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pianist booking guide

Everything You Need To Know About Booking A Pianist

Last Updated: 10th August 2022

Hiring a pianist is a wonderful way to bring your special occasion to life. Whether you’re looking for a magical musical backdrop to your wedding ceremony, a classy accompaniment to a black tie dinner or a cool soundtrack to a networking event, you’ll find a whole host of talented musicians at your fingertips at Entertainment Nation!

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve answered the most common questions we get asked about booking a pianist. From how much they cost to the space they need, and what they’ll play to when they’ll arrive, you’ll find everything you need to know right here, so let’s get started!

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  • What Music Will A Pianist Play?
  • Will Pianists Sing?
  • Can I Choose What The Pianist Plays?
  • How Long Will A Pianist Play For?
  • When Will A Pianist Play?
  • How Much Does A Pianist Cost To Hire?
  • Does My Venue Need A Piano?
  • What Do I Need To Provide For My Pianist?
  • Can A Pianist Play Outside?
  • How Long Does A Pianist Take To Set Up?
  • What Will The Pianist Wear?
  • When Should Book A Pianist?
  • How Do I Book Or Find Out More?

  • What Music Will A Pianist Play?

    Pianists come in all shapes and sizes, with some being specialists in a certain musical field and others being great all-rounders who are comfortable playing pretty much anything. (You’ll find most pianists fall into this camp!) When choosing your pianist, make sure to read their bio and check out their repertoire before booking, so you know that they’re able to create the vibe you’re after for your wedding or event. Below are some of the most common specialisms you’ll come across when choosing your pianist.

    Contemporary Pianists

    Sergio Ivory

    If you’re looking for a pianist for your wedding ceremony to play your favourite love songs as you walk down the aisle and while you sign the register, and to play chilled-out background music at your drinks reception, this is the style of pianist you should opt for. They’ll breathe new life into modern pop songs, classic love tunes and even heavy rock tracks if you’d like!

    Classical Pianists

    Vogue Piano

    Playing classical music is a tried and tested way of creating a peaceful and elegant atmosphere at any event. Whether there’s a traditional piece you’d like to hear during your wedding ceremony, or you want to create a calming and sophisticated feel at your black tie event, hiring a classical pianist is the way to go!

    Jazz Pianists

    Benjamin Christian

    Jazz pianists are masters when it comes to creating a laid-back and classy atmosphere. Playing jazz and swing classics by the likes of Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and Frank Sinatra as well as jazz renditions of modern chart hits, they’ll have your guests chilling in no time!

    Will Pianists Sing?

    Some will! Although most of our pianists are purely instrumentalists, many also offer singing as part of their performance. Watch their videos and read through their profile to see if any of our singer-pianists take your fancy before booking.

    Can I Choose What The Pianist Plays?

    Yes you can – within reason! Pianists (especially those with years of experience) normally have large repertoires of songs and pieces that they know like the back of their hand. Before your event, you can chat with them about they type of songs you’d love to hear so they can tailor their setlists to suit your musical tastes.

    If you’d like them to learn a special song for you that isn’t in their repertoire, most pianists will be happy to learn it for you, with some able to learn more if you’d like! This is ideal for your wedding ceremony as it allows you to personalise your special moment.

    How Long Will A Pianist Play For?

    Pianists can vary with their standard set times, and depending on your event, their sets might be broken up into smaller sections – this happens a lot in wedding ceremonies! In general, you can expect your pianist to play for a total of two hours. Some will offer more and some less so this is just a general rule. Many will be able to play for longer and offer extra sets for a small fee.

    JB Piano

    When Will A Pianist Play?

    Pianists are usually hired for weddings or corporate events, so let’s have a look at how their performance is likely to pan out for each of these very different occasions.


    Pianists will usually play their first set during your wedding ceremony, and their second during your drinks reception, although many couples choose to have them perform at their evening receptions due to their versatility and universal appeal.

    During the wedding ceremony, it works well to have your pianist play songs as follows:

    • 20 minutes as guests arrive
    • Song as the bride walks down the aisle
    • 2/3 songs while you sign the register
    • Song as you walk back up the aisle as a married couple
    • Continue to play as the remaining guests leave the ceremony room

    The pianist would normally then move to wherever you’re holding your drinks reception and continue to play for the remainder of their performance time.

    Corporate Events

    Pianists are very used to working with schedules at functions and dinners and will easily be able to accommodate speeches and other planned interruptions as long as they are told what to expect in advance! If they are simply required to provide background music for a dinner or while guests arrive for example, they will simply set up and perform for the required time.

    How Much Does A Pianist Cost To Hire?

    Pianists range in price depending on their experience, popularity and what they offer. On average a pianist is likely to cost somewhere in the range of £350-£500 for a standard two hours of performance time.

    Does My Venue Need A Piano?

    No. If there is no piano available at your venue, your pianist will be able to bring their own digital piano.

    An acoustic piano (grand or upright) is generally preferred by both pianists and clients as they are more traditional and look better too. However they definitely aren’t easy to move around! A digital piano wins every time if your venue doesn’t have an instrument available or you need your pianist to be able to transport it quickly – for example between venues if your ceremony and reception are in different places.

    If you opt to use your venue’s acoustic piano, check that all the keys are in working order and that it’s in tune. Press the pedals to check they’ve been oiled so you don’t get any squeaks during the performance!

    What Do I Need To Provide For My Pianist?

    If you opt to use an acoustic piano, it’s always a good idea to check if your venue has an adjustable piano stool and that lighting is available in case your pianist needs to be able to read music.

    If your pianist will be performing on a digital piano they’ll need an armless chair and a plug socket. As for refreshments, just make sure that some bottled water is available as well as a safe place for your pianist’s belongings. You don’t need to provide any food unless they are at your venue for more than four hours, in which case we request that a meal is provided.

    pianist outsideJames B

    Can A Pianist Play Outside?

    It’s unlikely that an acoustic piano would be placed outdoors so if you’d like your pianist to play outside they will probably use a digital piano, which will obviously need protecting from the elements. A marquee provides adequate shelter from the rain and strong sun so it’s a great idea to provide one if the weather looks a bit iffy. It’s also really hard to play the piano if your hands are frozen so if it’s going to be cold, try to have alternative indoor arrangements in place.

    How Long Does A Pianist Take To Set Up?

    Pianists don’t need long to set up, just 15-30 minutes, depending on whether they need to sort the sound output or not.

    What Will The Pianist Wear?

    You can get a general feel for what a pianist is likely wear from the promotional video on their profile. If you’d like them to wear something specific, e.g. black tie, a cocktail dress or something a little more casual, they’ll be more than happy to oblige and fit with your dress code.

    When Should Book A Pianist?

    It’s always a good idea to book your pianist as soon as possible. During the summer months they can become very busy so we’d recommend booking at least a year in advance. Don’t worry if you’ve left it later – we’ll try our best to find you a fabulous musician who is available on the date you need them!

    How Do I Book Or Find Out More?

    If you still have any questions you can give us a call on 0800 53 000 35 and chat to one of our friendly advisers, who’ll be more than happy to help you. To book, simply browse through the selection of incredible musicians available below and fill in the enquiry form on the profile so we can get back to you.




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