in your mind for live music. Of course the higher your budget, the more versatile your options will become. If you are thinking a classical trio, don’t give up if it is out of your budge, consider a duo instead. The combination of the right instruments to fit the atmosphere you are trying to create is more important than the number of musicians. If you honestly discuss your budget and desires, a music coordinator will openly discuss pricing options.
What kind of music are you looking for?
Often this is the first question you will hear from a music coordinator. Are you interested in strictly the classics? Maybe more of a jazz or blues crossover is what you had in mind. Be up front with your expectations. Many musicians specialize in a distinct discipline of music. Do not expect a classically trained musician to suddenly break out in Cyndi Lauper‚Äôs Girls Just Want to Have Fun. There are plenty of ensembles available to fit your tastes. If you want your entertainment to play a little classical, some jazz and some traditional Christmas music for example, then you need to speak up so versatile musicians are booked.
Pegge has been coordinating live music for events since 1993 for a variety of events:
Wedding Ceremony, reception and rehearsal dinners
Cocktail Hour, Office parties, grand openings, seminars and retreats
Engagement and anniversary parties
Religious, tradition and national holiday events
Charity events and dedication ceremonies
Baptisms, memorial and funeral services
She has found that no matter what type of event you are planning, the music for your event sets the tone and is one of the most important choices you will make, and it helps to ask questions. Pegge has a Bachelor degree in Flute Performance from the University of Florida and a Master of Arts in Teaching Music Education from Jacksonville University. Not only is she extremely charming, she is one of those rare breeds that actually makes a living from her music degree and has been performing for over 20 years.
How far in advance should you book live entertainment?
Anyone who books musicians in the entertainment industry has a list of reputable and reliable musicians they call upon on a regular basis. The sooner you confirm your live entertainment, the more assured you are to get exactly what you desire. Those at the top of the list are favored and get booked first, it is that simple. This doesn‚Äôt mean the flutist at the bottom of the list is of less ability than the flutist at the top of the list, the ones at the top are often the easiest to work, geographically they may be in a better location for a popular venue, or they have the most experience in the specialty you are looking for, such as the bagpipes. Some instruments just don‚Äôt have as many musicians to select from. Though the June wedding you are planning for 2010 may be the best ceremony in the entire world, there will be many other June brides who may have already booked every single harpist in the region. Honestly, how many harp players do you know?
The best advice Pegge shared with me was to call and ask questions. A music coordinator does exactly that, they coordinate your music. Even if you have not set the exact date for your event, call and speak with someone who can give you free advice, tips and ideas to make your celebrated occasion spectacular! If you have any questions that I didn‚Äôt cover, send Pegge an email at email@example.com, she has graciously offered to answer your individual questions personally.