What Are the Best Tips for Hiring Live Musicians?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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There are several factors to consider when hiring live musicians for an event. The live musicians' performance can impact the overall success of an event, so the musicians' reputations and performance style must be researched before agreeing to hire them. Live musicians should supply their own basic equipment and offer a song list or musical selections for customers to choose from. To protect both parties, a binding contract should be part of the hiring process.

The appropriate live musicians must be chosen to create a desired atmosphere. It must be determined if the live musicians will be featured entertainment or simply provide background music throughout the entire event or just a portion of it. Typical musical ensembles include a jazz trio, a brass or sting quartet, or a flute and harp duet. Instrument categories to choose from include woodwinds, brass, strings and voice. If a piano will be part of the live musical performance, its placement must be determined and it must also be tuned.

Typically, the best musicians can be chosen by speaking to other people who have hired live musicians for similar occasions. If possible, attending a performance at another location will ensure the musicians' style and musical selections are fitting for a planned event. It is also wise for individuals to request a song list, or inquire if the live musicians are able to "cover" the musical catalog of a particular artist or perform a certain style or genre of music.


Spelling out all the pertinent details of the hiring contract before signing it can save valuable time as well as any frustration caused by misunderstandings later. This will also ensure that the musicians are available on the desired date and time and that their cost is within budget. It is best to agree on all the details up front, such as the performance fees, deposit and type and length of the performance. As a fail-safe, getting the details in writing and having an arrangement spelled out in the event either party fails to hold up his or her end of the agreement is a wise step.

For a live performance, additional stage equipment may be required. Coordination may be needed between the live musicians and the venue owner or manager to ensure all the necessary equipment will be in place for the performance. It is also wise for individuals to visit the venue to ensure that there is a large enough stage area available for the musicians to safely and comfortably perform and that adequate electrical outlets and lighting are available. It is also beneficial to allow the live musicians access to the venue to set up in advance of the performance time.


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