wedding gig

Summertime Music Musings

The double whammy wedding gig weekend is behind me. The first one went quite well. I had a lot of fun improvising on Canon in D. Everything was timed very well. I like it when that happens. The "rock music" wedding was interesting. I was shaky in a few spots and kept getting stuck in one part of "Another One Bites the Dust".

Another One Bites The Dust



Another One Bites The Dust By Queen. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Film/TV; Pop; Rock. 4 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music (HX.2135)

...more info

However, I just plowed through. Sometimes, I really "faked it", but it turned out ok. The groom got a little teary eyed saying his vows, which was quite touching.

Today, I returned to the place I temped at last month. I'm filling in for two admin assistants, one week in each department. My primary function will be to keep their seats warm, so I'm bringing my lesson planning binder with me and I anticipate that I will complete the year plans for my 40 students while on my assignment. Granted, it will be done in between answering the odd call, scheduling a handful of meetings and filing, but I'll have time to complete it. Maybe, just maybe, I'll have a chance to score study my intermediate students' repertoire while I'm there too.

During my last temping assignment there, I completed an article on rhythm and flow in music and Iaido for The Iaido Journal. I'm not sure when it will be published, but you could check the link regularly.

I got promoted to First Vice President for the local branch of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers' Association. At first, I was a little leery but now, I'm excited at the idea of completing my time on the Board one year early. I'm trying to wrap up my work on the Governance Committee this month so that come September, I will just focus on the Website Committee and the behemouth project known as the Honours Recital. I have to get caught up on the latter this weekend and call a committee meeting...on my week off.

On a completely different note (but just as exciting), the Calgary Iaido Club, where I train, got the green light to host its first national Open Iaido Tournament. We'll have seminars in other disciplines as well. Our planning meetings have been a welcome change from some of the Board meetings I've attended. Has anyone else ever noticed that when there are mostly men at a meeting, it goes far more quickly than when there's mostly women?

Alas, I've mused long enough. It's time to get back to putting together my music card games for the students. (c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.


Four Weddings, Two Filing Cabinets and One QuickBooks

July is nearly halfway over already? Where has this month gone? The office temp work isn't going so well. So far, I've only had one one-day assignment. I did register with a second temping agency (Mark Staffing), which sounded extremely promising and cast my resume off to a few community businesses. Someone has got to bite.

Oh I typed that in too soon. I just got a couple of phone calls - one from another temping agency that wants to see me and another from temp agency number one with a one week assignment next week. Things are starting to pick up.

In the meantime, Maestro and I have been keeping busy. We're having a lot of fun with our summer students, who are enjoying improvising, exploring popular and world music, and composing. I have completely caught up on the bookkeeping, including the adjusting entries for depreciation. Perhaps the biggest project that I finished was the filing cabinet merge/purge/clean-up.

I've got four wedding gigs slated for the summer so far, with two on the same day. Last night's rehearsal went all right. Unfortunately, the church doesn't have a piano, so the couple had to rent me a digital piano. Thankfully, I've got over a week to play with the sound settings.

This one is a unique gig because the bride is a friend and former co-worker. In the span of two hours, I wore four hats last night - hired musician, friend, kitchen helper and anime otaku. I'm looking forward to the wedding, which will be in English and Spanish. Of course, that's not the only reason why I'm looking forward to it. I'm always glad to see a friend marry a good guy.

Well, it's back to the grind. I promised Maestro an adventure as soon as I complete this afternoon's tasks.

(c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Making Wedding Music Selections Easy

It may seem strange that today’s blog is about wedding music. However, people are known to get engaged over the holidays, when family and friends are together. Next month, bridal fairs will begin another wedding season. Usually, when I meet with a couple, they have no idea what music they would like performed at their ceremony. I normally run through a selection of songs and wait as the couple discusses whether they want happy or sad, fast or slow, bouncy or majestic music. The sole exception was the wedding of a classically trained pianist. She asked for Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as well as other classics. She walked down the aisle to O mio babbino caro by Puccini.

Here are some useful links to help engaged couples choose ceremony and reception music:

© 2005, Musespeak™, Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Wedding Music and Wedding Gigs

What goes into preparing for a gig? A little bit of administration and a sufficient amount of practice. Things never go according to plan, so you also need to be prepared for anything. I played at a wedding on Saturday. I don’t mind sharing it since it was an interesting gig (and the couple were wonderful to work with, so I hope they don’t mind that I share this).

The bride contacted me in the summer to perform at her wedding. We played phone tag for a couple of rounds first. She was in the process of finalizing the date and venue but wanted to check my availability.

One week later, she dropped of a deposit to secure my services, with the balance to be paid at the ceremony. By mid-September, we had enough information to negotiate length of the engagement and cost.



This wedding was a little different from the norm. The couple wanted cocktail music prior to the ceremony. No processional, signing of the register or recessional music. After the ceremony, they asked me to play Forever in Blue Jeans by Neil Diamond.



They made several special requests, which I was fine with since they gave me ample notice. A little My Fair Lady, a little classic rock and some rumbas. I wound up purchasing a fake book with over 1,000 songs in lead sheet format. It was a good excuse for me to learn how to improvise an accompaniment. Slowly but surely, I am getting better at it.



I began practicing in earnest for the gig three weeks before the wedding. However, a horrible cold impeded my practicing two weeks before the wedding. That’s when we finalized all the details that were required on the booking agreement. The bride paid the outstanding balance when she submitted the signed contract.


The families were in the throes of last minute preparations when I arrived. Musicians feed off of the excitement in the air on performance day. But my stomach churned when I reached the piano. The damper pedal was broken. Of all the pedals, it had to be the one pianists need the most for pop songs.




After a mild panic attack, years of lessons kicked in and I remembered finger pedalling, which involves holding notes longer than written and blurring the sounds together that way. It went all right but I was completely thrown off by the loss of my favourite tool. My right foot kept reaching for the pedal that wouldn’t work.


I had a couple of false starts in Forever in Blue Jeans but smoothed things over with comedic patter. Other than that, was quite pleased with my faking prowess that evening. I had a healthy break when I dined with the guests (prime rib, yummy!) and sat through speeches.

Want to know more about what it’s like to perform at gigs? I’m writing my first novel (it’s fiction but inspired by reality). Not sure when it’ll be published, seeing as I’m only on Chapter 3. Stay tuned!


© 2005 by Musespeak™, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. All rights reserved.