All posts by hannahviolin

I am a violinist. I also enjoy running, working out, reading, and hanging with my friends and cat.

Hiring a professional

Sometimes people tell me they can hire students for a cheaper price.  They say, oh this high school student can teach my child violin lessons for ten dollars a lesson, or, this group of college students can play my wedding for half that price.  I’m sure this is true, but I’m also sure you do lose a great deal of quality when you hire an amateur.

Granted, playing or teaching music isn’t quite like practicing medicine–no one is going to die from bad music or bad teaching!  However, if you hire an experienced teacher to teach yourself or your child, you will get someone who has taught many other students, has a degree in music, and  is able to play their instrument at a very high level. What does this mean for a beginning student?  It means that from the start we will be able to help you (or your child) get a proper foundation on the instrument.  It means we will know exactly what is important to learn at the beginning so that along the line (perhaps even ten or twenty years later) you won’t have to change things that are wrong.  I get many students who come to me after either learning on their own or learning from a less qualified teacher.  Sometimes I have to spend a couple of YEARS fixing the bad habits they have.  Imagine if those students had received the proper set up to begin with!

As for playing for your wedding or another event, what do you gain by hiring professionals?  Firstly, you gain a sense of professionalism in regards to contracting, timeliness, payment processing, and attire.  You also get a group who has played perhaps hundreds of weddings already, and knows how to react to things when they don’t go quite as expected (as happens in weddings!).  You get a group of people who are very adept at playing their instruments and have wonderful tone, musicality, rhythm, intonation, etc.   You will get a group of people that your guests will rave about! These are things that you may not get with a college or high school group.  Many times I have received a call from someone who booked a less professional group that backed out at the last minute!  It turns out that the savings they thought they were getting might have ended up getting them no live music at all.

Most importantly though, by hiring a professional musician, you will get someone who is dedicating their life to making music and as a result, will be very dedicated to making you enjoy your music as well!

Thoughts about outdoor weddings

Hi!  Welcome to my blog about weddings and teaching.  If you are reading this, you are probably thinking about taking violin lessons, or you are considering hiring the Frantillo Strings for your wedding or other event.  How will this blog help?  Well, I’m hoping to let you in on a bit more of the day-to-day life of a musician so that you will be able to feel just a bit more connected to me, and know more what you are getting into.

As a musician, there are generally two phases to life:  wedding season, and non-wedding season.  Here in St. Louis, and in Cleveland (where I lived before), wedding season generally runs from May to October or so.  Non-wedding season is obviously the rest of the year, though generally it feels like wedding season all year round, as when you aren’t playing as many weddings, you are generally booking bunches of them to play.  Interestingly, I have a violinist friend in Phoenix, and their prime wedding season is when our non-wedding season is.  Just a bit of trivia for you!

Currently, I’m deep into wedding season–after all, it’s June.  I imagine many little girls dreaming of getting married barefoot in the grass, wearing a beautiful long white dress, and kissing an as-yet-unimagined Prince Charming.  And now those girls have grown into beautiful women…about to get married in a beautiful garden on a lovely summer day in June.  Now, honestly, who are they kidding?  Where are those lovely summer days?  I can count about two days that have happened so far that I would consider a beautiful day.   The rest are too hot, too cold, too rainy, or too windy.  Plus, don’t forget about the bugs…YUCK!

What am I saying to you, if you are considering an outdoor wedding?  Just keep in mind that the string quartet (or whatever size group you have) will need to be out of direct sunlight and cannot play if there is rain (even one drop…even one HINT of a drop).  Generally a tent cover is good, sometimes tree cover works for sun.  Why does this matter?  Stringed instruments are made of wood, glue and varnish.  Too much sun or any water will ruin them!  Plus, the kind of instruments professionals play tend to be very expensive–usually ranging from the cost of  a car to the cost of a house!  We just can’t risk it.  Another issue is if it is too cold (think 60 degrees or less).  From what you’ve already learned about instruments, they wouldn’t do well in the cold.  In addition to that, when we play our instruments, we use many muscles.  If we are too cold (particularly our fingers), we are unable to play very well, in fact, sometimes we can only play very badly.  So if you have an outdoor wedding and it ends up being unseasonably cold, you will need to get a heater for the musicians.