Violinists get ready because it’s wedding season! Below, violin teacher Julie P. shares the best violin songs for weddings as well as some helpful tips and tricks for preparing and performing…
Wedding season is both an exciting and stressful time for violinists. For much of the summer and fall, violinists are in high demand, as the violin is one of the most popular instruments requested for weddings.
If you’ve been asked to play solo or in a larger mixed-instrument ensemble, you might be feeling a bit stressed. After all, you want to make sure the bride and groom’s day goes off without a hitch.
To help you prepare, review this quick guide to playing the violin at weddings and list of the best violin songs.
Initial Meeting With The Couple
Typically, you’ll be asked to play the violin during the ceremony and/or the cocktail hour. Different kinds of music are appropriate for these events, and sometimes clients will even have specific requests.
When discussing the best violin songs to choose ahead of time, try to be as detailed as possible so you can get an accurate picture of what the couple wants.
It’s very helpful to have demo tracks of your violin playing to give to prospective clients. If you don’t have demo tracks, you can use YouTube clips to make sure you’re clear on the style of the music the client wants.
For example,”Signed, Sealed Delivered” by Stevie Wonder is typically played pretty funky, but maybe the client wants a version arranged for string quartet as seen in this video.
Some couples will have no idea what violin songs they want played or when they should even be played. In this case, it is very helpful for everyone involved if you have a standard list prepared that you can show them.
For a wedding ceremony, you’re list should include the following:
- Prelude music
- Entrance music for the mother-of-the-bride and groom
- Entrance music for the bridesmaids
- Entrance music for the bride
- Special music for the middle of the ceremony (might be hymns that are sung, music played during a unity ceremony, or during communion)
- Recessional music for the bridal party
- Exit music for the guests
For a cocktail hour, you are much freer to choose whatever music you like playing. Just be sure to find out what style of music the couple wants you to play. Cocktail hours can run the gamut from classical to jazz to bluegrass to pop.
Once you’ve ironed out some of the details, it is always a good idea to prepare a contract that you can present to the couple.
Not only will having a contract make you look more professional, but it’s a great way to protect your time and make sure all parties are on the same page regarding the details of the gig.
If you’re not sure where to start in creating a contract, here’s an excellent example from Shaw Strings.
The way you and your ensemble dress is very important. Make sure you ask about the dress code, as every wedding is different. You want to fit in and not distract from the ceremony itself.
It’s also important to have promotional materials that reflect the level of professionalism of you or your group, as well as the range of styles and settings you can play.
These materials will often be the first contact prospective clients have with you, so you want to make sure that your pictures and recordings are as appealing as possible.
Playing Outside vs. Inside
If you’re playing outdoors, heavy music stands and music fasteners are crucial. Almost every violinist has played at a wedding in which their music blew away or their stand toppled over in the wind.
Sometimes such a music fail is inevitable, but be prepared as best you can. Sometimes photocopying the music to put in a binder is best, and clips like these can be lifesavers. Since your instrument is valuable, ensure that you will not have to play in rain or direct sunlight.
Building a Repertoire List
These days, wedding music can range from traditional classical music and hymns, to pop and rock songs. For whatever instrumentation you’re playing with, it’s good to have a wide variety of repertoire prepared.
The more diverse your repertoire list, the wider the range of customers you will attract. If you’re looking to build a great repertoire list, here are 10 of the best violin songs to play.
Ave Maria, Schubert
Bridal March, Wagner
Air on the G string, Bach
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, Bach
All You Need is Love, Beatles
At Last, Etta James
Can’t Help Falling in Love, Elvis Presley
What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
I’m Yours, Jason Mraz
Use these tips and the list of the best violin songs to help you prepare for your first wedding gig. Remember, weddings are joyous events so sit back and enjoy your time there!
Photo by Pbkwee