Two Benefits of Playing Weddings

In addition to giving you the opportunity to make an impact on a couple’s special day, weddings have two HUGE benefits: Networking with day-of coordinators and venue staff. For the coordinators and planners, this is their livelihood and this won’t be the only wedding they’re doing all year. Do well and you’ll lay the foundation for repeat business. In the same vein, the venue staff likely does more than weddings. If it’s a winery they will host parties, tastings, and possibly a small concert series.

Day-of Coordinators and Planners

Ideally, you should already be proactive and in touch with the wedding planner well before the big day. If you’re primarily communicating with the couple, I’d recommend asking them for the contact info of their event planner and reaching out in advance of the ceremony. Even if it’s just to introduce yourself, it shows responsibility and makes their job easier. In your email you should:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Link your website
  • List songs to be played for Processional and Recessional
  • List estimated song duration
  • Confirm venue address and start time

All of this can be taken care of in a few sentences and makes coordination smooth. Not to mention, if you’ve already struck a favorable impression before the wedding, you’re well on your way to repeat business. Making the music portion of the event planner’s job a breeze is gigging with ease.

Venue Staff

At large venues you’ll come into contact with a variety of staff. Everyone from waiters and waitresses to the venue’s event team and managers. Always, always, always introduce yourself to everyone and offer to help out with set-up (you arrived early, remember?) Even if you eat free or get a bottle of wine on the house – tip the bartender or waitstaff generously. With venue staff you should:

  • Exchange contact info
  • Ask about upcoming events
  • Email a thank you a few days after the event
  • Send them your website/press kit

These are two massive benefits of playing weddings and need to be followed to a T. Experience builds momentum, which in turn puts you in touch with more and more people who are eagerly waiting to hire you for their event.

Happy Gigging

A Wedding Game Changer

As a gigging musician – especially while in or just out of school – a huge chunk of events you play will be wedding ceremonies. This is good news – tons of people get married every day, the events are usually straightforward, and it’s an easy opportunity to wow guests and make connections.

Now here is where a game changer comes into play. I recently stumbled across www.theweddingreport.com and found a wealth of information about weddings in my area. There is an abbreviated free version and you can also pay a fee for a full report. The report is an exhaustive study including breakdowns by age, total wedding cost, and vendor fees.

What to look for:

  • Couple Spending by Location
  • Number of Weddings by Zip Code
  • Amount Spent on Music/DJ/Entertainment
  • Vendor Fees

 As an example, the report shows the average fee of a string duo for weddings in 2014. It gives a clear breakdown of the amount of string duos hired (vendors) organized by price – this gives you an easy way to see if what you charge is in line with what brides expect to spend.

Further detail: In the San Francisco Bay Area there were 27,856 weddings in 2013 alone with an average wedding cost of just under $40,000. Yes, you read that right. With a market value of $1.1 Billion, it’s safe to say business is a-boomin’.

I’m not going to spoil the rest of the details, but with a bit of research this report can change the game in giving perspective on things like how much should you charge relative to location, popular venues, and couple’s spending trends. It’d be extremely foolish to overlook this tool and fail to adapt your booking techniques to the market.

The Importance of Creating Good Habits

After taking a break from the blog while finishing school, I’m back into the swing of things. This post is all about the importance of creating good habits that set the stage for future success. An effective mindset is one that assumes the end result will be the culmination of all the small steps taken towards said end. Granted, life does throw us curveballs and failure is there as a teacher, however, in the end, you are what you repeat.

Here are a few habits I hold myself to every day that pay off whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out.

Practice Scales and Technique

This should be a no-brainer. Even just 10 minutes a day starting slow with the metronome will go a long way to developing ease and comfort on any given instrument. Remember – the purpose of practice is to make things feel as easy and natural as possible.

Send 5 Emails a Day

 If I want to be lazy and watch TV or wander down the YouTube rabbit hole, I ask myself “did you send your 5 emails?” If the answer is “No,” – I get straight to work. It’s easy to get overzealous with this one, but 5 emails everyday adds up to over 30/week and over 100/month. For me, I target local venues and past clients – anything more and you’ll flood the market.

With an investment of a mere 20 minutes, you’ll find it’s an easy way to get leads, keep in touch with past venues, and keep your fans updated on your upcoming projects.

Set Clear and Attainable Goals

Always refine what it is you are working on. Not just wishy-washy “I want to play at XYZ someday” or “I want to learn XYZ song.” Break that end goal into simple, small steps where results can be measured. As an example, I’m working on a new CD – both writing music and recording the songs. I set a specific schedule where I work on one piece every two-three days and set a firm timeline for the project. Therefore, “I want to play XYZ” becomes “I want to record XYZ by next Thursday.”

If you start with these simple steps and keep track of what you practice, who you email, and have a timeframe for any project you are working on, your work will pay off and the snowball effect will generate massive momentum. Remember that we’re often bombarded with “moments of success” on TV and media – someone wins American Idol, a video goes viral, a band gets a big break, a star athlete dominates a sport. What we don’t see is the countless hours of preparation that lead to that point – and this is where proper habits come in.

So are your habits hurting or helping you?

The Importance of Having a Website

A website is basically a 24/7 advertising tool to an innumerable audience.  It can be viewed across the world at any hour of the day or night and serves as an online billboard for your business.  Anytime a student asks me, “what do you need to do to start getting gigs?”  I always answer: “you need a website.”  With millions of sites added daily and millions of people using the internet at any given second, it’s your best shot for being “found” and keeps contacts current on career updates.

 Get a Website

Before you expect students and concert presenters to fill your inbox with emails, you have a solid year to look forward to of little to no traffic on your website.  Your site will be the online version of a billboard hung above a seldom-travelled backwoods road; however, you have to start somewhere.  This is why I recommend every musician – even if all they have is a photo and an old mp3 – put something online as a placeholder.  You can always update the layout later, but you want people to have someplace to go should they look you up on Google. 

The Essentials

  • A Good photo with your instrument that lets viewers know what you’re about immediately
  • A brief Biography that highlights your accomplishments
  • Sound and video clips
  • Contact information 

There are a ton of free options such as WordPress, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn that can be up and running within 10 minutes – there is no excuse not to have some sort of online presence in this day and age.  In addition to the free options available, there are several companies that offer dirt cheap domain registration and hosting. 

Hosting Companies

My personal website is hosted by iPage.  It’s super simple to use and, for the most part, I’m happy with it.  With “Drag and Drop” builder, no knowledge of HTML coding is necessary,  and all you need are the text, photo, or sound files you want to upload from your computer.  Some reputable companies that offer simple hosting are:

 http://www.ipage.com/ipage/index.html

http://www.hostgator.com/

http://www.godaddy.com/

http://www.weebly.com/ 

I am not an affiliate of any of these companies.  I only offer these links as a route to finding different hosts.  As a musician – set yourself a goal and put up a website – even if its just a picture and brief bio – as soon as possible.  Later down the road you’ll thank yourself. 

 

Protip: Anniversary Follow-up

Early on I used to compartmentalize performances and events into separate categories. They were divided by the companies that hired me for corporate events, small recitals, and couples who hired me for their wedding. I viewed myself as a guitarist who just so happens to play weddings, and thought of the different events as a separate life in comparison to my “serious” performances.

What I realized was that one great way to keep in contact with past clients and get them to come to your next concert is to follow up via email. I don’t recommend blindly adding everyone to your email list, as most of the time it will feel spammy and end up in the trash folder. However, always follow up immediately after a gig with a short “thank you” email.

For weddings you can take this one step further. I’ve found that the thoughtful gesture of emailing the bride/groom on their first anniversary to be a HUGE success. Simply wish them a happy first anniversary and remind them how much fun you had playing for their big day. Ask them what their plans are for the future and in a sentence or two, let them know about your upcoming CD or concert. This is a great way to stay in touch and I’m sure they’d love to hear you play again – after all, you did play for their Big Day!

This demonstrates professionalism, friendliness, and thoughtfulness all in one short email. I’ve even mailed a free CD to a bride’s mother completely out of the blue. The result was she mailed me a surprise bottle of wine and referred me to another couple who is getting married. In order to use this successfully, it will require you to be a bit more established and be at least a year into the game. It’s crucial to have this level of commitment because eventually, you will soon have just as many anniversary emails to send as you will for new bookings.

Hope this helps – how do you keep in touch with past clients?

Multiple Income Streams

In order to achieve some level of financial stability, every musician will leverage a variety of income sources to make ends meet and eventually break through to higher earning potential. The degree to which each category will be leveraged will largely depend on factors such as individual personality, career goals, style of music, and networking. The three biggest income streams for a musician can be broken down as follows: Teaching, Performing, Sales.

Teaching

Being a music teacher is by far the most stable hat a musician can wear, and this is serves as the foundation for world-class performers teaching masterclasses at Conservatories or Universities and serves as a steady start for the young teacher at the local music store. As you gain experience performing and word of mouth spreads about the success of your students, your studio will fill and your rate will gradually increase.

In major cities, by far the best place to teach is after school programs. You simply set up an interview with the principal or music teacher and then find out if there are any students interested in afterschool music lessons. You won’t get more than a couple kids per day, but the benefits are great: you can command a higher rate, cherry pick interested students, no charge for renting a studio, and parents will jump at the opportunity to keep their kids occupied instead of sitting around waiting for the bus or in study hall. If you’re worried about getting started and have no experience, the most effective way to get your foot in the door is to substitute teach for a friend (again – network!)

Performing

Who are we kidding? Getting on stage and playing is the reason most people pick up an instrument. Unless you’re already booked at the Met or solo regularly with orchestras around the world, performing will serve as a high but often unpredictable source of income. Concerts, background music, weddings, corporate events, and church services all count as a way to boost your income and get you playing for people. In order to get started you will need a website and a couple mp3s at the bare minimum and can expect to take about a year to get yourself up and running and no longer “paying your dues.”

 Some people like to look at their income as primarily teaching-based with performance as a bonus. This will gradually shift as you gain experience performing and once you find yourself turning down more events due to your teaching schedule, it will be time to evaluate your approach, crunch the numbers, and re-focus your streams.

Sales

This includes T shirts sold at concerts, CDs, mp3s, sheet music, iTunes, and downloads. Personally, this is the weakest of my income streams with performing shifting into the strongest stream over the past two years. I always bring CDs to sell to any event and all musicians should utilize sales as an income source. If you have a huge Facebook following or your band is a local favorite, you need to have something fans can purchase. Additionally, having a CD or mp3s you send concert promoters or include in your press kit is a must.

Part 2: Good Habits for Developing your Business

Although reaching an elite level of artistry takes years of hard work and dedication, the market is nonetheless saturated with an impressive number of highly qualified artists on every instrument. Today, the musicians who distinguish themselves are the ones who, in addition to maintaining a high level of artistry, have outstanding interpersonal skills and business habits. While the basics of professionalism go without saying (e.g. show up on time and be prepared), it is worth addressing a few of the business-side habits that will set you apart from the competition.

1. Be Involved
I have never been a proponent of the term “networking,” per se. It’s a nebulous, all-encompassing word that can take on any variety of meanings depending on your perspective. To some, “networking” simply means seeking out opportunities to be in the same room as others in your field; others perceive it as behaving like a used car salesman with an over-rehearsed elevator speech about what makes your product so unique.

Instead, I like to think about “involvement.” Frequent places and events where your type of work goes on. Interact with others who do what you do, especially if they are at a more advanced place in their career than you are. Think about engaging actively rather than existing passively; if you cross paths with someone in your field whose work you respect, there is nothing wrong with being friendly and introducing yourself. There is a good chance you will be crossing paths with them again, and it will be nice to see familiar faces going forward. If you genuinely make an effort to get involved, you will find yourself forging real friendships with your professional colleagues before you know it.

It should go without saying, but always conduct yourself professionally and courteously, even toward colleagues you perceive as having little to contribute to your career development. Every musician you encounter will have something to offer and something you can learn from them; plus, you never know who might surprise you by sending a gig your way or putting in a good word with a contractor. Make an effort to meet as many colleagues in your market as possible, and be kind to all of them. Your reputation for being a friendly person will go a long way.

2. Carry Business Cards, Make Connections, and Follow Up
Always have business cards on hand. They should be tame but not boring, informative but not overwhelming, and provide the recipient with a unique way to remember their interaction with you. I choose to include my picture on my business cards. That way, somebody I meet on a gig need only glance at the card in order to remember who I am, even if the extent of our interaction is a handshake and a fifteen-second conversation after the show. These encounters form the basis for growing your professional network and give potential employers the opportunity to put a face to a name – you never want to appear unprepared.

On a related note, if you have a particularly good conversation with someone you meet on a gig, follow up with them by email. Even if it’s just to say that you enjoyed meeting and playing with them, a follow-up email is a nice gesture that will keep you on their radar.

3. Set Business Goals
Whether you hope to give a certain number of performances in a given year, command a certain dollar amount per performance, record a CD, or increase your teaching studio to a certain number of students, writing down concrete goals will increase your chances of reaching them. Nothing happens overnight, but setting goals can give direction to efforts that might individually seem inconsequential. Creating timelines for reaching your goals can provide motivation and give you a meaningful way to quantify and track your progress as you forge ahead.

4. Maintain a Current, Professional, Online Presence
Your website is the public’s window into your work and your career. It should be the most comprehensive, centralized resource for making your media, biography, schedule, and contact information available to those who might be looking for it. As artists, we are trained to pay attention to even the smallest details; if someone browsing your website sees that your list of “upcoming events” hasn’t been updated since 2011, they will understandably question your attention to detail, and maybe even your dedication to your career. Take pride in your website. If you keep it current and informative, visitors will appreciate it. Consider adding a blog or other regular update mechanism; if content is updated regularly, visitors will have a reason to return to your site again and again.

5. Seek Advice When Necessary
Nobody ever said running a business was going to be easy, and yet that is essentially what you will be expected to do, all while maintaining the highest level of artistry. Whether you’re unsure of how to copyright a new song, avoid infringing on the copyright of another, navigate a contractual relationship with a venue or publisher, collect royalties, or take advantage of the tax consequences of depreciating your instrument and deducting business expenses, there are resources available to assist you. Whether you need the guidance of a professional or simply the advice of another musician who has already faced the issues you’re dealing with, there is no harm in seeking help when you need it. Consider it a part of your continuing education. Not only will soliciting this sort of advice help you navigate your own career, but you may also find yourself in the position of being a resource for others in the future.

The Bottom Line
The above lists are not exhaustive. There is always more you can be doing to enhance your career and reputation, both with and without your instrument, and building a successful career takes time and consistency. These days, being an exceptional performer is a given; the artists who are truly able to distinguish themselves are entrepreneurial thinkers with robust professional networks and a commitment to the good habits necessary to develop both their art and their business. If you begin to consciously allocate time and effort to implementing those habits, you will be laying the groundwork for a successful career as a musician who is valued and respected by presenters, colleagues, audiences, and the community at large.

Frank Gulino is a composer, bass trombonist, and entertainment attorney living in the Washington, DC, area. As a composer, his works have been commissioned, recorded, and performed by some of the world’s foremost brass soloists, chamber groups, and symphony musicians at venues such as the Kennedy Center, the U.S. Capitol, and conservatories and universities around the world. As an attorney, Frank practices in the Entertainment and Music Industry Law group at Berenzweig Leonard, LLP.

Implementing Good Habits to Take Charge of Your Career

The following is the first of a two-part Guest Post by good friend and fellow musician Frank Gulino. In this first excerpt, Frank addresses the importance of practicing effectively. Frank is a trombonist with the Capital Wind Symphony, composer, and entertainment lawyer based outside DC. His website can be found here.

Musicians are among the most gifted, dedicated, educated, focused, and hardworking individuals you will ever encounter, and yet so many of them find themselves struggling professionally. There are a multitude of unfortunate reasons for this, including the declining number of professional opportunities, heightened levels of competition, and the systematic under-compensation of musicians across the board. One phenomenon in particular, however, stands out: the “art” of music and the “business” of music are more disparate today than they have ever been, and too many musicians focus exclusively on developing their art rather than taking the time to develop both facets.

When I say that the “art” of music and the “business” of music have diverged, what I mean is that it is now appreciably more difficult to make a living in music by working for someone else than it has been in the past, making it more necessary for today’s musicians to be entrepreneurial thinkers rather than solely artists. As recently as two decades ago, there were many more opportunities for symphony musicians, more tenure track professorships in music, packed orchestra pits on Broadway, full big bands on cruise ships, and live music was ubiquitous. There were enough opportunities that, by perfecting your art, it was feasible to win the audition or land the pit orchestra job without having to be especially entrepreneurial or business-minded. In recent years, however, with orchestras folding, tenure track professorships being replaced by adjunct positions, and the widespread use of synthesized theater music, opportunities to be employed by someone else in the music field have become few enough that simply being the best player or interviewee is no longer the most consequential determinant of whether or not you succeed at making a living in music.

While artistic qualification and ability can still carry the day at the very highest echelons of the profession, the vast majority of musicians will need to allocate considerably more time to developing their “business” than they realize. Today, musicians have to be more prepared than ever before to work for themselves. And, as with almost anything else, the implementation of good habits is key.

Good Habits for Developing Your Art
1. Practice

There is no substitute for spending time with your instrument. No cutting corners, no feigning familiarity with the repertoire, no fooling anyone into thinking you’re prepared when you aren’t. Music directors, colleagues, and audiences alike will see through a lack of thorough preparation sooner or later. Practice smart and practice enough, but keep in mind that practicing your instrument is just one part (albeit an important one) of building your career.

I am a proponent of breaking up the day’s practicing into three sessions when possible. By practicing once in the morning, once during the day, and once in the evening, your body and mind will get past unhelpful conceptions such as the belief that “I can’t play first thing in the morning!” or “I never sound good this late at night!” You never know when you’ll be the person assigned to the 8:00 a.m. audition slot, or whether that wedding reception your band just got hired to play is going to last all night. Those become non-issues when you are accustomed to playing your instrument at any time of day.

2. Improve Your Concept
Two players of identical innate ability and practice habits will be readily distinguishable from in front of the audition curtain if one has made a conscious effort to inform and improve his or her concept of sound, while the other has never given thought to the matter. Listen to the best recordings you can, attend live performances, study with great teachers, and continue to refine the sound you desire. Take advantage of comp tickets, and familiarize yourself with the variety of genres and styles in which your instrument is used. The more you listen to great artists, the more you will be able hone your individual concept of sound. The informed desire to sound a particular way is what will ultimately set you apart from everyone else who plays your instrument.

3. Stay Healthy
Music is more of an athletic pursuit than many give it credit for. Sooner or later, eating poorly, neglecting exercise, and depriving oneself of sleep will all have an adverse impact on your ability to make music at the highest level. Eat well, exercise, sleep enough, stay hydrated, stretch, read, make time for relaxation, and surround yourself with wonderful people.

4. Play With Others
No amount of solitary, technique-focused time in the practice room will equip you with the ensemble skills necessary to play in most professional settings. Achieving a desired dynamic result with a decibel meter in the practice room does not mean you will be able to achieve the perfect dynamic balance within an ensemble; similarly, tuning a note to a tuner in the practice room is not the same as tuning a chord with other musicians. There is no substitute for making music with other people, and ensemble skills are absolutely essential to being a complete musician.

Coming Soon: Frank’s perspective on the entrepreneurial aspect of being a 21st Century musician.

5 Essential Practice Tips

A wise man once said “insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” That wise man was Albert Einstein, and he happens to be a pretty smart dude. In fact, he felt most of his scientific breakthroughs came as a direct result of improvising on the piano and violin – so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Music is a journey. Gaining musical proficiency requires both disciplined practice as well as patience. The process is about developing oneself through your ears and out your soul. If you do it right, you’ll notice changes in yourself – how you play a piece, how you perform with others reflects your personality and your day to day life.

Whenever I am struggling with a piece, technical exercise, or memorizing a new program, I find myself falling back on a variety of methods to dig myself out of a hole. Everyone is different, some may need to focus on only one or two of my tips below, others may need to do a little of everything. Below are the best ways I know of how to improve dramatically – even over the course of a day – and really begin to understand problems in your playing in an objective manner.

Listen to yourself: I firmly believe that the better you are at listening, the better you become as a musician. When you practice or perform a piece, how often do you really listen to yourself? Are you aware of that slight noise when your fingers touch the string – or do you just let it slide? Do you hear that gap when you shift from one fret to another down the neck? Take the time to listen to the sounds you create. Listening to each note from its inception until the last audible vibration is the best way to honestly appraise your playing. Start each day by playing/singing one note or chord, close your eyes and listen to it ring out. Take a breath. Repeat. Now you’re ready to move on.

Record yourself: This goes hand in hand with listening. If you record yourself playing for practice or even a performance, and objectively create a map of the things you want to improve you set yourself up for success. Hell, use a webcam, cell phone, video, audio – doesn’t matter. In fact, if you manage to sound great on a terrible recorder you know you’re practice is beginning to pay off.

Stop whatever you’re doing and do the opposite: Want to get faster? Forget speed for a few weeks and go back to basics at a snail’s pace. If you find yourself hitting a wall in your practice, sometimes the best thing you can do is take a break. Spend two weeks practicing something entirely different. Cultivate an awareness of your body and instrument and truly own the notes.

Perform for others: This is the biggest way to improve. Play for others. Play for friends, set up a small house concert. It doesn’t matter if you crash and burn – you’ll be better off after running the gauntlet. I’m convinced that the reason people get so nervous and notice what can seem to be an insurmountable amount of mistakes in performance comes from that fact that not only are you no longer on practice-room-autopilot, but you’re actually listening to yourself – AND – so are other people.

Set Goals:
This is simple, but it’s amazing how often people forget. My personal favorite is writing a weekly practice log. Sometimes I break it down into small daily goals. At the extreme, there have been times where I’ve written up a sheet of paper for each piece I’m working on as well as every gig I had coming up. I wrote dates and goals on each page and taped them to my bedroom wall. Every time I accomplished a goal or finished a piece, I checked it off with green marker. Learn to love the green marker. Even if you come up short, aim high. You can only end up ahead.

These are my 5 go-to practice techniques – if you have any other effective ideas, post below!

Setting a Fair Rate

In my previous post I highlighted the importance of self-evaluation and knowing your worth as a performer. Now that we know the importance of setting a comparable monetary value for one’s work and how settling for low-paying gigs only brings more competition and frustration, this post will explore how to set a fair rate for an event.

Location plays a huge part in setting a quote that is reasonable to the client and fair to the performer. Having lived in major cities like Baltimore and San Francisco where cost of living is rather high, any quote for an event is going to be more expensive than it would be in a smaller city/town for an event of similar duration. For major cities like New York, DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, you’d be a fool to charge small town rates in the big city.

Flat Quote or Hourly Rate? There are benefits to giving a flat quote or using an hourly rate for events. Personally, I like giving flat quotes – it’s straightforward and I avoid itemizing charges in contracts like hours, breaks, travel, etc. I simply give a number and don’t hassle the client with minor details. This works great for weddings and gives the Bride-to-be one less thing to worry about. However, for a small concert or an event that needs background music for a specific amount of time an hourly rate may be more appropriate.

Part of setting a fair rate for an event is having a feel for how much you believe your performance is worth in the context of a reasonable budget. As I’ve said before, there’s always somebody willing to work for less. You need to command a higher rate to stand out – and also DELIVER THE GOODS! This means consistently playing your ass off, being social with guests/audience members, and being sure to take the time to thank the person who hired you – they’re providing you with work, and you’re providing them with an irreplaceable service: live music!

This link between the professional and social aspect of being a musician is part of why I prefer setting flat quotes on a per event basis. Breaking down an event to hourly rates tends to give the gig a feel of a transaction – paying for time as it is. Like putting coins in a parking meter. This can leave the performer feeling like a human jukebox and the client only concerned with putting enough coins in to keep the tunes coming.

To command a good fee, you need to go above and beyond simply playing for the allotted amount of time and this is something you want to make very clear to potential clients via your websites, emails, and phone calls. This is why I prefer to give a flat quote. Somebody emails me saying they need classical guitar for an event in a couple weeks. I email them back thanking them for their interest in my music and tell them I’ll happily play for them. I may only be playing an hour and a half, however, when I give a client a quote they know that also comes with my guarantee to arrive early, set up, provide my own amplification as well as set up a microphone if someone may speak at the event, plan the music program, and learn any song they may require for the performance.

This is where I differ from other musicians. In the same city for the same event, a lesser experienced guitarist may give that same event a quote based on their hourly rate. At $100 an hour for 1.5 hours total = $150. They may then include travel expenses or booking fees, all of which feels like getting a bill from Verizon or Direct TV rather than giving your client a personalized, all-inclusive musical package. It’s cheaper, may be easier to quote and convenient, but you’re basically selling yourself short. Lots of people may book you, and that’s not bad, but the main reason they book you is because it’s a cheaper option.

Breakdown This should serve as a guide for event price range and is my average of 75 gigs between 2012-2014.
• Short Wedding (less than 1 hour) $200 – $400
• Wedding and Cocktail Reception (up to 2 hours) $350 – 800
• Private Event (Wineries, Universities, Hotels) $400-1000
• Corporate Events – $400-1000 (my experience has been corp. event budgets are about 1k for music)
• Small Concerts, House Concerts – $300 – 600

These are the ranges that I use when quoting an event to give an idea of what is possible and as you can see there is room for flexibility. I was booked for considerably more weddings than anything else, and I’ve also had to turn down several events that didn’t align with my price ranges. When this happens, work with the client and their budget, however, if you can’t agree on a number you can always refer a friend who would love the opportunity.