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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 06-07-2017, 09:20 AM   #1
Doug Campbell
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Default Learning tunes for jobs - limits?

Hi all - been a while since I have been here. I've been contacted about playing a wedding that's about 6 weeks out from now. The bride's mom has come to me with a lengthy list of tune requests, many of which I already know but there are some new ones - let's say a half dozen I would have to learn. Do you set limits on the number of tunes you are willing to try to commit to memory for a hired job? Nothing worse than the mind going blank on the spot with a half-learned tune...I've learned my lesson there. I'm thinking I might have to cap it at two, tops. Thoughts? Thanks.
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:26 AM   #2
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Learning tunes for jobs - limits?

Yeah man, a tune a week is a bit steep... If I were in that situation, I might say, "of these tunes, which two are your top-priority?" And commit to those with as many more as might be possible, but no guarantee. If it's a reasonable person you're working with, they'll probably be cool about it. You could always say, "first four requested tunes are free," and charge a premium per-additional-request...
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:56 AM   #3
Ian Lawther
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Default Re: Learning tunes for jobs - limits?

I think it would depend on the tunes that are requested. Are they tunes you might like to play again later? Even better are any of them on your tune "bucket list" and this will actually give you a reason to finally sit down and work on them?

Many years ago I did a wedding in south east London where the bridegroom ( and a larger number of the male guests) were involved in boxing. They requested Eye of The Tiger on the pipes to lead the couple into the reception. The booking came through an agency run by some pipers and they had arranged / transcribed the tune for me and I duly learned it. When we got to leading the couple into the marquis where the reception was, I started the tune and stepped forward. Everyone stood up and cheered incredibly loudly until the couple reached the top table and the tune was completely drowned out through the whole procession. This has coloured my view of learning special requests ever since......

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Old 06-07-2017, 10:09 AM   #4
el gaitero
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Default Re: Learning tunes for jobs - limits?

Where does she want you to play all these tunes? Usually at a wedding I play a variety of airs etc of my choosing outdoors during the half hour before the ceremony then more rousing tunes afterwards as the couple comes out and guests mill around.

It's always my impression that (a) the brides mom is nowhere to be seen to think or comment about the tunes,if actually knowing the names at all and (b) ditto for the guests...mostly.

The main things for me are...dress smartly,have your pipes penultimate,play well...don't screw up and draw attention.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:55 PM   #5
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Learning tunes for jobs - limits?

Sound comments and suggestions, above. One thing I find interesting is how many request tunes with "wedding" in the title. Why? Just because it has "wedding?"...especially when they wouldn't recognize it from any other tune? Yes, establish boundaries. All the best.
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Old 06-07-2017, 05:01 PM   #6
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Learning tunes for jobs - limits?

As I've mentioned, when I was doing a load of weddings, years ago, I encountered organists, violinists, etc who either 1) refused to do requests or 2) charged extra for them. One organist told me he charged $50 each.

If you're going to be doing lots of weddings you might want to learn how to sightread, because a sightreader doesn't need to learn tunes, and has an unlimited repertoire.

It's one thing if clients know about pipe music and have their favourites, that's cool. What annoys me is when people are completely ignorant of pipe music, yet still want to micro-manage what the piper does.

I had one person request a whole list of typical trumpet repertoire. I told her if she wants trumpet music she should hire a trumpet player.

My experience has been exactly what El Gaiteiro says: the Bride will make a big deal about the crucial importance of some particular request, I'll play it, and the second I finish the Bride will run up saying "why haven't you played _______ ?" Oi vey.
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Old 06-07-2017, 05:13 PM   #7
el gaitero
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Default Re: Learning tunes for jobs - limits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post

, and the second I finish the Bride will run up saying "why haven't you played _______ ?" Oi vey.
My usual almost immediate dumbfounded response is " ??...I just did"...or "...three tunes ago"....;..albeit sometimes a wee bit of fake news.....
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Old 06-07-2017, 05:27 PM   #8
Doug Campbell
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Default Re: Learning tunes for jobs - limits?

Yeah, I've played lots of weddings and encountered all of this stuff before, just not a lengthy list of tunes in advance - and most of them from the Irish repertoire. I met them tonight and set expectations. I have no problem learning new tunes - in fact it's nice to have some motivation to do so. As it turns out, some of their requests have different titles in Irish than I am familiar with - so, "O'Sullivan's March" becomes "The Rock and Wee Pickle Tow". I told them I could commit to two unfamiliar tunes and they were fine with that. As most people have already commented, this is mostly pre-wedding neurosis and on the day itself, nobody will even hear me or care if I play that one or the theme from Star Wars (that was an actual processional one time)...thanks all for your input.
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Old 06-07-2017, 07:26 PM   #9
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Learning tunes for jobs - limits?

I just started working on three new tunes for funeral this weekend, and a similar number for wedding coming up the following week, but they are tunes I will no doubt use again. Nowadays piping and singing are my only jobs ( retired teacher) so I can put in some time learning new repertoire.
On the other hand, if it's a request for a tune that doesn't fit on the pipes, I will let them know that early on. As for Danny Boy, often requested- none of my clients have been disappointed when I sing it rather than play it.
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:42 AM   #10
Paddypipes
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Default Re: Learning tunes for jobs - limits?

Having had the horrible pleasure of losing a tune half way through, realising that i had gone into something similar, but not the same as the tune requested, I am also wary of committing to tunes I am not familiar with.

but Waldo, I am shocked. I am sure you have a great singing voice, but Danny Boy sounds great on the pipes. That and Fields of Athenry are the 2 most requested tunes I get for Irish funerals, always makes someone cry. though it could be my version of Danny Boy that makes them cry, mmm
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