Thursday, December 15, 2011

Interview Questions for your Wedding Musicians

Wedding musicians help make an ordinary wedding into an extraordinary event. Wedding musicians specialize in being able to play a number of musical instruments that an ordinary person can not play, music that is heard rarely, creating a musical mood, a mood that makes the special occasion more memorable.

Wedding musicians include flutists, pianists, organists, harpists, violinists, brass bands, jazz groups, show bands, string quartets, guitarists, and vocalists. These musicians will either play for your wedding ceremony or wedding reception or both. At the ceremony musicians might play prior to the start of the ceremony, to play music for guests while being seated. They traditionally play music to accompany the entrance of the bridal party and bride as well as recessional music at the close of the ceremony. They may also play hymns or provide accompaniment for singers during the ceremony.

At wedding receptions you might consider groups or bands of performers that might include several types of instruments and vocal performers adding a touch of sophistication and class to complement the wedding experience in order to make your wedding a luxurious and memorable event in which will evoke a memory your wedding guests. An event which will always be remembered and put the wedding couple into a romantic mood that was created from a musical mood.

There are many music groups that are great, but be wary some music groups are not so great. some provide music that does not match the musical tastes of the wedding couple and wedding guests, some music is not appropriate for a wedding, and some groups might be good but don't act in a professional matter which is expected at a wedding. The right questions need to be asked, sometimes music scores requests need to be verified, that the musicians are capable of music requested, the musicians should be checked out in person, that they put on a good performance and act professionally at all times at your wedding, they are not a group that is more focused on break time than in entertaining your wedding guests.

Make sure what you are looking for from the wedding musicians is stated in the contract, it's not just a verbal agreement.

Interview Questions for your Wedding Musicians
1-Get a business card if you can, what is the name of the musician's agency or studio, their address, their phone number, and their website address if they have one?
2-Who is the wedding musician's point man, what is his name, phone number, and an email or other contact reach number?
3-Is the wedding musician's available to play the date of our wedding? (if not can we change the date of the wedding, if not the interview is over)
4-What type of music do the wedding musicians play? what type of music is the music group capable of playing?
5-What type of musical instruments is in the musician's repertoire?
6-How many years has the agency or studio the wedding musician's have been working been in existence?
7-How much experience does the point man have? how much experience does each musician have?
8-How many weddings have the wedding musicians performed at in their career? in a year? in a week? the week of our wedding?
9-How many people in the music group? what are the names of the people in the music group? (names asked often people ask about contacting musicians and sometimes equipment is accidentally left behind)
10-What percentage of your business is dedicated to weddings versus other events?
11-Do they work full time or part time performing weddings? if part time, what else do they do in the time they are not playing weddings?
12-How much time do the wedding musicians spend practicing together? do you have a set time for practicing?
13-Do you guarantee that they're the ones performing if we contract with them?
14-Can we see the wedding musicians perform in a live performance? can we see a video of them in action?
15-Do the wedding musician's have specials need at a venue? do they need special lighting? certain type of electrical outlets? any other needs?
16-Are the wedding musicians familiar with our wedding ceremony site or reception facility? should we meet together to review positioning and setup needs?
17-What is the musicians playing time and time between breaks?
18-How many sets do the wedding musicians play at a wedding reception?
19-Are you willing to play extra sets? how much money is required for overtime?
20-Is the music group capable of playing recorded music during music breaks?
21-What is the normal time for a wedding musician's gig? (normally 4 hours)
22-Is there a chance the musicians will be playing at multiple gigs the day of our wedding?
23-How much time is needed for the wedding musicians set-up and take down?
24-How are the wedding musicians typically dressed for the wedding? how are they dressed when setting up before the wedding?
25-Can they play specific requested selections from the bride and groom? might we need to purchase music sheets that we are asking for them to play selections at our wedding?
26-For requested music, can we hear them play the music a week or two before our wedding?
27-Can they play specific requested selections by our wedding guests?
28-Can they review the music selections with us that they plan on playing at our wedding?
29-Do the wedding musicians use a cordless microphone?
30-Are they willing to play to play both at the wedding ceremony and wedding reception?
31-Can one of the wedding musicians act as master of the ceremonies?
32-Can the wedding musicians provide additional entertainment? games?, jokes?, dance-offs?
33-Can the wedding musicians handle the first dance? bride-father dance? groom-mother dance? bouquet throw and garter throw?
34-Can the musicians handle both indoor and outdoor weddings? do they have specific needs to handle outdoor weddings?
35-Can the musicians play any time of the day or night?
36-What is the minimum and maximum amount of performance they require?
37-In the musician's repertoire, do they have special music for children?
38-Do the musicians have access and can they provide a dance floor if asked?
39-How many musical selections or songs in their music library?
40-What would be the costs for their performance? any hidden fees?
41-Are there travel costs for the musicians? do they expect tips? how are tips distributed amongst the musicians?
42-Do the musicians expect to be fed and provided with drink before or after the reception?
43-What would happen if we backed out of the contract?
44-Does the wedding group offer discounts? bridal discounts?
45-Does the contract include a 3 day cancellation clause?
46-What is the latest date to book the wedding group to insure they can perform at our wedding?
47-What are the payment terms and down payments required and when is final payment due?
48-What forms of payment due they accept? (credit card, debit card, certified check, personal check, cash, Paypal, other)
49-Does the agency or studio and musicians have liability insurance? can they provide a guarantee they will perform at the wedding?
50-Are the musicians members of any professional organizations?
51-Can we see and take a contract home to review it before signing it? if yes, how many days do we have to review the contract before signing?
52-Do you have backup equipment?
53-What happens if one of the wedding musicians gets sick or has a personal emergency the day of our wedding?
54-Does the music group display a banner or sign during their performance? (for a wedding this must not be allowed, it's a wedding you don't want advertisements showing up in wedding pictures?
55-Does the music group want to hand out business cards or offer to sell a CD at the wedding? (you should let the music group advertise business cards once midway through their performance kept in an index card box, CD's can be advertised at the same time, all kept neatly near where they are stationed)
56-Can the music group provide 3 referrals that have used them in the past year? (Need to talk to 2)
57-If the wedding reception facility allows it can we have a "crash the wedding party arrangement"?*

* A crash the wedding party arrangement is if you have special band music such as a dance band, show band, big band music, or jazz group, to help defray costs and after the formal part of the reception is over, outside guests are allowed into the reception, only the amount that fits into the reception facility. A bouncer is usually hired to collect money of outside guests. Proceeds are distributed 4 different ways (1/4th goes to the bouncer, 1/4th goes to the wedding reception facility, 1/4th goes to the wedding musicians, and 1/4th goes to the wedding couple for their honeymoon). Wedding guests are allowed to indulge in leftovers (wedding cake, buffeted desserts, coffee, wedding punch). A sign should be put on a table stating what leftovers are allowed for party crashers.

Make sure what is agreed to verbally is stated in the contract before signing, no contract no deal. If a musician is asked to play certain music for the wedding ceremony, help in getting the sheet music for the musician and be sure to hear the musician play the music for you a week or two before the wedding, to be sure he has perfected playing the music, you want no surprises of a poor performance at your wedding. If the wedding musicians are really good, offer to write them a recommendation for their website or offer to do a "Youtube: if they ask. When you check the music groups out, note what behavior they have at break time. Do they remain professional or have bad habits. Are they good for your wedding or are they musicians behaving badly. Do they put in the required time it states in a contract or do they waste a lot of time. Last point, choose a wedding group in which you like the style of music.

See you on the other side!

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