Encore Blog

Violinist Booking Guide – 2018 Prices, Hiring Advice and FAQs

Emma Rushworth Violin

From Bach to Nicola Benedetti, throughout the ages violinists have been the go-to musicians to provide excitement and class to weddings, corporate events and parties. But making sure you book the right violinist can be difficult.

Don’t worry though—we’ve written this handy guide which covers everything you could possibly need to know about booking violinists.

Here’s what our Violinist Booking Guide contains

Use the links to jump straight to what you most want to know…

  1. The Basics

  2. Equipment & Setup

  3. Repertoire

  4. Booking

violin2Encore violinist, Aelfwyn Shipton

The Basics of Hiring a Violinist

What styles of music can a violinist play?

Violinists are normally classically trained (think: Bach, Beethoven and Brahms). However, many can play in a variety of styles; this training prepares them well to play any type of music at a high quality. The most common styles played by violinists—other than classical—are pop, jazz, and folk.

So, while classical music may be a violinist’s specialisation, they may also be familiar with a number of pop & folk tunes.

When, during my wedding/event, should I get the violinist to play?

One of the best things about violinists is their flexibility—they can play during the quieter parts of your event (e.g., the bridal procession & walk out for a wedding), or as background during the louder parts when your guests are talking (such as guests arrival, drinks/canapés, & dinner). It’ll be up to you to choose what works best for your event.

How Much Does a Violinist Cost?

Each violinist will set their own rates, but expect a fee of £200 for two 45-minute sets, plus travel and amplification expenses if applicable. Some guitarists have a set fee for an event while some will charge hourly. As always, be wary of musicians charging significantly less, as they may not have the skill to deliver a great performance.

Encore violinist, Rob Jourdain, playing for a marriage proposal

Equipment & Setup

How much space does a violinist need?

In short, not much! Violinists will play standing or seated—so long as there is room for their music stand, and their PA system (if required), they should be fine.

What equipment will they need?

Most importantly: a seat for breaks when they aren’t playing, as well as a good source of light so they can read their music.

Do I need to provide a PA system?

If you have a large number of guests or the venue is very large, violinists can often provide a PA system for amplification. They will also usually provide a PA system if you’ve asked them to play with backing tracks (more detail about backing tracks later). To power the PA, you will need to provide a power source close to where they’ll be playing.

It’s best to discuss these details directly with your violinist. Violinists are used to playing in a wide range of venues; they are well-placed to give you a recommendation on the most effective set up for your occasion.

How long will it take violinist to set up?

Generally: 10–15 minutes without a PA system; 15–30 minutes with a PA system.

Encore violinist, Laci Olah, playing with guitar accompanying—the violin sounds fantastic when playing alongside other instruments

Should I provide food?

Musicians will appreciate water and light refreshments upon arrival (especially if they’ve travelled a long way to perform for you!). Meals are always welcome, though generally not necessary unless your event is at dinnertime.

Can a violinist play outside?

Definitely! So long as the weather is warm enough, and there is adequate rain shelter (such as a gazebo or marquee), it’ll be fine. If the violinist is using a PA, an extension lead may need to be supplied. Make sure to tell the musician in advance if you want them to be outside so they can prepare ahead of time.

What dress code can I expect?

Violinists can tailor their outfit to your event. White tie, tuxedo, floor-length gowns, cocktail dresses, smart casual or just all black are all possible. Violinists are well-known for their sartorial prowess.

How long will the violinist play for?

Sets are usually 45-60 minutes long with a 15 minute break between sets. Generally, a violinist will have enough repertoire for about 3–4 sets of music, but 1 or 2 sets is more of a typical length of performance.  

Do I need to provide parking?

If the musician is planning to drive, please make provision for parking if possible. Having to drive around looking for a parking space in a town you don’t know can be stressful, expensive, and may delay the performance. It’s worth checking, though, as some may take the train (and might appreciate a pickup from the station!).

Repertoire

Popular Classical requests

  • Chaconne, Partita No. 2 – Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Canon and Gigue in D Major – Johann Pachelbel
  • Sonata No. 5 in F Major – Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Salut d’Amour – Edward Elgar

Popular Pop requests

  • Perfect – Ed Sheeran
  • Stay With Me – Sam Smith
  • Skyfall – Adele
  • A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
  • All Of Me – John Legend

Backing tracks, or no backing tracks?

This will depend on whether you’d like your violinist to play classical pieces, or also include other styles of music in their performance.

If the violinist’s performance only includes classical pieces, they probably won’t need backing tracks. Classical pieces for violin sound wonderful on their own, and work really well as background music, or in more intimate settings.

If the violinist’s performance includes pop songs or other styles, they may be able to provide backing tracks to fill out their performance. They’ll often perform the melody line of popular tunes, alongside pre-prepared backing tracks (think: ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran, or ‘Skyfall’ by Adele—these songs sound great played on violin!).

Encore violinist, Amy Fields, plays alongside backing tracks

Can they play my favourite song / take requests?

Certainly! Do let your violinist know ASAP though; if they’re not already familiar with your choices, they will need adequate time to prepare. Keep in mind, violinists are very busy people, so they may add an additional fee to your booking for this service—this is a small price to pay to hear your favourite song played in a new and exciting way!

Booking

How far in advance should I book?

We advise booking as soon as possible, especially if you have special musical requests, but we handle last-minute bookings all the time at Encore and can easily find a violinist at short notice.

Do I have to pay travel fees / porterage?

You may have to factor in travel costs if the violinist isn’t local. We have violinists all over the country, so we can usually find someone close to your location.

The standard rate is 47p/mile, so if the violinist needs to travel 50 miles each way, that’s an additional £47 for 100 miles of travel. This amount should only be used as a rough guide—each musician will set their own fees.

How do I handle contracts and payment?

The easiest way to handle contracts and payment is to book through Encore. Our bookings process is extremely straightforward, and once you have confirmed a booking with your chosen violinist, contracts and payments will be handled painlessly and effortlessly by our secure ‘Encore Pay’ payment system.

What now?

So—now that you’re an expert of the ins-and-outs of booking a violinist—feel free to email us at [email protected], or put through an enquiry via our homepage; we’d love to help you find the perfect violinist for your event!

Harry Burgess

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