Live Music for Two
by Dave

Live Violinist playing for two
This is the type of date that will score you all kinds of points with a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse, but should never be attempted on the first date, or even a second, third, or fourth date. Unless you want to appear insanely needy and drive your date away forever. Up to you. But as I was saying, in an existing relationship, having someone play your guy's favorite jazz on the guitar or romancing your girl with a classical violinist should have you on the receiving end of some (serious) loving. If not, the person has no soul and you will be much better off without them. Now to the date!

First, figure out what kind of setting you want for the meal. Do you want to go all out and set up a candlelit table in the courtyard of a museum with violin music, or throw down a blanket at the beach and watch the sunset while a guitarist plays in the background? Here are some ideas for location:

  • Sunset picnic at the beach
  • Dessert and wine in the park by candlelight
  • An open meadow or field under a starry sky
  • The courtyard of a public building (should have limited bystanders)
  • With a home-cooked meal at your place
  • Any other romantic place you know
As far as the setup is concerned, picnics with finger foods or a simple dessert and wine are much easier than a table, chairs, and fancy meal. I'm not saying you shouldn't be creative, just remember that without good planning it may go south on you in a hurry. Also, when drinking alcohol, always check ahead of time if it's permitted.

After deciding the what and the where, you'll need to find a good musician who's interested in the work. To start, figure out the instrument and type of music you’d like to hear, i.e. jazz guitar, classical violin, flute or even saxophone, and by 'you' I mean 'your date'. You do know what type of music they like, right? Professional musicians can be hired for anywhere from $100 on up and found through an online search for local musicians, agencies, craigslist services ads, or even by posting your own wanted ad on craigslist. Also consider local places where street musicians play for tips, like a city center or park. You might not feel comfortable inviting them into your home but they may be perfect for the beach.

If a professional is out of your price range, consider contacting local music schools or colleges for talented students. Call the music department, let them know what you have planned, and ask for recommendations. Any starving student worth their weight in ramen will kill for a paying gig, and $40-$50 should cover preparation, travel, and playing time. Before hiring anyone, always listen to a demo of their work or set up a time to hear them in person, especially when it comes to the violin. There's nothing worse than bad violin…except maybe bad saxophone. It's also nice to meet and get a feel for them as a person.

Outside venues are ideal for this date idea because the musician can watch discreetly until you signal and then walk over to surprise your date by playing. By the way, when your date looks at you like "Is this guy crazy?", and they will give you that look, just tell them it's okay. For home dates, you could have the person show up at a certain time during the meal or have them wait in their car for a few minutes and then call when you’re ready.

If you have a special song in mind, ask them to play it, but for the most part just suggest styles of music and let them be creative. Their fee should be waiting in an envelope at the end of the performance and it would be polite to set aside some hors d’oeuvres or dessert for them to take home.

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Student musician $40-$50/hr
Professional $100+/hr ($150 on avg)

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