By now it is pretty clear that I am quite fond of the Jason Parker Quartet, their music is wonderful, their business model exemplary, and Jason’s insights on his website and approach to music really shine a path for all other struggling artists to follow in this modern era.
Way back in high school my rock and fusion groups had some paying gigs at clubs and colleges and events, and each sort of performance had different requirements and expectations on our part and the part of the audience. Fast forward several years to my own wedding, and my wife and I were fortunate enough to get an alternative group based in Boston but with roots in her home town in upstate NY. They put on a great show, played a few special requests and really helped make the day special.
Yet I have never considered wedding gigs as anything that a musician would really WANT to do. I mean, isn’t doing wedding gigs something you do just to grab some easy money, play some cheesy tunes that aren’t your style, and grab some easy money? Sure they can be fun, and I know there are groups who are essentially ‘wedding bands’, but they aren’t the sorts of folks putting out stuff like ‘No More, No Less’ (oneworkingmusician).
So I read with interest as Jason Parker wrote on his blog about Top 10 Reasons I Love Playing Weddings. Wait – he LOVES playing weddings? Now THIS I have to read! Here is what he said:
I know many musicians who don’t like playing weddings. I’m not one of those musicians. Weddings make up a big part of my ability to survive as a working musician and I’m thankful for each and every one I’m asked to play.
And then he lists his top 10:
10. Playing music with my favorite people in the world, my bandmates in the Jason Parker Quartet
9. Gettin’ gussied up
8. Playing beautiful music that I love, both standards and the non-traditional tunes our hip couples tend to pick
6. Playing in so many different beautiful locations
5. Being entrusted with setting the tone for the biggest day of peoples’ lives
4. Paying my bandmates well and fairly for their talents
3. Paying myself well and fairly for my talents
2. Did I mention cake???
1. Weddings help finance all the other things I do, like club gigs that pay poorly, tours, recording CD’s, etc.
It is interesting … in an article he notes how his reputation of providing service has allowed him freedom and flexibility in how he presents the music – as well as how much he gets paid!
I am sure he is not the only one – there are probably plenty of really talented and creative musicians in various genres who love helping to create that extra special day for a bride and groom. I look back on the band we had a realized that we were blessed with just such a group, folks who drove four hours to help us start our married life together.
What about you – do you have any stories of folks like Jason Parker who are out there producing great music and also sharing their talents and passions at weddings and similar events? Let us know! And … if you’re in the Seattle and planning a wedding, be sure to check out Jason’s site and listen to some of his stuff!