“A violin should be played with love, or not at all,” said the Czech writer and musician Joseph Wechsberg. 

How about playing the violin with love and for money, Wechsberg? Sounds like the best of both worlds.

Combine your passion for music with the practicality of pay and try these tips for booking more paying violin gigs as a soloist or string ensemble. 

1. Evaluate your market and find your niche.

Get a lay of the land. Think about your instrument skillset and song repertoire as they stand and where you could add to both. Serious musicians know their short- and long-term skill goals (and gaps). If you’re not sure, ask your violin teacher. 

Next, search for “musicians for hire” and “violinists for hire” near you. What are other string players and bands offering? What types of musicians do “Wanted” ads call for? Can you only find one wedding violinist in your area but dozens of punk cover bands? Where do you fit in, but what’s something new that you can offer?  

Remember that there’s no need to appeal to everyone, everywhere. 

“Not even The Beatles are liked by everyone, so appealing to the entirety of the human race is a ridiculous idea,” writes Music Industry How To

To find your niche and secure more paying violin gigs, Music Industry How To recommends:

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  • Putting your spin on an existing genre, like adding an instrument that doesn’t usually belong in your genre – Elvis songs on cello, anyone?
  • Open yourself to new perspectives by asking your current fans what they think is unique about you.

Once you’ve evaluated the musical landscape in your area and committed (at least temporarily) to your niche, it’s time to start marketing yourself to get some paying gigs. 

2. Charge what the market will bear.

During your research, take note of other musicians’ prices. 

Compare your prices to similar musicians in your area. You can do this by pretending you’re a potential customer and searching for your services online or comparing your rates to those on Thumbtack or GigSalad.

Thumbtack reports that hiring a solo musician costs about $50-$100 per hour. Still, the price varies depending on the venue, song selection/requests, gig length, travel distance, and musician skill level. 

3. Leverage the season.

Wedding season. Backyard BBQ season. Graduation season. Back to school season. Office holiday party season. Lean into every season with a unique musical offering. Sometimes people don’t know they need live music at a celebration. They need to be inspired! 

Cellist and two violin players playing for a wedding at Ramble Creek

Violinists and Cellist Playing at an Outdoor Wedding Ceremony at Ramble Creek in Tennessee

To be found for more paying wedding gigs: 

  • Leave cards or flyers at local wedding dress shops, bakeries, and caterers. 
  • Post social media videos of you or your string ensemble playing the most popular wedding songs for violin, such as Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach, and Ave Maria by Franz Schubert.
  • Add a web page or blog post to your site specifically geared toward your services as a “wedding violinist in [your city].” 

To be found for more summer paying gigs: Luxurious outdoor picnic in forest with cushions and long plated table

  • Post ads in high school or college graduation programs and leave cards or flyers at local hot spots that cater to large gatherings in your city, such as barbecue joints, sandwich shops, and even Mexican food restaurants. Post in liquor and wine stores, too!
  • Pioneer the picnic serenade. Luxurious, curated, on-the-spot picnics are #hot right now. Find a picnic company in your area (like Picnic Pop Up in Nashville, TN), and offer your serenade services as an add-on. Just make sure you brush up on your Beyoncé covers! 
  • Post physical ads, flyers, or a message on Nextdoor in neighborhoods known for hosting backyard parties or summer gatherings. Offer up pop favorites by Taylor Swift, The Dixie Chicks, and yes, The Beatles. 

To be found for more paying holiday gigs: 

  • Learn a set of holiday tunes and offer a flat rate for these songs. Make the package easy to plug and play in an office budget! 
  • Don’t limit yourself to office parties. Offer to play at in-home holiday parties, too. 
  • Volunteer to play holiday music at a local wine store on the weekend to attract potential customers purchasing for an upcoming party. 
  • Create and curate videos of yourself playing the most popular holiday tunes on the violin. In the description area, prompt people to contact you for a live performance! “Want to hear these songs live? Call ###-###-###!” 
  • Think beyond Christmas! What songs could you play during a Halloween party? Valentine’s Day date? Fourth of July cookout?Woman with short hair and dark lipstick in moody setting with purple lighting

To be found for more paying violin gigs in your locale: 

  • Write down important holidays, seasons, and people for your city and its culture. If you live in Tennessee, you might write down the Country Music Awards/CMA Fest, the Cherry Blossom Festival, and Dolly Parton. In turn, cater to these occasions and people! During CMAs, you could go to people’s AirBnBs and play all the nominated songs. During cherry blossom season, you could encourage people to celebrate with a curated tea ceremony song selection. And to honor Dolly Parton… you could learn Dolly’s songs on violin and cater to bachelorette parties or the entire human race. Everyone loves Dolly! 

Want to learn more about how to book shows and build your musical career? Read our full gigging guide here.

Start practicing and start booking more gigs!

More gigs mean more wear and tear on your bow. Can your gear handle it? Shop CodaBow carbon fiber bows online and try one in-home today. It’s time to book more violin gigs and bank on your skills and the quality of your CodaBow. Feel free to sign up on our email list for additional information about getting the optimal experience of paid performances.

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