Primary Blog/Gigging Musician Podcast/Episode 211 - Harmony and Hurdles: Navigating the First String Quartet Wedding Gig in Colorado

Episode 211 - Harmony and Hurdles: Navigating the First String Quartet Wedding Gig in Colorado

Saturday, December 23, 2023

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Episode Recap

In this episode, Jared Judge recounts his experience with his first string quartet wedding gig in Colorado, marking a significant milestone in his musical journey. He shares the triumphs and challenges of the event, including the nuances of managing a group of musicians and ensuring a seamless performance. Jared discusses a specific incident with a quartet member that raised concerns about professionalism and adherence to event guidelines, offering insights into the importance of clear communication and setting expectations. He also touches on the effectiveness of using BookLive for organizing gigs and the potential need for more stringent measures to ensure quality performances. This episode is a candid reflection on the realities of managing a music act, the joy of a successful performance, and the continuous learning process in the business of music.

Best Quote

"I'm of the impression that everything that happens, both good and bad, in my life is a direct result of my actions."


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What's up, gigging pros? It's Jared Judge. Welcome back to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. All right, I am on my way home from my very own first wedding gig as a string quartet in Colorado.

So, you know, I run a solo electric violin act, and I've been doing a lot of solo violin gigs, you know, where I typically play alone with my own tracks in the background or with a DJ.

And then I've also played in string quartets for other people's acts here in Denver. But today, December 16, 2023, was the first string quartet gig that I booked in Colorado, and I would say it was a smashing success.

That's funny, because not one of my quartet members, but one of the people in the bridal party knocked over one of the candles in the aisle and did smash the glass. So it was a smashing success in that regard. But also the music was really good.

I played with a great bunch of people, and I'm very pleased with it. The guests were pleased with it, the wedding planners were pleased with it, and the venue managers were also very pleased with it. And you can bet your bottom that I networked with them.

I tried not to take up too much of their time because they were busy. I was respectful of that. But I did pass out cards, which that's what you got to do in order to get your name out there.

And so it was good. There was really only, like, one little quirk, which maybe some of you who coordinate other musicians can relate to these little quirks and how they raise your blood pressure a little bit when you're at the gig.

I don't want to call out specific people, but there was one member of this group who the first thing that they did when they arrived, and we said, hello, good to meet you and see you again, they immediately said to me, is it okay if I leave the gig five minutes early?

I've got a rehearsal to be at, and there's construction on the road, which that is no bueno.

You don't want to do that, and you don't want to have your band members do that, because the client actually signed a contract with us saying that we would play up until 06:00 p.m.. Sharp. Right.

We don't end a minute early. We don't end a minute late. We end right at 06:00 and so this person was asking to violate that contract.

And so I was pretty clear that, no, we're contracted till six. Can you stay till six? And they were giving me a little bit of pushback on it. And they said they would have to check the traffic on it and they would just give them a little extra time.

And I said, well, we're contracted to six. That's what my expectation is. So that was like red flag number one, and then red flag number two was as the bride or after the bride had walked down the aisle, this same musician during a ceremony.

In my opinion, the ceremony and a wedding itself is all about the bride and the groom. Or if it's two brides, both the brides, or if it's two grooms, both the grooms. It's about the couple.

It is not about the musicians. And what you do during the ceremony is you should do everything to support the couple having a perfect ceremony. Nothing you do should detract from it.

And so the official starts off the ceremony as this happens a lot in ceremonies, as the official says something to the effect of, this is an unplugged ceremony, we would appreciate if everybody would put away their phones.

You do not need to take pictures because we got professional photographers, et cetera. And then the subtext there is that to be respectful to the bride and groom, do not be on your phone and be distracted.

And so after the bride had walked down the aisle, the music was great, but this same musician pulled out their phone and starts texting furiously, holding the phone in both of their hands with an eye line eyesight of the bride.

The bride was standing there. The bride was oriented in such a way that her eyes were facing the quartet, and this musician just pulls out their phone and starts texting.

And so I immediately said, please put away your phone. And they did. They didn't give me any grief about that.

But then two minutes later, they pulled out their phone and start texting again, which at that point, I was like, please put away your phone. I was a little more forceful about it without interrupting the ceremony. And they did, and they kept it away for the rest of the ceremony.

And the rest of the wedding actually was totally fine. It was just so surprising to me because this was a really good musician. They sounded great.

The whole quartet sounded great. I'm very happy with the quartet. But these two little quirks raised my blood pressure, caused me to have to go into management babysitting mode instead of just playing good music, which that's what our goal is, play good music and get paid well for it.

So it was frustrating, but I didn't let it get to me when this person accepted the gig inside of BookLive, like, I use BookLive to contract all the gigs it sends out text messages and emails to the musicians so that I don't have to chase people down when they accept the gig, they get access to the production sheet, and they get emailed links to the production sheet, which I have an added attachment to the production sheet, which is guidelines for the quartet.

And so I'm not sure if this person opened the guidelines, but inside the guidelines, I've laid it out pretty clearly what the expectations are when you're on the gig, which includes don't be on your phone, do everything in service of the couple. And so this person, I don't think they read the guidelines.

So I'm going to have to change my process to make sure that they read the guidelines and agree to them.

I know there are some groups who, when you first add a member to your roster, they have you actually sign a little contract with them that has that kind of stuff in it. I haven't required that to this point, which maybe I should.

I'm hoping that this was a fluke and that this doesn't happen more than just one time, but I would like to prevent that.

And I'm of the impression that everything that happens, both good and bad, in my life is a direct result of my actions. Like, that's the extreme ownership Principle.

That's a book. You can look that up. Extreme ownership, great book.

Written by a Navy SEAL, former Navy SEAL. But the idea is, like, you got to take ownership of everything that happens. It's not anybody else's fault but your own.

So I take responsibility for this, and I know I could have prevented it by possibly implementing something like having them sign a contract when I first add them to my roster. It's tough because they're such a good musician.

I don't want to remove them from the roster for these little things, but at the end of the day, I am running a business, and if what they do gets in the way of me running the business, then it's more harmful for me to have them on my roster than to remove them from the roster.

So I got to do some thinking and soul searching, and maybe I'll chat with them and ask them a little bit about what the deal was with that, and if they give me a good enough reason, then perhaps I can let it slide.

But if not, then, well, there's no good excuse other than, like, a family emergency, which I would expect them to let me know about that. So, anyway, aside from that, the gig was great.

We played some fun music. The group was, like, locked in rhythmically. We were tight everybody was playing at a good enough volume that nobody was struggling to be heard.

We ended with sweet child of mine, which was such a fun song to play as a string quartet that we really rocked it. And we got some people like applauding and stuff, which was awesome. You don't usually get that at private events, so it felt good.

So yeah, I guess this is just kind of a congratulatory podcast for myself. Happy first string quartet gig of my own in Colorado. It's a wedding, and if you want to know how I booked it, then you will join the free Wedding Gig Challenge, which is happening on Monday.

I hope this podcast gets posted before Monday. Probably won't, but it's not too late to join. You could join in, then catch up at

If you go there, sign up it's totally free and then upgrade to the vip for free and you get a 30 day trial of BookLive, which actually has the Gig Vault, which is a treasure trove of over 24,665 private event venues and event planners that you can contact get in touch with.

And I've even put templates of what to send to them inside of BookLive, which is pretty amazing. And yeah, I'll casually drop this, but we're also adding in all the other kind of venues and event players in there too, so that you don't have to do all of that work yourself.

We'll just find you the contact for them. So it's a great deal. It's literally free, and this could be the foundation for your entire gigging career.

So go to and I will see you on Monday. So thanks for tuning into another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast.

Remember, "your music will not market its itself". Bye everybody.

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Episode 229 - The Power of Networking and Recommendations in the Music Industry

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Episode 225 - Unlocking Gigs: Venue Tours and Strategic Partnerships

Episode 224 - A Day in the Life: Venue Tours, Unexpected Gigs, and Networking Wins

Episode 223 - Landing Gigs Post-Wedding Expo: A Musician's Success Story

Episode 222 - Navigating the Wedding Expo Scene: A Musician's Journey to Success

Episode 221 - Maximizing Success at Wedding Expos: A Musician's Guide

Episode 220 - Unlocking High-End Gigs: Venue Tours and Virtual Assistant Strategies

Episode 219 - Maximizing Your Music Career: The Power of a Personal Assistant

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