Musical Groups for Events
I have my string quartet for events (mainly weddings), called Auguri. Let me tell you: having your own group supposes a lot of challenges that you’d never have when playing in an orchestra.
Firstly, you need to find the clients… and deal with them. It can be hard to take on their requests (some can be quite… interesting), and find the middle ground between what they want and what the musicians can deliver. Now you’re not just a musician: you’ll wear many hats as a producer, organizer, entrepreneur,..!
Again, your partners are probably used to the classical music world; therefore, they may struggle with the business aspects of the group. My personal solution is to take on all the work, and get a bigger cut off the payment. This can work for you as well, or you might find a string quartet that’s lead by someone else, where you’ll be sticking to just playing your part.
The big plus side of this type of violinists work is that you’ll be your own boss, playing the music you like. Even if you’re playing for someone else’s quartet, you still won’t have the enormous pressure that the classical musicians carry. It’s freeing, fun, and rewarding. And hey, you may get some free drinks on the events 😉
Playing in a Band
There are two options for playing in bands: you can either play for money supporting a pop or rock group; or you can start your own band and play your original material.
Obviously, the first option is the most rewarding in terms of a salary. Also, the dynamic is similar to an orchestra job: just show up on time, with your instrument, and knowing your part. If you’re thinking about the dress code: you’ll probably be wearing all black as well (unless you’re playing for Steve Vai or something).
In short: get on a cool stage, perform, and get paid. Not bad, eh? It’s pretty awesome. However, there’s nothing like playing your own original music.
From the start, I should say that even if I’m talking about violinists work, this is probably the least likely to be considered “a job”. However, you can also opt to make your own cover or tribute band. I don’t have experience with this particular gig, but there are musicians who do, and they make a living from playing rock, folk, or other genres.
I believe playing your own songs is incredibly rewarding. I’d also say that having a band to gig with and call it “your job” is also fantastic, even if it’s covers or a singer/songwriter’s material. The problem that arises when you’re not playing covers, is having to reach your audience.
Additionally, starting a band can get frustrating. Not only you need to find musicians to get on board, it’s specially tricky if you’re not doing it for paid gigs (at least when first starting out). If you’re lucky to have friends to join your project, you’ll be off to a good start. If not, try finding like-minded people who would like to jam and compose with a violinist – that’s sure to attract some positive attention from your creative peers. Be open to their imput as well! Not only it will integrate your bandmates on a closer level, it’s musically richer, too.
The only way this gig could be perfect, would be having a roadie: avoid the perpetual back pain from carrying all the gear yourself! Unless you’re playing on a certain level, be ready to drag not just your instrument (like in the previously mentioned jobs), but everything else you need. Plugs, leads? Pedals? Extra instruments? (like my lovely Korg pictured here) What about amps? Yes to all! If you have your own transport, it certainly helps.
Once you’re at the venue, also be ready to set up and get ready to rock. Admittedly, this is both a bit of a drag and exciting: you’ll soon be rocking out! There’s no better feeling than being onstage with your band. You’ll forget all the downsides when you do, trust me.
What’ll be your violinist gig?
Now that we’ve covered these alternatives, which one will you go with? Have you tried them all; and if so, do you have a favourite? Have I missed something, or would you like to share your perspective on any of these jobs?
Comment below, or on our Facebook page, and share your thoughts! 🙂