Primary Blog/Gigging Musician Podcast/Episode 237 - Mastering the Art of Gigging: From Weddings to Bar Mitzvahs

Episode 237 - Mastering the Art of Gigging: From Weddings to Bar Mitzvahs

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

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Episode Recap

In this episode, Jared Judge recounts his experiences from a busy day of gigging, including a morning wedding and his first-ever bar mitzvah performance. Jared shares valuable insights on creating memorable performances, leveraging DJ partnerships, and using unique marketing strategies to stand out in the music industry. He also discusses the importance of being versatile and engaging with the audience to elevate your gigs. Tune in to learn how to enhance your music career and make a lasting impression at every event.

Best Quote

"I'm really focused on playing beautifully, making the music emotional, setting the atmosphere, and technically, how that translates on violin is obviously, I'm playing in tune as much as I can, good rhythm as much as I can, good articulation as much as I can."


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What's up, renegade musicians? It's Jared Judge. Welcome back to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. I am on my way back home from a wedding.

I played a wedding gig this morning at 10:00 a.m. pretty early for a wedding, especially one that doesn't happen in a church. This one happened at the Flagstaff house, which is a really cool restaurant up in Boulder, about 30 minutes away from where I live.

And it was gorgeous. It overlooked the city of Boulder, and it was in the mountains, so there were, like, trees surrounding it. But it was a restaurant, and I don't know, it was so cool.

I actually captured about an hour long video of me playing the cocktail hour, which is awesome. I'm super excited to chop that up into some reels for Instagram, TikTok, YouTube. Yesterday, I played a string trio wedding at Villa Parker, which, you know, I've mentioned that venue quite a few times on this podcast, and it was awesome.

Great, great wedding. Fun stuff. I'll kind of go through each of the gigs, and then tonight I have.

It's a double header day for me. I am playing with a dj for a bar mitzvah, which is my first ever bar mitzvah performance. So I'm excited to kind of see how that goes.

And, yeah, let's dive in here. Okay. So yesterday at wedding was a string trio gig that I got through a dj company.

There's a dj company in Denver called "A Music Plus", and they work with live musicians. They're kind of like a hybrid dj instrument cover band booking agency. Actually.

Don't know if they do cover bands. That'd be good to find out. I think I saw it on their website.

And so a while back, I just kind of cold called them because, you know, I know the value. I did an episode on working with DJ's because DJ's are the most commonly booked entertainment for high end gigs, whether that's a wedding, corporate event, bar mitzvah, whatever. And so I cold called this dj company.

Yeah, the reason why I cold called them was I did see that they had instruments on their website, and I knew that I could possibly get on their roster. Cold called them. They didn't reply.

They didn't answer their phone. I think I emailed them. I didn't get a response back.

And then a while later, I was going on this tour of a venue called church ranch event center in, I think it's Westminster, Colorado, kind of a suburb of Denver.

And I found out that they were doing an open house, and I love to showcase my services at those open houses because, you know, whether it's wedding, corporate event, whatever, they get inspiration from the different businesses that showcase their work at these open houses.

So I called church ranch event center after I had taken a tour of them, and I said, hey, I notice you guys have a open house.

Like, would it be possible to come in and showcase at it? And they said, unfortunately, we only have one entertainment spot, and we had the same entertainment company for the past five or so years. Do it. And we're not really looking to change.

I was like, oh, crap. And then I asked, well, who is it? And they said, it's "A-Music Plus", I was like, okay.

And I did try to negotiate a little bit and, like, wiggle my way in, but sometimes you just get a no and it doesn't change. So instead of, you know, trying to blow through that barrier and maybe possibly burn a bridge, I instead decided to get a little creative and follow up with " A Music Plus" a third time. This time, I called him.

I got somebody on the phone and had a really nice conversation with one of the owners. And he said, yeah, I have heard about you. And in my back of my.

I was probably thinking, yeah, probably because I called and emailed you a bunch of times. Sorry about that. So he was like, yeah, that's.

Hang on, I'm driving. I do not want to get in there, Lane. So, yeah.

He said, yeah, I like your work. I think, you know, we've been working with a string group for a while, and we are looking for other options. So we've got a wedding coming up May 31 at Villa Parker, and we're looking for a string trio for that.

Maybe we'll just have this as kind of your first shot working with us, and we negotiate a little bit on the price and came to an agreement. And then I went and hired myself a string trio. And I don't know if I mentioned this on the podcast before, but when I play in, like, trio or quartet situations, I tend not to book myself for the lead instrument trio or quartet.

That would be the first violin. And I do that so that, like, you know, I am there primarily to make sure things go smoothly, that the people hiring us have the best possible experience. And there's a lot of mental energy that I need to spend and sometimes even physical energy, moving chairs or equipment and just kind of coordinating and wrangling the musicians.

So that's a lot of responsibility already. And so I give myself a break on the music side and usually play second violin or viola, which those are more like the rhythm or backup instruments that don't have as intricate parts. That way, I can multitask.

And that comes especially in handy when, like, the couple is walking down the aisle, and you have to time your music to when they're walking down the aisle.

If you're playing the first violin part and there's a lot of, like, complicated melodies, your eyes tend to be glued to the sheet music that you use, and then it's hard to notice what's going on around you. Like, are they walking down the aisle yet? Are they arrived? Do we need to fade out?

And so playing second violin or viola really gives me that chance to just kind of multitask, and I actually have a lot of the second violin parts memorized, which is nice, because then I can keep my eyes off of the.

Off the music and onto the action. All right, so I'm driving back from this gig. I'm taking a look at a car on the side of the highway that looks like it was on fire at one point.

That does not look good. All right, cool. The traffic is slowed down.

All right. So, yeah, that wedding went great. I had a consultation with the couple, like, a week or two before the wedding finalized their song, and the song that the bride walked down the aisle to was two most wanted, one of Beyonce's new songs from her new album.

And they requested that they actually had us make a new arrangement of it because it's so new that, you know, the sheet music doesn't exist. So we hired an arranger and then played that song. And after the wedding, which, by the way, I got to record a couple tunes as we were warming up and playing the prelude music.

So I have a recording of two most wanted now, which is awesome. But after the wedding, the groom came up to me and the rest of the group, and he said, like, guys, when you played two most wanted, I just burst into tears, and I was like, that's awesome. That is exactly what we wanted.

That is the emotional response that will get us a good review. That is the emotional response that will give us a good feedback to the dj company that hired us. So very proud of that wedding.

We had some new players that I had not worked with before, and they did pretty good. One of them was newer to playing weddings, and this was actually one of his first ones, but he did fine.

A couple tweaks, like, a couple suggestions for anyone, especially classical players who are looking to play ceremonies, my biggest suggestion is do not use paper sheet music or lead sheets just because if a wedding's outdoors.

You risk the wind. And also for weddings, the change between songs has to happen fast. This is not an orchestra concert where you can take a couple minutes and retune in between each, each piece.

Now you got to go fast. And so having paper really prevents that. So my big suggestion these days is just use a tablet.

They're reliable enough that, you know, they're not going to crap out on you during a critical moment. But other than that, it was great. Um, then I have an interesting story.

Actually, might, might save this interesting story for another podcast. And it's related to a wedding that I didn't book, but I did actually get a review for. I'm gonna leave that as a hook there.

And you'll just have to wait till I report another podcast episode where I dive into that. It's not the, the most fun story. Well, it's fun, but it's not, not the happiest story.

So just wait till that episode and I'll leave that there. Alright then. Today's wedding.

This morning's wedding. Okay. Something amazing happened at today's wedding, which I played their ceremony and their cocktail hour.

So the ceremony was at 10:00 the cocktail was from eleven to twelve. And then they were having a luncheon and they invited us, me, the officiant, and the photographer. They invited us to have lunch in the main dining area with, with them, which was nice.

But then after I was finished eating, I, I'm trying to figure out the order to tell the story. I'll start with the, the fun ending. So after I was done eating, I go and start to like, thank the couple and everything.

And as I go and walk over to the couple, they have their own table. And then the mother of the, the bride just stands up and comes over to me and she's like raving about me. She says, you did such an amazing job.

So many people are asking for your card. Our niece is getting married in Texas and we want to have you there. It's like, oh, that's great.

I've got family in Texas. And then she does something unexpected, which is she turns to the entire, like the rest of the guests, which it was a smallish wedding, maybe 50 people, and like kind of makes a speech and she's like, I don't know about you, but I feel like we all really enjoyed this man's music. And she says, give him a round of applause.

So everybody at the wedding gives me a round of applause, which I never had happen before. I took a bound, I was kind of uncomfortable. I'm not really that comfortable being in the spotlight, but I took a bound.

I was very gracious and grateful, and she was just ranting and raving about what a great job I did. And then the bride said to me, like, have they asked you about later? I was like, oh, what's happening later? They're like, oh, we're having a party this evening and we want you to come. It's like, ah, bummer.

I'm playing a bar mitzvah, so I could not come. But, like, that was so cool. They really thought I did a good job, and I think I did a good job, too.

And I've got video that hopefully will prove that, because I took a whole video of the cocktail hour, literally an hour long video of some fun music. They walked down the aisle to Annie's song by John Denver, and then they walked back up the aisle at the end to Rocky Mountain High, also by John Denver. It's my first time playing John Denver music.

It's gorgeous. I love John Denver. So I'm gonna try to incorporate that a bit more into my cocktail hour music.

And it works well as a ceremony, ceremony song, too. And so, yeah, I think the reason why I got such good feedback was because I did do a good job for ceremonies.

I'm really focused on playing beautifully, making the music emotional, setting the atmosphere, and technically, how that translates on violin is obviously, I'm playing in tune as much as I can, good rhythm as much as I can, good articulation as much as I can.

And then I do play with a very warm vibrato. So I try to make my violin sound as much like a human voice as possible. And so I feel like I do a good job of just, you know, making people feel things.

And then for cocktail hour, like, I still play beautifully. I try to play beautifully, but for cocktail hour, I bring the energy up and, you know, playing much more, like, upbeat songs, like, don't stop believing is one of them. Shivers by Ed Sheeran Despacito.

And actually, I had a couple people dancing when I played Despacito. And the way that I feel like I go the extra mile with those performances is by putting a lot more energy into my bow. So my bow is like the pick of a guitar or drumsticks on a drum.

And so I do play around with the rhythm quite a bit. I mentioned that I'm a student of Tracy Silverman. He is a violinist who invented the strum bowing method, which treats your violin, bow arm, or cello or bass or viola, like a guitarist's right hand when they're picking and playing rhythm guitar.

And so I'm like playing 8th notes and 16th notes and playing chords and stuff like that on violin, and people really notice. And then also I am improvising a lot.

Like, I do play a lot of the standard melody, especially like in the first verse and the first time I play the chorus, but maybe the second time around I add a couple extra notes or make the rhythm a little bit different.

Playing a lot of syncopations off the beat stuff. Hemiolas and then doubling the speed of the rhythm, keeping the melody the same rhythm, but like subdividing each note so that a quarter note gets four 16th notes, that kind of thing. And so as a result of that, you know, I think it does come across.

People kept complimenting me, and that may be why I got the applause at the end. Not to tube my own horn or anything. I am actually a humble person, if you get to know me, I swear.

But I was proud of it. So that was 2 hours of playing, roughly two and a half. And now I'm gonna go home, take a nap.

The pool is open, so I may actually go and swim in the pool. And then. Gotta get ready for this bar mitzvah tonight, which this bar mitzvah tonight was hired through a different dj company.

This is through dance tracks entertainment. Excited to work with them a second time. I think this is our second ever performance together.

First one was at the Broncos Stadium in power field for a corporate Christmas party. This is for a bar mitzvah, and it's very music themed. And so they asked us, don't wear your standard suit and tie.

Bust out the music clothes. Like, what are music clothes? I don't really have that many band t shirts, and so I actually do have a couple. Well, I have one EDM jersey from my favorite EDM artist, Zed.

And so I sent them a picture of. I don't have any band shirts, but I've got this EDM jersey. Is this okay? And the owner said, I love it.

And so that's what's gonna happen today. I don't know what music we're going to be playing, but this is kind of that skill where, you know, I think a lot of instruments can learn and make some good money with, which is being able to listen to songs and just play a groove on top of it. So I'm gonna go deep into that rhythm guitar style playing and throw in a couple solo licks on top.

And then you're gonna see me loosen up a bit dance more on the dance floor and they're gonna be kids there. So we'll see. It's gonna be a fun, fun dance party.

And I want to get some photos of me with the kids behind me because one of my other DJ colleagues, he just launched a bar mitzvah like event planning company that I think the main goal is to get himself booked as a dj, but he'll do some of the other party planning stuff too.

And so he launched a website for that and he wants to put me and Extreme Strings on his website as one of the potential vendors that he'll recommend. He said, get some photos with kids in the background and we'll put those up.

A very productive day. I'm excited. I had a lot of fun and I'm excited to share that review story in our next podcast.

So I may record that on the way to or from the bar mitzvah. We'll see if I have the energy because today is a marathon of playing. I'm probably gonna be playing for six or 8 hours total today, which is crazy because I never practiced that much in music school.

I was not a practicer. I never really have been somebody who just practiced for hours on end. I get bored and to be honest, and so to be able to perform for this long is just awesome.

I'm incredibly grateful that this is what I get to do and have so much fun doing it. Alrighty, well, that's all I got for you guys today.

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Check out reviews from other musicians who have gotten those. All right, that's all I got for you guys today. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast.

Remember, "Your music will not market itself!".

Episode 238 - Breaking into the Bar Mitzvah Scene: Jared’s Electric Violin Experience

Episode 237 - Mastering the Art of Gigging: From Weddings to Bar Mitzvahs

Episode 236 - Elevate Your Performance: Becoming a High-Paid Gigging Musician

Episode 235 - Embracing the Renegade Musician Mindset: Transform Your Gigging Career

Episode 234 - Building a Music Community: Lessons from EDM and Metal Fusion

Episode 233 - Think Like a DJ: Elevate Your Music Career with High-End Gigs

Episode 232 - From Bar Gigs to High-End Events: The Renegade Musician's Guide to Success

Leadership in the Music Industry: How to Secure High-Profile Gigs and Take Charge of Your Career

Episode 230 - Unlocking the Secrets of Consistent Networking and Modern Sales for Musicians

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

Episode 228 - Navigating the Gig Economy: Venue Tours, Expos, and the Power of Numbers

Episode 227 - Strategic Moves: Venue Tours, Expos, and Unexpected Gigs

Episode 226 - Maximizing Gigs: New Tools for Tracking Success and Boosting Bookings

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


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