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A Letter From The Musician's Lips (Continued page 2)

Questions to ask for choosing the right leader
When you make contact with a musician you are speaking to the leader or contractor: a person who has a service to offer and who will be calling the appropriate colleagues to complete the job. Musicians perform depending on availability.

Don’t choose a leader merely because the price is the lowest. The leader should be someone with whom you feel most comfortable and trust. Some of the questions you might ask when you make the initial contact are:

Could you tell me about the types of ensembles you offer? Some leaders only play and sell one instrument. Others will have jazz bands, string trios, brass quintets, and woodwind duos, dance bands with a vocalist, mariachis, a Dixieland band, or keyboardist. You have to ask.

What instruments make up those ensembles? If you are not sure about the sound that you are looking for, ask the leader to send you a compact disc or video of the different ensembles. All leaders will have something for you to see or listen to. Go to the library and check out a wedding C.D.. You will not only learn about the different instruments, but you will hear selections that you might want for your own wedding.

What instrument(s) and styles do you play? Not all leaders and their musicians play in every style. A classically trained violinist will generally stick to the 3 B’s: Bach, Beethoven and Brahms for the ceremony. These same musicians may not stroll, or play jazz for the cocktail hour.

Are you available to perform on the date of my wedding? Leaders try very hard to play the job. That’s how they make their money. Other instrumentalists come and go depending on their availability. If you heard the group play once before and you liked what you heard, the leader will usually contact and book those same people. If it is not possible, the leader will contact someone of an equal or better quality.

Can I make an appointment with you to hear appropriate musical options for the ceremony? Make that leader come to you with his/her instrument. If they make an extra effort here, they’ll go the extra mile at your ceremony. You’ll want to see if that leader shows up on time, dresses appropriately and speaks to you in a respectful, business-like manner. Check to see if they are knowledgeable about the music and ensembles they are trying to sell. Believe me, when you spend some time with that person, you will know right away if that is a leader you can feel comfortable with. It is time well spent!

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