Articles Relating to Spanish Guitar Weddings:
Spanish Guitar and Your Small Wedding
Last weekend I played at a spectacular wedding with a rather large budget. As I set up, I admired the horns, amps, guitars, and keyboards of the 10-piece band. It turns out they had been flown in from Nashville! The soothing strains of a string section drifted through the air--Handel, Bach, and Mozart. After the bride and her father walked down the aisle, the very picture of elegance; and the ceremony was finished, a gospel choir lifted their gorgeous voices to the heavens, accompanied by splendid accompaniment on a grand piano! I played for the cocktail hour, and was only a small part of this particular event.
As gorgeous as this wedding was, many people have weddings on a smaller scale--fewer guests, smaller ballrooms, less spectacle. Often these weddings will be held at a location just as beautiful, but cozier and more intimate. Because of fewer people and less room to cover, the services of a 10-piece band and gospel choir might be overkill! I specialize in smaller events and smaller weddings.
A soloist can offer a surprising amount of music and energy when matched to an appropriate room and group. I can play traditional wedding pieces such as Canon in D and the Wedding March, or can use Spanish or Latin pieces to give a more exotic feel. You can leave your cocktail hour to me, too, as the guitar can create an elegant atmosphere for your guests as you and your new husband (or wife) smile for the cameras. Although many people elect to hire a DJ, I can also play for the reception for a fraction of the cost.
If you decide to add another musician or two, I can provide even more energy and music for your event. Some people feel a large dance band or a DJ creates a little too much excitement, and prefer the sound of acoustic instruments. Sometimes all that's needed for a reception is a guitar and a bongo player to help make your night memorable and fun.
Spanish Guitar and Your Wedding Ceremony
You may have seen string quartets, harpists, and DJs handle the musical accompaniment to wedding ceremonies, but remember that a guitar can do this as well. If you enjoy the sound of a gently strummed or plucked guitar, it might be the perfect soundtrack to your wedding processional. A solo guitar is clear and elegant, and can provide beautiful music while keeping the focus where it should beóthe bride and groom. Another advantage is that a guitar is more portable and low-maintenance than any of the other options.
The only rule for the music you choose is that it helps create the mood that you want. Some people like a traditional feel for their ceremony. Classical pieces such as Canon in D, Wagnerís Bridal Chorus and Schubertís Ave Maria are justly famous. Their beauty has shone through the ages and touched generations of music-lovers. Sometimes even hearing the first few notes can make you tear up! Okay, I admit itóIím a bit of a softie. Here are some classic pieces for weddings:
Air on a G String (Bach), Ave Maria (Schubert), Bridal Chorus (Wagner), Canon in D (Pachelbel), Jesu, Joy of Manís Desiring (Bach), Ode to Joy (Beethoven), Romanza (Anonymous), Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke), and Wedding March (Mendelssohn).
Another idea is to choose music that will whisk you away to mysterious and exotic places. I can play a variety of flamenco, Spanish classical, and South American pieces that can add flavor to the ceremony while remaining appropriate for a wedding. You may enjoy the feeling that you are being married ďon locationĒ in a romantic movie set in
Or, you may have a song that has special meaning to you and your loved one, and have always dreamed about walking down the aisle to it. I would be more than happy to help make your dreams come true! Many songs can be arranged for guitar and will work nicely for this purpose. Some will not, just ask!
Remember that music can add to the emotions and intensity of the moment. You may find that the songs played at your wedding will inspire the romance and excitement of your ceremony for years and years to come. Your memories and music are forever.
Email me at email@example.com or call at (602) 615-8573 to discuss guitar music at your ceremony. Thank you!
Musicians and Volume
Clients are often concerned about volume, whether itís at wedding receptions or dinner parties. Maybe they are worried by the big black speakers Iím hauling in, or maybe they didnít think that a Spanish guitar needed any amplification at all. On the other hand, every performing musician, no matter how hard he tries, is bound to be asked to turn it down many times over his career. With a little teamwork, the client can relax and know that the volume will be at just the right level, and the musician will be know heís doing a good job.
The main thing is that the guitarist playing at a reception or a business meeting is not really the star: The event is the star. It follows, then, that the musician is actually one of the supporting cast as well, and his decisions should be based on that. One decision should be to make sure that he does not play so loud that the purpose of the event suffers. Another should be to act professionally at all times so as not to add to the clientís stress level. Yet another is he shouldnít try to draw any more attention to himself than is appropriate, for example by talking in the microphone too much to sell his CDs (unless heís Esteban).
I used to play with another guitarist here in
Phoenix who is a big fan of Carlos Santana, who played an electric guitar on the same stage in
Woodstock with Jimi Hendrix. As you can imagine, he played kind of loud. I noticed that no matter the situation, the first few tables near us would always end up being empty, and people would end up gathered on the other side of the room, as if there were pasted to the far walls by the blast of the speakers! The funny thing was the he would stand right in front where it was the loudest (I used earplugs when playing with him). Almost every event we played, the client would ask us to turn down the volume.
But in my opinion, the event (or bride) is the star, and the musician is there to support and enhance it. This is not to reduce the importance of music, because live music adds ambiance, romance, elegance, and sparkle to any gathering. The musician is one of the pillars that hold the whole thing together; itís a bad party without music, food, drink, and good company. But itís also bad when you canít talk because the music is too loud, shattering glasses and pushing people toward the exits.
So if the musician keeps his end of the bargain, focusing on the needs of the event rather than his need to act out his dreams of
Woodstock, what responsibility does the client have?
Here are some important points to keep in mind to make sure thereís smooth sailing:
- Itís ideal for the musician to be positioned a nice distance away from the first table or other gathering area, proportionally to the size of the room. 10 feet is a minimum distance for small events. If itís a large room, double or triple it.
- Musicians will of course work with whatever circumstances they are given, but without space between the amplification system and the guests, most of the people in the room will not even be aware that there is music, except for the first row or two of tables. To reach the whole event would turn the first few tables into a mosh pit. With more space, the musician can more easily reach a greater proportion of the attendees.
- Another is that young people should be seated closer to the musicians. Perhaps young people are used to playing their iPods at full volume, and so somewhat loud music doesnít bother them, or perhaps our elderly are more sensitive, but it seems to work out better if young people are closer to the music, older people are further away.
- If it is known that certain guests like music more, they should be placed closer, and if some people are known to have sensitive ears, it only makes sense they should be placed away from the music.
- A final point is that often the client or bride and groom who chooses the musician ends up sitting on the other side of the room and never get to enjoy him. One would think this less than ideal!
The last element is feedback and general instructions. If a client has certain expectations, these should be communicated to the musician, ideally well before the event. And if some aspect of the performance is not working, for example, it is too loud, they should let him know. Before the event, the musician will test his equipment and how it sounds in the room (called a sound check), but they are not fool-proof. Most musicians will gladly turn down the volume once they realize itís not at the proper level, and of course they will turn it up if no one can hear it.
In the end, the sound that the musician hears on stage is very different than the sound being projected to the guests, so the client shouldnít hesitate to let him know if itís too loud or too soft.