Re: [Harp-L] Wedding gig

You wuz robbed!
But seriously you were working for absolute minimum wage.
Music sheet and what 20$ petrol each way?
= 50 ish dollars
leaves 200$
divided by 14 (hrs)
= about $13.50 per hour.
Of course you are going to pay tax on the net profit ;-)
So gawd knows what you will actually clear out of it all.
And this is after literally years of hard work to be even be competent enough to do what they wanted.
I bet the wait staff at the reception probably got more than you in the hand
Still i suppose we don't play Harmonica to get rich,but i don't think we should undersell ourselves.

----- Original Message ----- From: "michael rubin" <michaelrubinharmonica@xxxxxxxxx>
To: "harp-l" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012 14:45
Subject: [Harp-L] Wedding gig

So about two months ago a student showed me a craigslist ad asking for
a harmonica player to play Pachelbel's Canon in D at a wedding. The
experience was interesting enough to share with you.

I emailed the bride. I asked her what I needed to know to quote a
price. It was an hour away from my house,each way. I would need to
provide amplification, I would need to buy the sheet music and learn
the piece. I would need to have another song for the wedding party
march and another for the walkout music plus 15 minutes of waiting for
the wedding to start music. I would need to wear a nice button down
shirt and slacks. I quoted $250.

"We didn't expect to spend that much on a harmonica!"

I asked what they'd be willing to spend. I said I wanted to help them,
but please remember it took years to learn the craft, plus how to read
music. It would be 3 hours away from home, where a wife and baby and
mortgage waited. The sheet music would cost money. It would take an
hour to buy the music. It would take at least 10 hours of rehearsing
to get ready. Amplification costs money.

I didn't hear back so I assumed it was lost. I told my top students
about the gig, maybe they could get it.

Two weeks ago, I got an email saying they were willing to spend my
price. Besides taking care of a baby, chores, 4 bands and around 30
students a week and a group lesson every Saturday, I also have taken
on 2 unusual music projects that perhaps I will share with you when
their stories are done. Plus I hadn't finished my taxes, which when
self employed doing by yourself is tough! Basically I was beyond
swamped and this would possibly sink me. Still, $250 is $250. I said

I rarely get nervous about performing. Now, I had 3 performance
situations that I was nervous about. I could feel stomachaches!

I bought the music. I listened to a video of a diatonic harp player
the bride sent me that she liked. The diatonic player was improvising
on the theme, it was nothing like my version of the music. The bride
said it was the speed she wanted.

Although Pachelbel's Canon in D is leagues easier than other classical
pieces I have learned, there is still a very complicated eighth note
passage in the middle that at her speed, I could only hit around 50%
of the time. One night, I played it for my wife who said that it
sounded uncomfortably fast. I agreed with her and slowed down that
section. We both agreed it sounded much better. I then decided to
screw the bride's tempo, I would play the entire piece with a goal of
comfort and beauty. That really was the turning point. I came up with
a nice version, in my opinion.

I chose 10 romantic songs out of the real book and read through each a
couple of times. I made sure I really had the walk songs down.

Today I arrived on time and the wedding coordinator acted
professionally with me. Although a beautiful space, it was very small
so my amp stayed in the car. After playing almost all my romance
tunes, they said it was time to start. After playing two verses, no
one had walked down the aisle. I stopped. Someone let me know they
needed 5 more minutes. I finished my chosen songs. Luckily I had
brought a real book with me. They whisper it will probably be another
15 minutes.

A half an hour later I had read every romantic song I could find and
even a few where I was like "I cannot remember the lyrics. Is this
romantic or sad? Screw it, I'm playing it." When the wedding party
started coming out, I played the walk song until they stopped coming.
Then a minute later, they cued me that there was still lots more of
the wedding party to come out! I restarted the song again. Finally
they let me know it was time for the bride.

Remember it was a small place? I basically had gotten through the
first line Baa daaa daaa daa da da daa daaaa and the bride had made it
down the aisle. All that practice for nothing! Perhaps I will record
it for youtube this week.

Unlike normal gigs where you get to hang around the audience to get
kudos, only the preacher and the coordinator were left to talk to me.
The preacher took my card and asked if he could put me on his website
for recommended wedding players. The coordinator did not have my
money! Rather than run around the wedding trying to figure out who the
bride's father is and interrupt his picture taking, I went home and
sent the bride an invoice and said wait until after the honeymoon.
Hopefully this story has two happy endings and not a sequel!
Michael Rubin

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