Once we determine availability and agree on the fee, event bookings are secured through filling out my event music agreement and paying a 50% deposit.
The sooner the better. While it's sometimes possible to book last minute, my schedule is generally pretty full 3-6 months in advance, and I have bookings and tours starting to fill in up to two years in advance. If your event date is on a weekend I recommend booking at least 6 months in advance. Each year, the dates that tend to fill up first are weekends (especially Saturdays) in late-April, mid to late-May, late-July, mid to late-September, and sometimes October. It's not unusual for me to get several requests for the most popular dates each year. Although I may be able to fit in 2-3 events on these days if the timing and travel times work out, most events unfortunately tend to happen around the same time of day. All bookings are first come, first served. Holiday and New Years events tend to book up by mid-October. Weekdays and other times of the year are hard to predict.
For indoor events we need a space that affords at about 3 square feet per musician. A corner, where we're not blocking the flow of traffic and a bit set apart from the crowd is perfect.
Outdoor events, we need a level surface, dry ground, and some shade. A spot with some protection from the wind would be amazing as well, if possible.
We also need an armless chair for each musician performing.
If we will be amplifying, we need a power source at the site, or an extension cord.
In making the decision to amplify or remain acoustic, we need to consider whether your event is indoors or out, how many guests will be in attendance, how many musicians will be performing, the size and acoustics of the space we will be performing in, and whether the venue has rules about acoustic versus amplified music.
While acoustic solo violin for a dozen people on a cliffside ceremony overlooking the Pacific may be a perfect and intimate fit, that same violin may not be heard at all by half the guests at a larger, more rowdy reception or party. This is a decision best made together after discussing your particular event.
If we do decide to amplify, we can either supply our own system for a modest additional fee, or if a DJ or audio engineer will already be setting up sound, we can usually work with an existing system at no additional charge.
Although I'm happy to perform on either, most of my solo event repertoire is arranged for violin. Although I can transpose most pieces and songs to work on the viola, it's easiest to just perform them on solo violin as I usually do. If you'd strongly prefer for me to perform on viola, or a mix of the two instruments, this can probably be arranged. The viola is a beautiful instrument too and definitely deserves more recognition!
I love my acoustic violin. It's been with me since I was 16 years old and people often comment on its rich and warm sound (sometimes people ask if I'm actually playing a viola) and unique look. Some have told me that they don't usually like the sound of violins, but they love the sound of mine. So although I have played electric violin a few times, I was always eager to return to the beautiful tone and familiarity of my instrument. I'm happy to amplify my acoustic violin for your event, but if you're looking for the visuals of an electric violin and sound effects beyond some reverb or echo, I'm not set up to offer that at this time.
Yes, solo is solo. Although I'm technically able to play along with pre-recorded tracks, I'm not set up to provide that service for events at this time. If you will be also be having a DJ and would like me to play over some songs that he/she is playing, this may be possible.
Thankfully, the violin and fiddle are actually the same instrument, the difference is in the style of music you're playing. Rather than Classical, or Jazz, or contemporary music, if you'd prefer "fiddle" music, including Traditional Irish/Scottish/Celtic, Bluegrass and Old Time, Country, or Folk, this can be arranged. If you'd like a mix of styles, I'm happy to keep your guests guessing - "what style can't she play??" 😅
The violin can perform solo or be accompanied by a range of instruments, however, not all songs will sound as rich or convincing solo or with every type of ensemble. Along with considerations like the venue and guest list size, budget, event length, and whether or not the group will be acoustic or amplified, there are a variety of considerations when booking a musical act and it's a decision best made together after discussing your particular event. In general, I much prefer performing with my rehearsed ensembles rather than seeking out musicians I may have never played with before, on various instruments I may need to create entirely new arrangements for.
For more information, please see the "Choosing Ensemble Type" section on my Event Services page.
We are happy to perform any piece or song from one of the lists here. If you have a music request that is not listed, most songs can be arranged and learned given enough notice (at least a month prior to the event), although an additional fee may apply. Such fees cover the time and costs associated with purchasing, learning, arranging and/or transcribing new music, and will be negotiated before any work is done or sheet music purchases made.
Many wedding and event clients choose only a few special songs and leave the rest up to us. If you are enthusiastic about creating the playlist, we'll happily try to fit in all your favorites, but if you'd prefer to choose just a few songs, or the genre(s), or a handful of artists/composers to focus on, we can easily fill the time with a nice selection based around your preferences. When narrowing down your selections, note that for each hour of continuous music, we'll typically play 10-12 songs.
We know there are a lot of songs to choose from out there, and too many choices can be overwhelming. For weddings, please click here for ceremony music suggestions.
Assuming we can be in touch ahead of time about the details and we'll have a few minutes to rehearse the song before the event, yes, this is usually possible given sufficient notice.
As many groups, especially string quartets, go corporate, this question is quite understandable! We see such-and-such string quartet smiling on their website, but the musicians who arrive to play are completely different people! Assuming you have a strong network of musicians to call on, it's not a bad business model to take every booking that comes your way and send out whoever's available to fill in, taking a cut of each event. However, for me, my reputation and quality control are much more important than just making more money. While I'm happy to provide referrals if I'm not available for your date, I only book events that I am personally available to play.
That said, when booking an duo or ensemble, I sometimes may need to hire colleagues other than ones seen performing with me in my pictures, videos, or audio clips. Rest assured, I only work with professional, high caliber musicians who are also conscientious, kind people.
I carry event liability insurance and insurance to cover theft or damage to my instrument(s) and other gear. Proof of liability certificates are available to those venues requiring it.
For venues also requiring proof of workers compensation insurance, my colleagues are not employees, therefore these requirements do not apply to us.
Since any travel fees are factored into my initial quote, other fees that may or may not apply to your event are:
My rates factor in event length, the number of musicians performing, travel time and distance, whether we're playing acoustically or needing to bring a sound system, whether we'll need to learn new music, and yes, to some degree the day of the week, the time of day, and the time of year.
These latter considerations hold less weight for me however. Whether the event is happening on a Wednesday or a Sunday, in February or in August, I'll still need to spend the same amount of time practicing, lining up colleagues and rehearsing with them, consulting with the clients by email, phone, text, and/or video chat, and organizing my sheet music binders so all the song requests are easy to flip to on a moment's notice.
Also, the California coast never really has a real "off-season." Events happen year-round and tourists are always visiting. While venues may offer a discount for events happening on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, my schedule is often booked with private students on these days so I can be available for performances later in the week and on the weekend. Travel times can also be longer during the workweek due to commuter traffic. In the end, my time is still my time and my rates are quite competitive with others holding a similar level of skill and experience.
If an event is close by and I'm available, yes, I may quote a lower rate on, for instance, a Thursday in January versus a Saturday in May or September. But especially with travel costs rising, rather than consider discounts for non-peak times, my thinking is more towards charging a bit more for dates and times that I'm receiving multiple requests for. These are typically the dates outlined in the "How close to our event date should we reach out to you?" question above.
For clients who have don't have a significant music budget, we have many high caliber youth symphonies around the California Bay Area and Central Coast, and I recommend contacting the area's local office for a referral. While most of my students are scattered around the world, I may also be able to refer one of my local students. These opportunities to perform and learn the ropes is how I got my start as a teen and it can be a real win-win situation.
My event agreement, signed by both parties at the time of booking, clearly states how we would handle a cancellation. It reads as follows: