Last December I wrote an article about my first six months as a Midlands wedding and event pianist. I had played at five events out of a total of 21 which were in the diary at that point, and I was reflecting on the process of setting myself up as a wedding and event pianist. I must be doing something right as now only four months on I have just accepted my 52nd booking, and I’m beginning to get into the groove of this musical side hustle!
Each event at which I play is an opportunity to learn new songs for the clients who book me, meet new people, challenge myself, and meet the high standards I expect of myself not only in terms of playing the piano, but in the overall service I provide.
Preparation is key
It has been a learning process but one thing I understood from the outset is that clients put an awful lot of trust in the suppliers, sole-traders and businesses involved in helping them organise and celebrate an important event. I myself feel a sense of responsibility when, for example, I am waiting for the nod to start playing the piano as a nervous bride or couple walks down the aisle. This is such an important moment for them and for everyone in attendance, and at that moment I’m right in the middle of it and it’s a real privilege.
A lot of work goes in to preparing for these special moments, from speaking to the couple ahead of time to choose the appropriate songs, selecting which specific section to play and practicing it to ensure it is spot on, to on the day ensuring I am set-up well in advance, that the sound levels are perfect for the venue, and liaising with people at the venue regarding my musical cues.
2023 so far…
Since December I have played at the following events and have all these people to thank for placing their trust in me to entertain them and their guests:
- The Evans family for inviting me to play the gorgeous baby grand at their house in Martinstown, Dorset on New Year’s Eve
- Celebrating Steffi’s 50th birthday with her family and friends at Fawley Court, Herefordshire
- Two Ministry of Defence dinners at Larkill and Lyneham, Wiltshire
- An uplifting wake celebrating the long and happy life of someone who loved music at The Highfield, Birmingham
- Celebrating Liz’s 50th birthday with family and friends at East Lydford, Dorset
- Celebrating Mary’s 90th birthday with family and friends at Hogarth’s Hotel in Solihull, West Midlands
- A Mother’s Day event at High Grosvenor House, Shropshire
- Back at High Grosvenor House the following week for the wedding of Alice and Wes
- The wedding of Emily and Michael at Hampton-on-the-Hill and Chesford Grange, Warwickshire
- The wedding of Pennie and John, at Haselbury Mill, Somerset
- The wedding of Rachel and Mark, at Hogarth’s Stone Manor, Worcestershire
This already feels like a lot of events but as I look at my wall planner I’m only just now entering the busy season and have a further twenty events to look forward to over the summer alone.
In preparation for these events I have a long list of songs I am working on that have been specially requested by clients who have booked me. Sample recordings of me playing their requests have been sent and now they’re in the workshop being refined and perfected, which is another side of this venture I am enjoying. When you play live you learn new pieces and songs you wouldn’t otherwise come across and this helps expand my musical knowledge, and makes me a better pianist!
Thank you so much to everyone who has booked me to play for them and for the lovely feedback that I have received, a selection of which can be seen on my reviews page.
I may be a Midlands wedding and event pianist, but I love to travel and over the next few months I’ll be at events from Knutsford to Bournemouth, Oxford to South Wales, with plenty closer to home in the West Midlands, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. You can find out where I’ve been playing and watch short clips of me playing on Instagram and Facebook and do feel free to get in touch!