There are many beautiful classical pieces string wedding music. These are what I believe are the ten most popular for wedding ceremonies.
String wedding music is elegant and understated. It stands alone and creates a sophisticated elegant mood. To add royal grandeur to the bridal entrance, add a fanfare before the bride on fanfare trumpets or add a trumpet, organ, brass quartet or quintet to the bridal processional song. I have suggested songs below that this works especially well with.
- Canon in D by Pachelbel This beautiful and elegant song has a calm sophisticated sound. It is commonly called Pachelbel’s Canon and is often seen spelled in its original German spelling of kanon. Because of its mellow sound it is often used for bridesmaids or for brides that would like an understated elegant entrance rather that a grand royal entrance. This song is probably the most famous string wedding music.
- Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach You may not be familiar with the name of this song but I think almost everyone will recognize it. It is understated and elegant and can be used for mother’s seating, bridal party or for an elegant bridal entrance.
- Wedding March by Mendelssohn This song is the traditional song for the recessional (bridal party exit music at the end of the wedding ceremony). You will recognize this one right away. Most Catholic and some other churches do not allow this song because it is not a sacred song.
- Bridal Chorus also known as Here Comes the Bride by Wagner This is the most traditional song for the bridal processional and is familiar to everyone. It is so recognizable that it is only used for the bride and would not be a good choice for the bridal party. I think if it was used people would stand, expecting the bride. Most Catholic and some other churches do not allow this song because it is not a sacred song.
- La Rejouissance by Handel This grand piece is used for processionals and recessionals. Adds a royal flair to your wedding. Some brides and grooms add brass or organ to bump it up another notch.
- Trumpet Voluntary, J. Clarke This wedding song is also commonly know as The Prince of Denmark March. You will also find the Trumpet Voluntary incorrectly listed as being composed by Purcell. It is often confused with Trumpet Tune which is another wedding song. The Trumpet Voluntary is most commonly performed on the trumpet but sounds elegant performed by violin, string quartet and other string wedding ensembles. For a more grand entrance, add a trumpet to your string trio, string quartet or string orchestra.
- Air on the G String by Bach Often called Air from Suite in D, This subdued beautiful song will make your heart melt. Most often used for prelude, unity candle, sand ceremony, mother’s seating, it can be breathtaking for a bridal entrance.
- The Hornpipe from the Water Music by Handel This Upbeat Royal sounding music is used most often for the wedding recessional (the bridal party exit back down the aisle after the ceremony). This song couldn’t be more celebratory sounding. It is also occasionally used for the bridal party or bride processional. To make a jaw dropping celebratory song, add trumpet, organ, brass quartet or quintet.
- Ave Maria by Schubert This song is beautiful and reflective with a subdued quality. Used commonly for prelude, unity candle, sand ceremony and mother’s seating it is also used often for bridal party processional music and bridal entrance music. This song is perfect for church weddings and is a standard for Catholic weddings. There are many composers that have written songs named Ave Maria so make sure to specify to your wedding musicians. The Schubert Ave Maria is most often confused with the lesser known but also beautiful Ave Maria by Bach.
- A Little Night Music by Mozart This piece is most commonly referred to with its German name Serenade from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. This song will be very familiar to your guests. It can be used for all parts of the ceremony.
Two more popular string wedding music songs to consider
Trumpet Tune by Purcell and Rondeau by Mouret These two songs are best known for being performed on brass instruments but are very commonly played by solo violin, string quartet and other wedding string music ensembles. They are used for all parts of the ceremony except unity candle and sand ceremony. For extra grandeur and trumpet, organ, brass quartet or quintet.
Now it’s time to decide which wedding string ensemble is the best for your wedding. You may choose from everything from solo violin to string orchestra. Click here for tips for selecting the perfect string ensemble for you and lists of wedding string ensembles. For more wedding music tips & ideas visit our blog.
Want to have a wedding reception party that goes full steam until the end? Would you like your guests to say yours was the best wedding reception ever? Here are some suggestions for keeping the dance floor full, guests happy and the party going.
- Keep the dance floor small. The key to having your wedding reception be a great party all the way until the end is keeping the dance floor full. Guests are more likely to dance if they feel like they can’t be seen and they are not alone. A small packed dance floor is better than a large floor that cannot fill and leaves guests feeling intimidated. If guests have to dance off the dance floor it leaves the impression of how great your party was that your guests overfilled the dance floor.
- For the same reasons as using a smaller dance floor, darker lighting on the dance floor is better than bright light. Guests feel “on display”. Keep it darker and you’ll be keeping the dance floor full.
- Have your band where everyone can see them. Great bands are experts in keeping the dance floor filled and the party going, but it is more difficult if they cannot see and interact with your guests.
- Avoid letting the party peter out. End the reception while the party is going strong. Your guests will leave wanting more instead of thinking, “Let’s leave, I’ve had enough.” Their memories of your wedding will be about how fabulous it was.
- A basket of flip flops for guests to wear will help in keeping the dance floor full. Guests can only dance so long with dress shoes especially the women in high heels.
- Keep the bar open from after dinner until the end of the night. If the bar closes before the end of the reception, the party is likely to end.
- Make sure the bar is located near the dance floor so guests may quickly get a drink and return to the dance floor. Bottles or trays of water out near dance floor help dancers quickly refresh. Make sure the bar is set up near the dance floor but so that the line does not interfere with the dance floor.
- Having a closed room keeps guests from gathering in foyers and outdoors. Keep the doors closed and your guests won’t see others out of the room so they will tend to stay and dance. Closed doors keeps the focus on the dance floor and wedding activities. Open doors also flood the dance floor with light which will damper the party.
- Make sure guests have everything they need in the main room. If there is a lack of seating or the bar, food or desserts are in another room, guests leave. The other rooms are competing with the dance floor and creating other spaces to gather. Fewer guests in the room at one time leads to an empty dance floor. More guests in the room helps in keeping the dance floor full. No one wants to get up and dance when the dance floor is empty and it feels like the party is dying. Having dessert in another room often ends the party.
- Upbeat music keeps the party going. Good bands know how to pace songs.
- If you request that your band perform lesser known music it will be harder to fill the dance floor. People like to dance to music they know. A good band will play a variety of well-known music to get everyone of all ages on the dance floor. A good band will read the crowd and play the appropriate music to get everyone dancing.
- You’ve had a great relationship with your vendors preparing for your big day. Ask your wedding planner about ways to make sure everyone working at your reception feel appreciated. Vendors that are treated with great kindness and respect will go the extra mile to make your reception memorable.
- Avoid down time whenever possible after dinner. It’s easier to keep people dancing than to get them back up to dance again after the floor is cleared for an event. Think about having pictures taken before the reception, introductions and first dances before dinner, and speeches right after dinner.
- When it comes to vendors, experience is key. Vendors, including wedding reception bands, learn from every event they do and refine their services. Good service means happy guests. Happy guests dance.
- Older guests may not be used to loud music and have more sensitive hearing. Ensure they have a good time and seat older guests away from the dance floor/speakers.
- Make sure your band has great MC skills and has done many wedding receptions. You will need wedding party, toast, first dance, father daughter dance, mother/son dance, cut the cake, garter toss, bouquet toss and bride and groom exit announcements. You will also want MCing from the band to keep the party going. Great MCs will take requests, interact with the crowd, go out into the crowd to do line dances, talk with guests and let them sing-a-long on mic. They will also have a bag of tricks to use to get different guests on the dance floor. Our Music Remembrance Reception Band has everything from fun sing-a-longs and line dances to blowup guitars for guest to play on stage and hula hoops for 50’s music.
Looking for the perfect bride entrance song for your wedding? This list gives you lots of processional songs to choose from. The list is separated into two categories traditional bride entrance songs and modern entrance songs. Within each category are processional songs with a grand sound, romantic sound, joyful sound and others to choose from so you may find the perfect bride entrance song for your wedding.
Wedding Song ABC’s
When the bride walks down the aisle that is referred to as processing down the aisle. The bride entrance song is often referred to as the bridal procession song, bridal processional song, walk down the aisle song and bridal processional music. The bride entrance song can also be called a wedding processional song but the wedding parties processional songs are also referred to as wedding processional songs. The song for walking back down the aisle after the ceremony is referred to as the wedding recessional song.
Traditional Bride Entrance Songs
Bridal March by Wagner (Also called “Here Comes the Bride”)
Trumpet Voluntary (Prince of Denmark’s March) by Clarke
Trumpet Voluntary by Stanley
Canon in D by Pachelbel
Trumpet Tune by Purcell
Te Deum by Charpentier
Rondeau (Theme from Masterpiece Theatre) by Mouret
Hornpipe (Allegro Maestoso) from Water Music by Handel
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach
Ode To Joy by Beethoven
La Rejouissance by Handel
Rigaudon by Campra
Ave Maria by Schubert
Spring from the Four Seasons by Vivaldi
Winter from the Four Seasons by Vivaldi
Meditation from Thais by Massenet
Air On A G String by Bach
Sleepers Awake by Bach
Sarabande by Bach
Air on a G String by Bach
Nimrod from Enigma Variations by Elgar
Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral by Wagner
Coronation March for Czar Alexander III by Tchaikovsky
Overture from the Royal Fireworks Music by Handel
Promenade from Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky
Romeo and Juliet Love Theme by Tchaikovsky
Allegro Moderato from Romantic Pieces, Op. 75 by Dvorak
I Was Glad Charles Hubert Hastings Parry – used for Prince William & Princess Kate’s wedding
Clair de Lune by Debussy
Gymnopedies No. 1 by Satie
Highland Cathedral by Phil Coulter (Celtic)
Scotland the Brave (Celtic)
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by Handel
Air from Water Music Suite by Handel
Procession of Joy by Hopson
Wedding March from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart
Canzon V by Giovanni Gabrieli
Sinfonia from Cantata No. 156 by Bach
Toccata from L’Orfeo by Monteverdi
Trumpet Tune in A-Major by David N. Johnson
Con Moto Maestoso from Sonatas for Organ, Op. 65, No. 3 by Mendelssohn
All People That On Earth Do Dwell” (“Old 100th” hymn)
Dona Nobis Pacem (16th century hymn)
Hanava Babanot (Hebrew)
St. Anthony’s Chorale by Haydn
Hymn Fanfare from The Triumphant by Couperin
Scalero de Oro (Sephardic)
Ave Maria Virgo Serena by Josquin des Prez
Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen by Brahms
Appalachia Waltz by Mark O’Connor
Modern Bride Entrance Songs
(Performing artists listed rather than composer)
A Thousand Years, Christina Perri
Glasgow Love Theme, from “Love Actually”
La Califfa, Sarah Brightman
Paint the Sky with Stars, Enya
Grow Old with You, Adam Sadler
First Day of My Life, Bright Eyes
I’m Yours, Jason Mraz
First Day Of My Life, Bright Eyes
The Princess Bride, Mark Knopfler
Now That We Found Love, Heavy D & The Boyz (From the “Hitch” movie wedding scene)
Don’t Stop Believing, Journey, Vitamin String Quartet
For You, Kenny Lattimore
Moon River, Mancini
I Won’t Give Up, Jason Mraz
Here, There and Everywhere, The Beatles
1, 2, 3, 4, Plain White Tees, Vitamin String Quartet
Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours, Stevie Wonder
“Ho Hey”, The Lumineers
Bittersweet Symphony, The Verve
Somewhere Only We Know, Keane, Lilly Allen
Bless the Broken Road, The O’Neill Brothers
Songbird, Eva Cassidy
L-O-V-E, Nat King Cole
All You Need is Love, Beatles (More common as a recessional but used for processional)
Angel, Robin Thicke
Ribbon in the Sky, Stevie Wonder
This Ring, T. Carter Music
Holocene (Original Bon Iver), Vitamin String Quartet
The Prayer, The O’Neill Brothers
Here We Stand – T. Carter Music
Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Iz
I Won’t Give Up, Jason Mraz
To A Wild Rose, Edward MacDowell
Flatbush Waltz, Andy Statman
Here Comes the Sun, The Beatles
I Was Married, Tegan and Sara
The Look of Love, Dionne Warwick/Burt Bacharach
The Vow, Jeremy Lubbock
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, by Carole King
Dawn, Andrew Lapp
Boom Clap, Charli XCX
Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof
Wedding Processional from The Sound of Music
Andra Day – Rise Up
I hope that you find this list of bridal entrance songs helpful. Please let us know what you think. We love to hear from you!
If you can dream it we can provide it
For Romantic musicians, singers, ensembles and bands in Orlando contact Music Remembrance. http://www.MusicRemembrance.com | 407-240-3945 | Andrea@MusicRemembrance.com
There are so many wedding reception songs to choose from for your bouquet toss. You can choose from many styles of music and many themes. Some of the themes:
- Come & get it (the bouquet)
- Focused/driven (on getting the bouquet)
- Getting a man
- Fighting (over bouquet)
- Pretty or sexy ladies
Many of the songs are simply stating the theme. Some wedding reception songs are lighthearted and comical for the toss e.g.
- “Eye of the Tiger” (focused/driven theme)
- “Another One Bites the Dust” & “Love Is A Battlefield” (fighting over the bouquet theme)
- “It’s Raining Men” (getting a man theme)
Good wedding bands start with the chorus section of the wedding reception song. The chorus contains the title of the song so that everyone understands the connection to the bouquet toss.
Suggestions for selecting your themes and song
- What is the overall theme and vibe of your wedding and does the song reflect your style? e.g. Is your wedding sophisticated and classy? Is your wedding focused on being a party? Would something funny reflect your personal style? Make sure your song is suitable.
- Who are your guests? Is Grandma going to be uncomfortable if you have the ladies lined up with “I Wanna Sex You Up” playing or is there a better choice?
- Check out the lyrics of the songs you are selecting. Do they reflect your theme from for the bouquet toss song & wedding theme? Is there something offensive, insensitive to personal situations or unfitting for your wedding? An easy way to research this is to google the lyrics.
Wedding Reception Songs for the Bouquet Toss
A Little Less Conversation – Elvis Presley
All I Wanna Do – Sheryl Crow
American Woman – Lenny Kravitz
Another One Bites The Dust – Queen
Applause – Lady Gaga
Bad Boys – Inner Circle
Bad To The Bone – George Thorogood
Big Girls Don’t Cry – The Four Seasons
Bonnie & Clyde – Beyonce and Jay-Z
Boombastic – Shaggy
Brick House – The Commodores
Business Time – Flight of the Conchords
California Girls – Katy Perry
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe – Barry White
Candyman – Christina Aguilera
Chapel Of Love – Dixie Cups
Clumsy – Fergie
Come and Get It – Badfinger
Come and Get It – Selena Gomez
Cosmic Girl – Jamiroquai
Country Girl – Luke Bryan
Diva – Beyonce
Drunk Girls – LCD Soundsystem
Earned It – The Weeknd
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Feeling Good – Michael Buble
Findin’ A Good Man – Danielle Peck
For The Cool In You – Babyface
Four Kicks – Kings of Leon
Foxy Lady – Jimi Hendrix
Genie in a Bottle – Christina Aguilera
Get Lucky – Daft Punk
Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys
Girlfight – Brooke Valentine. Big Boi & Lil’ Jon
Girls – Beastie Boys
Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
Girls – Beastie Boys
Girls, Girls, Girls – Motley Crue
Glamorous – Fergie featuring Ludacris
Gunpowder and Lead – Miranda Lambert
Haven’t Met You Yet – Michael Buble
Here Comes The Hotstepper – Ini Kamoze
Hey ladies – Beastie Boys
Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor – Arctic Monkeys
I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me) – Jay-Z
I Know What Boys Like – The Waitresses
I Put A Spell On You – Creedence Clearwater Revival
I Wanna Sex You Up – Color Me Badd
I’m A Slave 4 U – Britney Spears
I’m So Excited – The Pointer Sisters
I’m Still A Guy – Brad Paisley
I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred
Independent Women Part 1 – Destiny’s Child
It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls
Jealous Guy – John Lennon
Just A Girl – No Doubt
Keep Your Hands To Yourself – Georgia Satellites
Killing Me Softly – Fugees
Ladies Night – Kool & The Gang
Lady Marmalade – Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Mya & Pink
Le Freak – Chic
Lisztomania – Phoenix
Little White Church – Little Big Town
You are planning a perfect romantic surprise or romantic evening. Maybe it’s a birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day or the day of your proposal. Hiring musicians for a romantic surprise in Orlando can make your night, a night, you both will always remember. Hiring musicians to play a romantic serenade will set the tone for the evening or be the big finish with musical romantic surprise.
Personalize romantic surprise serenades for the maximum effect
Coordinating the music to be a wonderful romantic surprise creates a huge impact for romantic serenades. Music Remembrance has created the most impactful surprises for years in Orlando for singing telegrams, music telegrams and romantic serenades by collecting details from our clients. We personalize the surprise in every way. Personalizing the music, personalizing the attire/costume, personalizing the surprise. Here are some examples that will give you some ideas for yours:
For one birthday, we coordinated with the restaurant and had our guitarist/singer pretend he was strolling and performing for the restaurant. He came out to the private patio with the birthday girl and pretended he was performing there next. He said “How would you like a little Michael Buble?” This was her favorite singer. He stated to sing “It’s a Beautiful Day” (her favorite song). She was smiling and singing along. We rewrote the lyrics for the last sections of the song. We changed the words to “It’s your birthday.” and the rest of the verse described how this was a surprise gift from her daughter. The mother started to cry and the daughter who couldn’t be with her on her birthday had a video of the whole thing in a few minutes.
For a romantic surprise proposal, a singer and guitarist came out at the soon-to-be fiance’s favorite restaurant performing a song that described their love, just as she got down on one knee. We coordinated with the restaurant who sat down champagne glasses seconds before we walked out.
For a birthday we chose and opera singer for an opera fan. His fiance was in another country and couldn’t be there for his birthday. She called him first thing in the morning to say Happy Birthday” just as we showed up and knocked on his door. When he opened the door the vocalist sang “Happy Birthday” operatic style. The singer included his fiance’s name in the song so that he knew it was from her. To heighten the impact, we had a cake with his name on it and personalized balloons in the singer’s hand. She got to see the whole thing because we filmed it for her.
Consider personalizing the romantic surprise with these ideas:
- What is your recipient’s favorite instrument? If they have one, use that!
- What is their favorite kind of music? Whether it’s country or classical choose instruments that play that kind of music and musicians that play it. Remember that with romantic music serenades in Orlando, the sky’s the limit. In Orlando, you may hire musicians on all instruments of any style. Orlando has everything from an opera singers, guitarists, violinists to dixieland and marching bands.
- Do they have a favorite song? Have that performed as a personal romantic surprise.
- Do the two of you have a “our song”. Definitely request that it be performed.
- If using a singer, would your recipient prefer that you chose a female or male singer to serenade them?
- If they have a favorite singer you can often get an impersonator e.g. Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra
- If you are using a special kind of music have the musicians dress the part. The sky’s the limit here.
Over the rainbow on ukulele, have them wear a Hawaiian outfit
German music, lederhosen and dirndl dresses
Birthday music, birthday hats and balloons
Punk Rock song, punk rock outfit1980’s song, 1980’s outfit
Popular musicians for romantic surprises
Our most popular musicians and ensembles that are requested for romantic surprises:
- Male & female vocalists
- Italian opera singers
- Guitar, Spanish, classical, pop & all styles
- Piano & vocalist
- Guitar & vocalist
- Pop bands
- Marching bands
For more romantic surprise ideas
If you can dream it we can provide it
For Romantic musicians, singers, ensembles and bands in Orlando contact Music Remembrance. http://www.MusicRemembrance.com | 407-240-3945 | Andrea@MusicRemembrance.com
These are my favorite wedding song lists and wedding music selection guides. I have chosen these because they are the most complete lists, with the exception of the “Top 2015 Wedding Songs”. I added this last one because brides and grooms selecting their music today will find this helpful. When selecting music I suggest starting with the “Traditional Wedding Ceremony Music” and “How to use Music for the Events of the Wedding Reception” so you may see how many songs you made be wanting for which parts of the wedding ceremony and reception. The song lists cover traditional, current and all styles of music. I hope that all brides and grooms and wedding planners will find these helpful. Please let us know in the comment section and feel free to” share”. Visit our blog for more wedding music tips and ideas articles.
Wedding Song Lists and Wedding Music Guides
I am a full-time freelance trombonist in Orlando Florida. I’ve learned over the years, in a dwindling market for live music, that there are many things that you can do to create work. More importantly there are many things that you as a freelance musician can do that will prevent you from getting work. This article will focus on the latter. I will go over the simple guidelines of gigging etiquette so you will not make mistakes that can cost you work. I will be doing a series of articles on this subject and will cover how to create more work in future articles.
Before I go over guidelines, here are what some successful working musicians think are actions and attitudes that prevent some musicians from being marketable, thus getting called for work.
“Probably the no. 1 thing that keeps some musicians from working is that they don’t understand that the goal is to make people happy or they do understand and they are not willing. ” – John DePaola
“Musicians don’t understand that the playing time is a small portion of the gig. Leaving time to load in, client relations, etc. are the more important factors.” – Willie Rast
“Complaining to the client, showing up late, not showing up at all, showing up unprepared, making up excuses why they are late, getting drunk on gig, showing up drunk, sleeping with someone in the band, giving out your business card to clients on someone else’s gig, complaining about gigs on social networks for clients, your bandleader and potential contractors to see, saying no to requests from clients, bad attitudes to clients.” – Dean Mosley
“Other than the obvious answers — habitually late, poor playing, personal dress/hygiene issues, conflicts with other musician’s on a gig — maybe not marketing oneself properly. I think that most musicians who aren’t working for an institution (orchestra,college gig, secondary and primary education, military, theme park, music industry) struggle with the fact that it’s not just how you play that’s important to creating a career. I think more and more musicians will need to create opportunities for themselves. So underestimating the market place and not making an adjustment to recognize that how you play isn’t always the most important part if your business.” – Paul Weikle
“Showing up late for rehearsals or for the gig, not actually being able to play the music well, being difficult to work with, being unprepared in general.” – William Hamilton
“Bad attitude and behavior.” – Gene De Lisa
“Be sober. Duh… ” – Robert Kelleher
“Never shake hands on stage. The client thinks the band lives together like the Monkees. They get nervous when they see band members meeting for the first time.”
“Going around the agent and talking to clients about using your group. Handing out your personal cards when working for an agent. Getting into food before being invited. Being late, drinking and smoking on stage, forgetting your gig clothes.” – Jim Lucas
“Asking questions about something that was already explained. Not offering help to bandleaders when they are clearly having an issue with something that you could help with.” – Chris King
Basic do’s and don’ts for being a more successful freelance musician
For this section I would like to make a note that some things may work differently in some cities depending on the number of musicians and other factors. From my experience as a free-lance trombonist for the last 25 years, these are the business practices and etiquette that I have observed in the most successful free-lance musicians.
One thing that I see over and over again is great players that are not able to make a living because of their lack of knowledge of business practices and etiquette. I will share several specific do’s and don’ts but most mistakes happen because musicians don’t observe a few basics:
1. Be considerate and responsible
2. Be nice
3. Be easily available
Be Considerate and Responsible
1. Be honest
Lying to get out of a gig so you can do another gig is not only wrong, you most likely get caught by the contractor or others who will see and no longer trust you. You are your word and your reputation.
2. Once you take a gig, be there
Don’t sub out to take another gig or for any reason but a true emergency.
(Even in the case of an emergency contractors often won’t believe you unless you have a long-standing reputation with them and you may burn that bridge. Years ago I had a reaction to anesthesia after an out-patient surgery that delayed me getting back to work. I had my first gig with a contractor. I found out from others that he figured that I was making it up and that I probably had another gig. I have never worked for him again.) That lets everyone know that your word is not good. No one will want to call you for work if they are afraid that you might bail. Put yourself in the contractor’s place. You take the gig and cancel three weeks later. At this point his/her second choice of players are no longer available but may have been when he/she called you. You can either have a reputation as someone who always does gigs that you take or doesn’t. It’s one or the other.
3. Be prepared
If you get music sent ahead of time, practice and be prepared. If there is going to be a conductor, over prepare so that you know the music and can really watch. As a woman, I see a lot of minorities and women that have trouble breaking in. One way to break through the barriers and stereotypes is to find out as much as you can about gigs you may do and be as prepared as possible. My theory has always been you can whine about injustice and give up, or you can work harder and try to change people’s closed minds by educating them when you nail the gig. You may only get one chance to prove yourself. Don’t blow it. Copy the book and learn it if possible. Another step in being prepared is always having the right equipment e.g. pencils, mutes, stand if needed, wind clips, doubles, extra power chords and cables, extra strings, extension chords, stand light if needed. Pencil is especially important of course when a rehearsal is involved. A bandleader/conductor may get upset if they are giving instructions and you are not marking the music. The consequence of not having one even if you remember the details given can be no return calls. When forgetting pencils and other equipment the musicians around you can take note and not want to recommend someone who seems irresponsible. I heard an unhappy bandleader make a comment recently regarding a young musician,, “The guy brought six beers and no mutes.”
4. Be on time
I often observe self-sabotage to great musician’s careers when they get a reputation for being late or not showing up. The leader doesn’t want to hear about the traffic, flat tire how you got lost or thought the gig was next month. They just want you there on time. Leave lots of extra time for mishaps and have your cell phone and the leader’s phone number and venue phone in case you truly can’t find the location. Don’t rely on your GPS. Look up the venue on a map before you leave. I use the satellite setting to see what the location, load in and parking look like as well.
Make sure that you know how long the gig is and how long it takes to get to the next gig. Don’t book things too close together leave extra time for overtime, traffic , etc.
Think about these things and develop a great reputation as someone who is always on time. You will often get work over a better musician that is sometimes late.
5. Be there
You must be meticulous about your schedule. When you accept gigs make sure that you have one calendar that has all pertinent information, gig distance , etc. Double check date with day of the week for mistakes. You may get asked to play Sat. the 25th but the calendar shows the 25th is a Sunday. Do they want you for Sat. the 24th, Sunday the 25th or are they looking at the wrong month? Be the one in the band to catch the mistake and avoid gig disaster for yourself and the contractor.
6. Dress correctly
If the gig is tux, wear a very nice tux. Suit when suit. How you look is often more important to people hiring the band than how you play. Wearing the wrong clothing or looking sloppy could lose the gig for the bandleader and they know if. It is a great way to develop a negative reputation and not get call backs. I see some of the greatest players not get much work because of this one facet.
7. Drugs & alcohol
This may have been more accepted during the be-bop era but there are fewer gigs and more highly trained musicians now. Gain the extra edge and don’t ever show up to a gig stoned or drunk. It only takes once to get a reputation and make contractors nervous about hiring you. It’s too easy to get someone who won’t breathe whiskey breath on a client or someone else that may complain.
The next group of “be considerate” tips could be referred to as the “be nice” rules
7. Don’t brag
Everyone is suspicious and annoyed by a name dropper or a “I played on this gig” dropper. Let your playing do the talking.
8. Don’t talk about your gigs
The musician next to you that has had a bad year and is really scraping by does not want to hear about how tired you are because this is your third or fourth gig today. Conversely, talking about how you don’t have any work may make a bandleader wonder why they are the only one hiring you. I’m equally amazed when I see the rude etiquette of a player pointing out that they got called before someone else for a gig.
9. Don’t gossip
Repeating rumors or saying negative things about musicians personally or professionally is not a good idea. Besides not being nice it often gets around that you said it. It’s a great way to make enemies and lose gigs.
10. Be positive
No one wants to work with someone who complains all the time. It brings everyone down. If you complain about the gig the contractor may hear about it and hire someone who appreciates the work more.
11. Be nice to everyone
If you can’t do that because it’s the right/nice thing to do, do it because the person that is hard to be nice to may contract gigs later or have influence over a gigs that you may need or want. Don’t ever burn a bridge. You will most likely regret it later when you may need work. Besides, if you are nice and fun to work with you get called and recommended for more work.
12. Don’t be too nice
Side-men and Side-women don’t appreciate it when you “suck up” to a band leader or contractor. Get gigs on the merits of your talent, preparedness, responsibility and easiness to work with. I recommend this especially to women because of the danger of even the appearance of “flirting your way into a gig”. This can diminish the respect others have of your ability and you can make enemies of musicians that wanted the gig. As a women some musicians are going to assume less of your abilities and are looking for this to validate their views. You can flirt your way into a gig but then the others on your instrument may be upset and not recommend you for gigs and you will have less work in the long run.
13. Play your role
Don’t let arrogance interfere with your ability to play your role. Know what your job is, do it to the best of your ability and don’t do others jobs. For example:
You are hired to play second trombone in an ensemble. Balance and match style whether or not you agree with the first players interpretation or skill level. Don’t let arrogance and inexperience lead you to try to lead when it is not your role. You will surely make enemies of the first player, their friends and anyone else that notices that you are interfering with proper music making. I could easy fill pages about musical violations caused by a musician’s arrogance, unkindness and/or personal immaturity but will save that for another article. Just to name a few here, rhythm players playing too busy, too loud and not listening or following soloist, adding things to the music out of boredom, high notes in bad taste, playing higher than lead player, not playing the style and ignoring the conductor, bandleader, or instrument in leadership role.
14. Giving advice or Instruction to co-workers
It is my personal opinion that in most cases it is inappropriate and disrespectful to tell others how to play when you are not the conductor/bandleader. You are all coworkers. Musicians should be able to listen and follow. If they are not good enough to do that telling them how to play probably won’t help anyway. If you choose to disregard this advice, you will often offend musicians and cause them to not recommend you.
15. Recommending musicians
If you are asked to recommend someone for a gig, take the opportunity to help someone get work. They may also return the favor. But, never volunteer who you wouldn’t use and why. You may be asked to recommend someone to replace someone. Run. You are helping them fire that person by setting up a replacement. I’ve seen this many times and there was always negative work consequences for the person recommending from the person that got fired and/or their friends.
16 . Respect others gigs
If you are on a gig subbing for someone and you are asked about joining the band or doing the next gig my response is always: Thanks for the work tonight, if name of person you are subbing for can’t make the gig I’ll be glad to help out. Make sure you are never “stealing” someone else’s gig. It’s the right thing to do and people will be thankful and respect you for it.
17. Don’t undercut Try to make sure that you are not working for less than other musicians on the same gig. I heard about a trumpet player that did not need the income who would offer to play for free putting other trumpeters out of work. He got gigs because of it but no one would recommend him for other gigs and he worked less in the long run. Recently a jazz trio had a steady gig and a larger group offered to play the same club for the same money. This lowered the pay per musician and undercut them out of a gig.
Basics about being available seem common sense but I’m amazed at the number of great musicians that ignore them and lose great amounts of work.
1.. Answer phone calls as immediately as possible.
2.. If you have two phone numbers (home and cell) check both messages very often
3.. Check and return e-mail as immediately as possible. I suggest a phone or device with e-mail.
4.. Have polite phone and e-mail etiquette.
5. Be polite and express gratitude for the job invitation.
6. Don’t tell a contractor/client that you are available but won’t do the job because…….(e.g. My friend and I have ticket to, I have a date)
When a contractor wants to use you it is a compliment to your playing. It is insulting to say that you’d rather go to the football game than play with/for them. It is especially annoying when they really need you for that gig or they are scrambling at the last-minute to get a player. Also remember that if you can help out a contractor by working a holiday or Superbowl Sunday they often will thank you with more work. Many of the groups that I now work for my first gig with them was Christmas or some other day that was especially hard to get players. It’s a great way to open a door.
These are a few of the common sense guidelines for gigging. If followed I believe you will develop a good reputation and get more work. If you examine them they boil down to: be honest, be kind, be considerate of others, be prepared and hard-working.
If you are wanting to freelance, please take some time and look around our website to see how we advertise our ensembles and soloists. Please leave us feedback if this article was helpful to you. Happy gigging!
For those planning their wedding music a good place to start is to know what the traditional pieces are for a wedding ceremony. There are two pieces that are the most traditional.
- Mothers/Grandmothers Seating Music: Pachebel’s Canon in D
- Bridal Party: Jesu,Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach (also commonly used: Trumpet Voluntary, by Clarke or Trumpet Tune by Purcell)
- Bride: Bridal Chorus by Wagner
- Sand Ceremony or other ceremony with music: Ave Maria, Schubert
- Recessional: Wedding March by Mendelssohn
Below is a list of pieces that often substituted for the traditional wedding music above. They are very commonly used and considered traditional wedding ceremony music too. When using traditional wedding music, it is customary to save the grandest pieces for the bridal processional and the wedding ceremony recessional. Some choose to have a somewhat grand and upbeat piece for the bridal party also, while others select something more subdued thus highlighting the bridal processional. Traditional music for the Mother’s/Grandmother’s seating and the background music for the sand ceremony and other ceremonies is more traditionally more subdued. Some couples that want to highlight the joy of the occasion and choose upbeat pieces for these also.
Common Alternate Selections for the Bridal Party Processional, Bridal Processional and/or Recessional
- Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach
- Canon in D by Pachebel
- Ode To Joy by Beethoven
- La Rejouissance by Handel
Alternate selections for Sand Ceremony or Mother’s Seating Music
- Ave Maria by Bach
- Ave Maria by Schubert
- Spring from the Four Seasons by Handel
- Winter from the Four Seasons by Handel
- Meditation from Thais by Massenet
Air On A G String by Bach
Have more wedding music questions? Please feel free to contact author Andrea Rowlison.
Looking for ways to save on your wedding music? Here are some great ways to save money.
Top 6 ways to save money on your wedding music
- Wedding music is charged by the number of musicians performing. To save money think of using a solo performer such as a guitarist, violinist, pianist or organist. If you would like an ensemble consider using a smaller one. Did you know that string trios and duos are available as a substitute for string quartets. Brass quartets are a wonderful substitute for the more traditional brass quintet.
- Some instruments are more expensive than others. This has to do with expense of the instrument and availability. Harp and bagpipes are some of the most expensive instruments and brass ensembles, solo trumpet and fanfare trumpets are some or the most economical.
- If you have the ability to have your wedding ceremony at a non-traditional time you can receive significant savings. Friday evenings and weekends are the most expensive. You can often save money by having a morning wedding on a weekend or a weeknight ceremony. If you are able to have a weekday wedding you will receive the highest discounts and can often save on many of your wedding vendors fees.
- Professional wedding musicians cost more than part-time musicians. This is one area where I would recommend spending money. It is better to have one great professional musician than a group of part-time musicians. With a full-time professional you are assured of professional musicianship, punctuality, proper attire and deportment, expertise in coordinating wedding music with wedding planners and officiants and expertise and experience in smoothly executing wedding processionals (walks down the aisle) with all sizes of wedding parties. Most people would prefer to hear a wonderful professional solo violinist rather than an out of tune, squeaky sounding string quartet. I feel that punctuality is probably one of the most important things to pay for. A musician that performs for a living understands that leaving enough time for traffic jams and flat tires is part of the job on your big day so that everything is perfect for you.
- If you are having music for your wedding ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, using the same musicians holds big savings. Here is one example: For the ceremony use solo classical guitar, the same versatile guitarist plays in a bass and guitar duo or performs solo jazz guitar for the cocktail hour and joins the all styles of dance music band for the reception.
- For wedding reception music use a band where the singers also play instruments. This saves personnel costs. e.g. Music Remembrance has a wedding reception quartet that performs all styles including the most current hits. The four instruments are guitar, bass, keyboard and drums and all four members are vocalist too.
Orlando wedding ceremony music selected today by most brides and grooms is personal to them. Most brides and grooms used to select from the same few traditional selections, e.g. “Here Comes the Bride”. Now it has become more popular to personalize your Orlando wedding ceremony music. Brides and grooms often pick wedding songs, wedding music ensembles or musical styles that are personal to them. If having unique and personal wedding ceremony music is something that you are thinking about, here are some fun and unique ideas.
- Have a dixieland band parade your wedding guests from your traditional ceremony to the wedding reception or cocktail hour location. This is a fun way to transition from a quite and romantic ceremony to a celebratory and party mood.
- Have a dixieland band parade the bride and groom down the aisle for the recessional after the wedding ceremony. This can be done instead of the dixieland parade to the reception if the reception site is too far for your guests to walk. This can also be done in addition to the parade to the wedding reception or cocktail hour location.
- Use nontraditional music for your Orlando wedding ceremony music. Many Orlando wedding couples choose to use music that is special to them rather than the traditional classical music. Music Remembrance had one couple that choose to have alternative 1980’s rock music like songs of “the smashing pumpkins” performed at their Orlando wedding ceremony. In order to make it more serious feeling and enjoyable for older guests they had the music performed by a classical guitar and bass duo. This way that had music that was unique and personal to them that still fit the tone they wanted to set for their wedding ceremony and their guests. If you are a jazz fan, romantic jazz ballads always make a beautiful edition to wedding ceremony music. They can be performed by vocalists or by instruments such as the trumpet, trombone, saxophone accompanied on piano or guitar. You could also have jazz ballads performed on solo guitar or solo piano.
- Use traditional music on nontraditional instruments. If you are a fun couple that would like to do something unique you may elect to have traditional classical wedding music played on nontraditional instruments. Electric guitar or electric guitar duo, electric guitar and bass duo, small rock band, singer with electric guitar, traditional organ with an oboe, english horn, french horn or other nontraditional instrumental soloist, bagpipe ensemble, solo bagpipe (has a limited classical repertoire), accordion, blue grass band, banjo or steel guitar are just a few choices.
- Use instruments that are special to you. If you met your fiancé at a concert, if you met your fiancé in a school band or at a concert, or if one or both of you play instruments you might consider using those instruments. If you met at a John Mayer concert you could use a guitarist/singer that performs his music. If one of you played trombone and the other piano a trombone and piano duet might be a fun and unique choice that your guests will enjoy.
- Ethnic music is a great way to personalize your Orlando wedding ceremony music. If you have an ethnic background or would like to pay tribute to a grandparent or parent from another country, Ethnic music can be so personal and unique. You can choose from using the style of music, the authentic ethnic instruments or both. I have yet to see a German band at a wedding so you could be the first in Orlando.
Whether you choose traditional music or something unique and personal for you, your Orlando wedding music will help set the tone and make your ceremony a day to remember.