What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I do more continuing education training for other musicians at this point in my career. I am a regular presenter for the American String Teachers Association and will be doing teacher training at the Music Educators National Conference in 2011. My main purpose is to get teachers thinking about different styles of music and how students can bring music into the community rather than just sitting in a concert hall.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
Pricing is mostly based on hours and number of musicians. The base rate is $250/musician for up to 2 hours. There are some instruments, like harp, that are a higher fee. Solo violin can be for shorter times and lower rates. There might also be an additional travel fee if we go outside a 60-mile radius from Oakland. Please let me know if you'd like a quote.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
Performing music had the biggest challenge, the most interesting people, the best emotional payback, and I started earning money at it at age 15. Pretty addictive! I started my professional career as a symphony musician but quickly discovered that I liked the freedom and autonomy of being an independent artist.
What types of customers have you worked with?
For special events, I do mostly weddings and corporate events, but I also do parties, proposals, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, formal dinners, etc. As a composer and concertizing musician, I do concerts, clinics, workshops, artist residencies, radio appearances, write articles, publish sheet music, etc.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I am proud of all the work I do because each time I try to do my very best at whatever it is, especially weddings, the responsibility for which I take very, very seriously. I am very proud of my work on my upcoming CD, "Add Viola, and Stir", which is a mix of my classical and jazz compositions.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Listen to the sound clips and read reviews. Ask a lot of questions. People who are willing to work with you are more likely to give you what you want. Make sure the group can do what you like by looking at their repertoire list and listening to sound clips.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
I'd like you to know that musicians who perform special event music have unique skills developed over time that are not taught in music school. We all have at least one college degree in music performance. Many of us teach at conservatory and college music programs. We are not students. I, personally have played Carnegie Hall, The Blue Note jazz club, and been on Entertainment Tonight. Musicians who play special event music are highly trained, flexible, aware of their audience, eager to please their listeners, and want you to have the best day of your lives. There is no substitute for experience, knowledge, attitude, and skill.