My Last Wedding of the Season, A San Diego Guitarist Wedding Blog

October means two things to me as a guitarist. First, believe it or not October is usually my busiest month for weddings.  A fitting punctuation as it is also the ‘end’ of the ‘wedding season.’

Although I play weddings year round April through October are the  months I am busiest performing for couple’s big day. I am still not sure why October is the busiest, but it is! And yes, I have even done Halloween Weddings, and no, they were not holiday themed…just regular ol’ weddings!

With October coming to a close, this past weekend marked the end of my wedding season. I played a new venue, to me, and one I thought was really cool! It is called LevyLand. The venue is just a house, like a typical summer rental, in Carlsbad, CA. But just a house does not do it justice. It is a really nice house in a really nice area near the beach in the San Diego area, with a great garden for hosting events, such as, weddings.

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A great wedding, great people…a great way to end my 2012 wedding season. This was also special because the bride was a former student of mine. I am always honored when former students and clients keep me in mind for their music needs.

Best to K n R! Thanks for having me out to play for you!

Now time to gear up for Holiday Events, student recordings, a few weddings and whatever music comes my way until 2013 wedding season!

Click for previous wedding posts.

Met some great vendors as well:

Affairs by Amy

Ramon at Ranch Events

Reverend Ron

MLB 2012 Postseason, Metal Edition

Alright we are one round into the MLB Postseason schedule. I guess two rounds if you consider the new Wild Card game a round. Thought I would weigh in with another music/sports blog. Those who read my blog regularly know two of my favorite things are music and sports and I enjoy wedding the two together when I can.

Here are some thoughts and predictions on the playoff teams.

Starting with the NL & AL Division Series

Giants v Reds

San Francisco GiantsSkin O’ My Teeth, Megadeth

The Giants did get past the Reds but had to do it in dramatic fashion. Losing the first two games at home and then sweeping the Reds in Cincinnati was no small feat, but, they barely hit and need to be careful or they will be home sitting on the skin of their behinds!

Cincinnati RedsRed Road, Slavior

Unfortunately for the Reds the road they hit was a dead end. Ouch, tough way to end a season losing three straight playoff games at home. Latos proved why San Diego Padre fans are glad he was traded, losing his cool and the game in the series finale. I thought pitchers stopped crying after the age of 12.

Cardinals v Nationals

St. Louis Cardinals- Another Hit and Run, Def Leppard

Yes, Def Leppard was a Heavy Metal band at one time. The never say die Cardinals did it again. This time totally deflating the Nationals and their fans in the 9th inning of game five of the NLDS.

Washington NationalsBang Your Head(Metal Health), Quiet Riot

If you are a Nats fan you have to be hitting your head against the wall wondering what happened. And how in the world could they shut down their best pitcher makes no sense! Kind of like dating a supermodel but you can’t touch her…what’s the point?

A’s v Tigers

Oakland A’sGreen Manalishi, Judas Priest

The A’s were a beast this year catching and overtaking the mighty Texas Rangers. Too bad such a great season came to a screeching halt.

Detroit TigersHell Cat(s), Scorpions

Triple crown threat, these Tigers are looking good… now to slay the dreaded Yankees.

Orioles v Yankees

Baltimore OriolesSeduction of a Birds Folly, Against the Natural

Even the Yankee fans are sick of the Yankees and wanted to see the Orioles win. New blood needed. Orioles players, much like the band Against the Natural are not well known but both kick butt!

New York YankeesOn and On, Michael Schenker Group

It just goes on and on for the Yankees. Baseball is not better with them in the playoffs every year. I am suddenly a huge Tigers fan.

NLCS & ALCS Predictions

Giants v Cardinals

San Fransisco GiantsHome Sweet Home, Motley Crue

The Giants have to play better at home than they have of late or they are going home early. Giants are  kind of the Padres north so I have to root for them. Here is a trivia questions for you sports fans. Who is the only person to be on the field in uniform for ALL five of the Padres playoff seasons? See answer below.

St. Louis CardinalsFlying High Again-Ozzy Osbourne

They won it all last year and are poised to do it again even without Albert Pujols.

Prediction-Giants Win

Tigers v Yankees

Detroit TigersDie With Your Boots On, Iron Maiden

The country depends on you to knock out the Yankees. It will be tough though and if they’re gonna die, die with your boots on!

New York YankeesSad But True, Metallica

Yes the Yankees are deep into the postseason again. Anyone else sick of them yet? Sad but true they will most likely beat the Tigers and head to their 5,000th World Series, bla, bla, bla!

Prediction-Yankees Win

World Series 2012

The Fall Classic comes down to Giants v Yankees in my opinion.

Musical selection for this match up…. Into the Void, Black Sabbath. Who ever wins, baseball fans will be thrown into the void for the winter. At least we have the NFL!

Prediction-Giants Win

Trivia answer Bruce Bochy was a player in 1984 and Manger in 96, 98, 2005 & 2006. Tony Gwynn was a player in 1984, 96 and 98 but not around for the last two playoff teams.

The Elusive Daring, Crazy, Adventurous Wedding Ceremony- A San Diego Wedding Guiarist Blog

I have been playing guitar for weddings for a long time. I have played a lot of traditional weddings and quite a few unique ones. I’ve played everything from Here Comes the Bride to Metallica. However, I am a little shocked that I haven’t had the opportunity to play a down right crazy wedding yet.

You always hear about couples getting married in ‘odd’ places; football games, NASCAR events, scuba diving, hot air balloons, etc., you get the idea. There are lots of people who just like to be different…really different. 20 plus years of playing guitar for weddings I am yet to play one of these unique ceremonies.

I’ve always pictured an adventurous couple where the bride and groom enter on zip lines or repel down the side of a building and I get to play something like the theme from Mission Impossible. Maybe even on electric guitar with effects.

I did play “Wipeout,” for one of my good friend’s wedding, an avid surfer, as he and the guys walked up to the altar. It was a quick and fitting entrance but just a quick playful joke. Kind of like when the groomsman all pretend they’ve lost the wedding rings.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I enjoy playing all types of weddings. I really do! Each one is different, challenging and fun to play.

That said…This is an open invitation for any of you daring, crazy, adventurous couples to hire a guitarist who is on board with you! I would love to have just one wedding where all bets are off. Scuba dive(I am certified), a flash mob, a “Punked” moment for your guests, your call! The crazier the better(although legal is a good idea)! We can collaborate and choreograph the music to fit your idea!

I am Not a Wedding Singer!- A San Diego Wedding Guitarist Blog

Adam Sandler’s movie, “The Wedding Singer,” was hilarious. It followed Robbie Hart a disgruntled musician whose dream of becoming a rock star falls through and he ends up singing at weddings. He became a burned out, bitter, resentful musician, who had to play weddings. He had to play the part of the ‘Wedding Singer’ to entertain the crowds, young and old and all in between.

Thankfully, my career is much different!! Everyday I wake up and have a chance to share music with others it’s a great day, whether it’s a wedding, a corporate event, a concert, a class, a rehearsal, etc. I am truly fortunate to be a working musician. Honestly, I don’t even do the same ‘job’ as Sandler’s character. I usually play the ceremony, cocktail hour and receptions when folks don’t want the over the top wedding band or DJ. The Wedding Singer was definitely over the top!

There is one similarity between me and the character, however, I thought I was going to be a rock star too. Once I heard Eddie Van Halen when I was a kid that was it, I knew what I wanted to do. My musical path since has followed the saying, “Life is what happens while you are making other plans.”

Somewhere down the line I realized that I REALLY wanted to be a musician first and rock star second. Then I realized I wanted to be a musician first, make a living in my field and be a rock star 3rd. Not til I got older I realized, I just always wanted to be a musician. Rock music will always be a part of who I am but not what I am. Having studied classical, jazz and world music among other disciplines in college I get to work in any style I want and get the same energy I did as a kid trying to be the next guitar hero.

There are some of my old friends who are still living the rock star dream. They tour the world, hang out with famous musicians we grew up idolizing and have tons of  fans following them on Facebook and MySpace. More power to them! I love to hear their stories when we get together. Funny thing is they love to hear about what I am doing too!

Everyday, I get to do some combination of play, perform, teach, compose, listen to, write about, record, study, absorb, eat, drink and sleep music! I get to make a living in a tough field in my native San Diego. Life is good!

Click here for more info on planning your wedding music. Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Ten Tips for Planning Wedding Music

Mike Slayen ~ Guitarist

Having played weddings in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, Palm Springs area and throughout Southern California for 20 years I’ve learned so much. This post is a chance to share some of this info with you!

Here are ten tips to help you plan your wedding music to the fullest. Feel free to share this page with your wedding planners, friends and family.

-These tips are not in any particular order except #10 may be the most important!

-Not all these tips may apply to your specific plans but some of them definitely will.

If you have any questions I would be glad to help!

1) Ceremony Events.

Although all weddings are different most have some semblance of the following events requiring music; pre-music as guests are being seated, seating of parents, bridal party and couples recession. Often music is needed for an interlude; a prayer or sand/candle ceremony, etc.

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Here Comes the Bride, A San Diego Wedding Guitarist Blog-Bride’s Procession

One of the first things people ask me when they find out I play guitar for weddings is, “Do you get tired of playing, ‘Here Comes the Bride’?”

My answer is NO! I enjoy playing for all of my clients big day. Each wedding is different and has it’s own energy. It is important to make the atmosphere of the event special for each couple and their guests. Second, I really don’t play it as often as one might think.

To some the “Bridal Chorus,” Here Comes the Bride’s, real title, has become cliché or cartoon-ish due to having been placed  in so much media over the years; movies, commercials, cartoons, etc. It also has the feel of ‘My parents wedding march’ to many of my clients.

The irony is that I have handfuls of clients who say NO WAY to the traditional marches and a handful of those who wouldn’t have it any other way. There is no right or wrong, it is each couples decision.

That said there are a few popular alternatives that have trended over the years. Some are short lived trendy and some have become the new traditional, like Pachelbel’s, “Canon in D.” Without doubt the Canon is the most popular piece I play for the Bridal procession. It is classy and timeless but has a more modern feel than the “Bridal Chorus.” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” by J.S. Bach and Handel’s, “Harmonious Blacksmith,” are two other in demand classical pieces that I am often asked to play.

Then there are the non-traditional options, for those who want their wedding to display something uniquely them. I have played Metallica, Journey, Gypsy Kings, Enya, George Harrison, The Beatles to name a few. There are also trends that are born from mass media, like when the big wedding episode of “Friends,” the 90’s sitcom, used Eric Clapton’s, “Wonderful Tonight.” I played that one quite a bit back then, although I think that song always makes a great procession.

The idea of a piece becoming trendy is not really a new idea to these times. ‘Here Comes the Bride,’ as I mentioned, is really entitled, “Bridal Chorus,” and was adapted from Wagner’s opera, “Lohengrin.” It only became traditional due to its extended trendiness.

So there it is a post about Bridal March music. Hope this helps you pick your music whether you like traditional, semi-traditional or something unique. I am always glad to go over options and ideas with my clients to help them if they don’t already have a clear idea of the music they want.

To see other wedding music posts.

If you need a guitarist or info for your wedding music please check out my Wedding Center.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Tonight’s Practice Session

 

Tonight’s practice session… I am re-working a couple old pieces “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” by Francisco Tarrega and “Scherzino Mexicano” by Manuel Ponce.
Two great pieces in the classical guitar repertoire.

Then, yes, I plan to mash the high strings and work on some scales and improvising!

This is great cause I dont often enough get a night to practice what I want. I’m usually working on music for a specific wedding or event.

 

Crystal Pier, A San Diego Guitarist Wedding Blog

This was my first wedding on the pier and it was a really cool venue! Took place between some of the cottages…which BTW I think I will put on my ‘Things in San Diego’ to do list, stay overnight on the pier. So relaxing to hear the waves crashing underneath.

I do have to say after growing up in San Diego and hanging at Pacific Beach so many times it was definitely odd to be wearing a suit and tie and not a bathing suit and flip flops!!

Congrats and best to the happy couple, thanks for having me play for you!

Here are a few pictures from my vantage point during the wedding(taken after the wedding of course) and a couple sunset shots as I was leaving.

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Ten Tips ~ Planning Wedding Music

Having played weddings in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, Palm Springs area and throughout Southern California for 20 years I’ve learned so much. This post is a chance to share some of this info with you!

Here are ten tips to help you plan your wedding music to the fullest. Feel free to share this page with your wedding planners, friends and family.

-These tips are not in any particular order except #10 may be the most important!

-Not all these tips may apply to your specific plans but some of them definitely will.

If you have any questions I would be glad to help!

1) Ceremony Events.

Although all weddings are different most have some semblance of the following events requiring music; pre-music as guests are being seated, seating of parents, bridal party and couples recession. Often music is needed for an interlude; a prayer or sand/candle ceremony, etc.

2) Have a trusted friend or relative be your musical liaison.

This person can keep the musicians informed on a variety of items including time line issues/changes that arise and cue them as ceremony events unfold. Sometimes wedding coordinators will take charge but discuss with them first they are often multi-multi tasking to make your event perfect.

3) Protect your musicians from harsh elements.

Direct sunlight, rain, standing water (wet grass), etc., can effect the sound adversely, be uncomfortable and even dangerous. If you don’t pick your musicians location carefully they might have to move to a less desirable location to avoid problems.

4) Availability of electricity.

Guitarists need amplification. Make sure there is a power source near the location you place the musicians, if there is no power other arrangements can be made. I have battery powered equipment that works great for outdoor events like La Jolla or Del Mar bluff side weddings overlooking the Pacific.

5) Placement

Ideally you want your musicians in an area where they can see the ceremony participants when they are ready to walk or have a person (your music liaison) to cue them who can see. It’s also nice to see the front so they know when you are done walking and end the music accordingly (remember your guest will most likely be standing up at this time.) Place musicians far enough out so they are not in the way of your wedding party. See #3 & #4, as well.

6) Provide ceremony details.

Let your musicians know how many parents are being seated, bridesmaids are walking, who is the last person of each group (i.e., the flower girls will be the last to walk down before the bride.) These are things your music liaison can pass along before the ceremony.

7) Do you have a favorite part of the piece you plan to walk down the aisle?

If you love the fast part of the Pachelbel Canon make sure your musician knows to play that part. The average bridal walk time is less than one minute and it may take the music a few minutes to get to your favorite part. Unless your musician knows to arrange the piece accordingly you may not get your desired musical phrase included.

8) How/where people congregate.

I’ve played so many outdoor weddings. There is a phenomenon I’ve noticed regarding guests taking their seats…’They will wait until the absolute last minute to take their seat!’ Can’t really blame them. It is often sunny and hot so they are going to line up in the shade usually away from the ceremony site. If you have cocktails or refreshments before they will tend to hang out there.

Why is this important regarding the music? Oftentimes I am playing to empty seats and guests can’t hear the music.

Two suggestions; set up any type of ‘hangouts’ near enough to the ceremony site so guests can hear the music and have someone make an announcement for guests to be seated when YOU want so you don’t have to wait for them when you are ready to go!

9) Know what is going on at your location on your big day!

I was to play elegant classical music for a particular outdoor reception. Unfortunately, the venue had a restaurant right next door and had hired a full band to play. There was no way to compete with the volume. I had to move indoors and the guests stayed outside near the bar. So make sure you know what other events might also be held at the same location and that the venue knows your intention. They would not have hired a band if they knew that the wedding had already planned something outside.

9) Communication!!

Ask questions! Talk to your musicians, coordinator and venue staff to make sure everything flows smooth as possible. The more everyone is on the same page the better. I always try to talk with them, as well, to gain insights into the plans.

10) Enjoy!

Take a deep breath and soak everything in for memories that will last forever. I can’t tell you how many times the bride has told me, “Everyone said the music was beautiful, but I didn’t really even hear it!”

Remember you can’t micro manage everything! But knowledge is power and if any of these items personally strike you hopefully this post empowers you to make the best choices for YOUR music.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

To submit an inquiry form click here

Hope these tips are helpful and I hope to play for you soon!

Mike