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CleverJoe Newsletter, February 2001
CleverJoe.com is the musician's guide to the Canadian and International
What's the difference between a jazz musician and a pigeon?
The pigeon can make a deposit on a car.
1.)... Playing Solo Guitar At Wedding Gigs
2.)... Wedding Music Guitar Tablature And Sheet Music
3.)... Downloading MIDI Sounds 101
4.)... Clever Clicks
5.)... CleverJoe Accepting Submissions
6.)... Payment Due Notice
1.) PLAYING SOLO GUITAR AT WEDDING GIGS
Want to make some extra money? Wedding season is quickly approaching, and now is the time to start booking gigs and learning music. Jim Graham shares some tips for solo guitarists below, and CleverJoe shares his top picks in wedding music guitar tablature and sheet music collections:
Playing Solo Guitar at Wedding Gigs
By Jim Graham
Along with teaching guitar and bass at two music schools, playing bass in a rock band and promoting my own independent CDís, I play solo guitar at a number of weddings each year. These are a very different type of booking than most. For one thing, they pay pretty good money and to date I have never had a problem getting paid. Another aspect that makes them different is that almost no one acknowledges your presence as you sit in the corner playing song after song. This is something that you have to be prepared to accept, as you have been hired to provide live background music, and most of the people attending the average wedding donít really care if you are there or not. The best you can hope for is while you are packing up afterward one or two kind souls might come forward to tell you they enjoyed your music. Overall though, I like these bookings, itís kind of nice to be able to zone out and just play most of your repertoire without everybody staring at you in silence.
Some of the things you will need to have are
A good repertoire of at least fifty songs, mainly classical.
A good suit and tie or tuxedo.
A quality classical guitar with amplification.
A reliable car.
My repertoire consists of a handful of classical "standards" such as "Ode to Joy", "Fur Elise", "Romance" and some of the more common pieces by Carulli and Guiliani. Along with these I play "Classical Gas", "Blackbird" and a variety of songs from several genres such as Flamenco and Celtic. All in all I find that almost anything you play on a nylon string guitar can be made to fit at a booking like this. I also have a binder with about forty-five minutes worth of Classical music that I can sight-read on demand as a back up for the pieces I have memorized. Every now and then I get a booking that has me playing one more set than I am used to and this comes in handy then. I keep the pages in heavy plastic holders to minimize the effects of high winds for the outdoor bookings.
There are two types of wedding bookings, Cocktail hour and Processional, Cocktail hour is usually the time spent after the ceremony and before the dinner and the musician is there to provide a nice backdrop while the guests have a few drinks and chat. These are almost always a two hour gig, you play two lengthy sets with a break, and occasionally I get booked to play during the dinner instead of Cocktail hour, again for two hours. I charge $250.00 for these dates and more if there is a long drive involved.
The Processional is usually a one hour date and goes something like this, I start playing about thirty minutes before the actual wedding ceremony is scheduled to take place, I play until either I am given a preset cue, or I notice that the processional is about to begin. At this point I play "Romance" until everyone in the processional is at the front facing the Priest/Justice or whoever is performing the service, then I gracefully fade out. After the couple has been married and "announced" I play until everyone has left the area. This being a one hour booking, I charge $150.00 and up, considering driving distance. These monetary amounts may vary depending on where you live.
I have done quite a few Processionals lately as more people have decided they no longer want the traditional "Wedding March" played on the organ, and the surprising thing is that many of the people that call me for these dates are not familiar with classical music and will just ask me if I can play something slow and romantic for the processional.
How To Get The Gigs
Ads in local newspapers have had mixed results for me, sometimes they make the phone ring and sometimes they donít. I live near a moderate size city and I have heard that in the bigger cities these ads do work well. My main source of bookings comes from people calling the local Musicians Union office, of which I am a member. Because I belong to the union and I file contracts with them on all of my gigs they know I am reliable and will gladly give my name and phone number out, along with several other union members who are known to do a lot of wedding work. Another avenue is to leave demo tapes and business cards with stores in your area that supply party needs such as printed napkins, folding chairs, flowers etc., I have gotten some results that way as well.
When You Get A Call For A Gig
The first thing I do when I get a call is find out the time and date they want me for and check my calendar to see if I am available. If I am available I answer all of the callers questions, fill them in on what I usually do and ask them if they would like a demo of my music. If they do want a demo we now have a couple of options, the demo tape/CD that you mail them or the internet. I always ask if they have access the internet before I mail out a demo, because if they do, and if they have a sound card (who doesnít these days) I direct them to my website where they can see a picture of me and listen to a couple of my songs, in particular, the "Romance" I mentioned earlier. Donít have a website? No problem, mp3.com will give you a free page where you can post a picture, write up some text about yourself and put up as many songs as you like. These sites also allow anyone visiting to send you an e-mail, the only thing you have to be careful about is ownership of rights to the songs you are posting. If they are "public domain" and you are not using a copyrighted arrangement of someone else's you are OK. If you are going to go this route go to the classical music category at mp3 and check out the guitar chart, you will see many time honored classics already posted by other artists.
Once they've heard your music and spoken with you on the phone many of these people are ready to book you. Sometimes however, I'm asked if I would mind meeting them in a local coffee shop before they make a decision. I always agree, and show up on time, dressed well and have a pleasant chat over a cup of coffee.
Once You Have The Gig
When someone has agreed to hire you for a wedding the first thing to do is type up a contract and get it to them so they can sign and return it. This not only protects you, but it protects them as well, now you canít take that "better offer" that came in at the last minute and leave them in a lurch. Also, a properly filled out contract gives them your mailing address, thus enabling them to send you a nicely worded thank you note that can be used as a reference in future. At this point you want to make sure you have good directions to the location in question and you may find that some of your clients like to phone once or twice in the weeks leading up to the wedding to ask questions about your repertoire and what you will be wearing.
At The Gig
Arrive early, if no directions were laid out beforehand concerning where you are to set up, find out, ask the first person you see and soon you will be all set up and ready to play. A couple of basic rules of behavior are to smile and speak only when spoken to. When you are playing, remember that this is a special day for the happy couple, not your day to show off, just play song after song with a very brief pause between pieces, donít expect applause, and just enjoy playing your music. I usually amplify my electric classical guitar with a small amp, just loud enough to be heard in amongst the conversations going on in the room/area, and once I have set a volume level I like to leave it there. If you start turning it up it just makes people talk louder which may draw negative attention.
When you are finished playing, quietly pack up and prepare to leave. At this point I usually get paid by one of the members of the wedding party, sometimes they pay me as soon as they see me, before I have played a note, just to get that detail out of the way. In some cases I have been invited to sit down and have something to eat, maybe a glass of wine, I usually gracefully decline unless the people are just so friendly and down-home that I canít refuse, but in any case I never linger for long once I am finished playing.
Even though I have a website of my own I use an mp3 page for these bookings. For one thing, the URL is shorter and easier to give out on the phone, ( http://www.mp3.com/jimgraham ), and my own site is geared toward several things about my musical endeavors whereas I have the mp3 page set up for just my solo guitar career. One more thing, if you go to my mp3 site and listen to "Romance" you will notice that I have slowed the tempo and drawn out the melody, it just seemed to sound better that way to my ears.
So if any of you are putting the finishing touches on a classical guitar repertoire and are looking for somewhere to use it I hope this article helps you out.
Regards, Jim Graham
A guitarist since age nine, Jim has played everything from rock and blues to country and classical. Jim has two solo guitar music CD's which are available at GuitarNine.com. He also has a guitar instruction book/CD, available at Renaissance Music. When he's not performing, he teaches at two music schools. You can check out Jim's music, (including some great original pieces!), at:
2.) WEDDING MUSIC GUITAR TABLATURE AND SHEET MUSIC
Where do you find the music you need to start playing wedding gigs and making money?
Check out CleverJoe's top picks in wedding music fake book/guitar tab collections:
This Is the Ultimate Fake Book With over 1200 Songs
An excellent resource with, as the wordy title implies, over 1200 standard and not so standard songs. This book has a great selection of songs, covering a wide range of material. While not primarily a wedding or love song collection, there are plenty of songs in here that should cover a variety of gigs. This may not be the one and only book you'll ever need to cover all your gigs, but it will probably quickly become your most referenced source for many gigs, including the romantic kind. This is a highly respected book among gigging musicians, and it will pay for itself many times over.
This new edition is updated with yet another selection of current and classic tunes. Included in each song is the melody line, the chords, and the lyrics written for piano, vocal, guitar, and all "B Flat" instruments. This book even includes charts for over 855 guitar chords, as well as 9 different classified song listings. Great collection, well worth the price. Highly recommended.
The Complete Wedding Music Collection
This is a great book that has lots of standard wedding music for ceremonies, receptions. It includes classical music for the service, traditional Jewish wedding music, songs and dances for the reception, and popular and standard love songs. Arranged for piano, vocal and guitar chords, and includes chord symbols and song lyrics. Moderate playing ability required.
Classical Fake Book
Over 600 Classical themes and melodies from Hal Leonard Publishing. An amazingly comprehensive collection for all classical music lovers. Contains complete themes, not just portions of a theme! This encyclopedia is excellent for playing and performing, and is a terrific reference for music students, concert-goers, or anyone with a love of classical music and the desire to expand their knowledge. Lyrics, in the original language, are included when appropriate. All entries contain a fake book style presentation with melody line and harmony sketched in above it in chord labels. Clarity of this volume is exceptional. Layout is consistent from one page to the next. Obviously, a great deal of care went into preparing this very large compilation of classical music.
Wedding & Love Songs For A New Century
This is an extensive collection of the most perfect love songs for a new millennium. All those romantic mood-setters are here.168 pages. This book is arranged for Piano/Vocal/Guitar, with chord symbols, guitar chords and song lyrics. Moderate playing ability required.
Valentines : The Very Best in Modern Love Songs
A great selection of love songs from well known performers makes this song collection a real value. This book is arranged for Piano/Vocal/Chords, and includes chord symbols, guitar chords and song lyrics. You'll keep coming back to this one again and again. Big thumbs up.
The Ultimate Pop Rock Fake Book
Over 500 songs for piano, vocal, guitar, electronic keyboards & all 'C' instruments. All your faves from 1955 to the present. Another superb collection of must have songs.
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Pssst!! Looking for great deals on guitar strings?
Check out the action at SheetMusicPlus!
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3.) Downloading MIDI Sounds 101
I am a non-professional musician who enjoys playing keyboard as a hobby and occasionally in family parties. I am looking for additional Midi sounds that can be downloaded as a sound bank thru a computer to my keyboard for playing or recording. I do not have much experience with sequencers,samplers,and midi files.
You can't download MIDI sounds since MIDI information itself doesn't actually contain any audio. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and it's a music industry standard communications protocol that lets MIDI instruments and sequencers (or computers running sequencer software) talk to each other to play and record music. MIDI data itself does not contain any digital audio samples, rather it contains the data that manipulates these sounds.
You CAN download audio samples which can then be triggered from your MIDI keyboard or MIDI software. A decent and versatile soundcard (in the home market anyway) is the "SoundBlaster Live PCI" card by Creative Labs. It allows you to use "SoundFonts" which can be freely shared with other users. The quality of the card's converters (for recording your own digital audio) is quite good as well. For more info check out:
Also be sure to check out CleverJoe's computer audio page for lots of music software links, including sequencing software, drum pattern generators, sampling software and more:
Harmony Central is also a great source for information about MIDI and what the heck you can do with it:
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Musicians - Shop in Canada!
Check out Kelly's Music, a great Canadian music store
that ships in Canada (of course) and International.
Canadian prices and excellent service:
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4.) CleverJoe's Clever Clicks
RCD Music/Bhurr Records
Canadian Independent artists are being invited to submit their material to RCD Music/Bhurr Records for their 2001 compilation CD and showcase program. RCD Music; in collaboration with partners and sponsors such as Molson Canadian, Clearnet, CD Plus, Breakaway Tours, Student Price Card, Eye Weekly and others; work very hard to support, promote and distribute the material of fresh Canadian Talent. There were over 200,000 IndieBlastT Cd's and samplers distributed in the past 8 months.
If you have a guitar related web site, you might want to check out the free programs at GuitarBanners.com. There are two options to choose from. The first is a regular banner exchange program, and the second program tracks click-throughs from your site and guarantees return visitors.
Ali Matthews, Patchwork CD
Ali Matthews has been a performing Canadian artist for over 15 years. Her new Cd "Patchwork" is a great collection of songs spanning a diverse range of contemporary acoustic music. Her exquisite vocals shine throughout the CD, and the icing on the cake is the guitar and production work by Rick Francis, her co-producer and performing partner. The music and production is nicely textured, and gives the strong lyrical sentiments enough room to breathe on their own. Nice job, three thumbs up! Do yourself a favour and check out Ali's web site.
Altar Native is an online rock and alternative music magazine, and is currently seeking music from indie artists for review.
New York Music & Internet Expo
The 3rd Annual New York Music & Internet Expo will be held April 21-22, 2001 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Musicians can get advice, information, and have the opportunity to meet influential people in the music industry. Robert Fripp, Bob Ezrin, Tony Visconti, Phil Ramone are all on the bill. Scores of exhibitors will be there displaying the newest music technology. Panels comprised of major and independent label producers, A&R representatives, musicians, and industry professionals will discuss the hottest topics in the current state of the music industry. Professional contacts will be made while KNOWLEDGE, demos, albums, and business cards are exchanged all weekend long.
Canadian musician store selling music software, accessories, instruments and gear. Their service is second to none.
Guitar Pro has released Version 3 of their great multitrack tablature editor for guitar, banjo and bass. Supports 256 tracks over 4 simultaneous MIDI ports. Besides writing scores, Guitar Pro is a complete tool for young and accomplished guitarists alike to improve their skills, compose, or simply accompany themselves.
5) CleverJoe is accepting Submissions
If you're interested in submitting a CD, product, review, or music related article
review for CleverJoe.com, please check out this page for the full scoop:
6.) Payment Due
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Axman Deluxe Electric Guitar/Bass Stand
Holds any electric guitar securely, including bass guitars or mandolins.
This is a great guitar stand that is good looking, durable, and portable. Adjustable arms, steel welded construction, rubber covered arms & backrest, it folds up neatly for gigs.
Comes with 90 day warranty.