Frequently Asked Questions
A: I am based in Southampton, and my local area is New Forest, Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst, Southampton, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Highcliffe, Winchester, Portsmouth, but I play all over the country. See my Testimonials page. I have full AA membership with courtesy car etc, and always factor in an extra 2 hours for long journeys. I aim to arrive 2 hours before I am due to start playing. I will travel anywhere within a 200 mile radius of Southampton (sometimes more if it's an interesting job).
Q: There is a piece of music I want playing at my wedding, but I do not see it on your repertoire list.
A: This is no problem, I can learn absolutely any piece of music for no extra charge, provided I am given at least 6 weeks' notice. This can either be from sheet music or from a recording (mp3, cd, internet link)
Q:How do we make a booking?
A: To secure a booking, a deposit of between £100 and £150 (dependant on the amount of the total fee) and exchange of contracts is required. More details here.
Q:What time do you arrive at a venue?
A: I always aim to arrive 2 hours before an engagement commences in order to set up etc. I always set off in good time - adding extra "traffic jam" time if travelling via busy routes (e.g. M25). If it is a particularly early start and a long distance, (and if practical) I will travel up and stay in local accomodation the night before.
Q:Can you pencil us in for a date without a deposit?
A: No. All bookings must be made officially with an exchange of contracts and deposit payment to ensure the date is kept free for your wedding or event.
Q:Do we need meet up with you before the day?
A: By all means, however you would need to travel to me for this. It is not generally necessary to meet up, as I can discuss music, details etc. via email or over the phone. This is usually best, especially if you live some distance away.
Q: We need an organist for our wedding, can you play?
A:Yes, I have played pipe organ professionally since 1996, and can play any hymns or organ pieces you require. Please see my organist page.
Q: Do you play for Funerals, Cremations and Wakes?
A:Yes, see this page.
Q:Can you play outside?
A: Yes, although no electrical equipment will be set up in the open air. If you require an outside performance, you or the venue must provide a completely waterproof covering (e.g. marquee, gazebo) and a safe regulated power supply. Please note that the large umbrellas at hotels are usually not waterproof, and are not satisfactory shelter. If there is a building close by, it is usually best for me to set up just inside a doorway. My BOSE sound system is exceptionally good, and I have "satelite" speakers if required to boost sound towards a certain area. The piano shell can be used outside (under waterproof cover), however only in situations where I would not need to move part way through the day (e.g. from ceremony to drinks reception, or drinks reception to wedding breakfast etc)
Q:Are you able to accompany a singer, musician or choir?
A: Yes, I have years of experience as an accompanist. If a singer or musician wanted a rehearsal before an event, they would need to travel to me and pay for my rehearsal time. For more information, please contact me here
Q:What PA equipment do you use?
A: Unlike most pianists, I do not use large lumbering speakers on stands. I use a compact BOSE sound system which, in combination with my Yamaha electric piano keyboard, produces a sound almost identical to a real acoustic grand piano. The effect generally given by a large PA system is more like a massive "amplified keyboard" sound, whereas the system I use is much closer to the sound you would get from a real (almost) un-miked acoustic piano. This way, you can have a wonderful clear "room filling" sound without being deafened at certain points in the room as you could be with PA speakers. The largest (and longest) venue I have played in with this system is Woburn Abbey Sculpture Gallery, and the BOSE equipment filled the room with sound, with no need for any extra speakers.
Q:What if there is no power supply at my venue?
A: I can provide a small 200W power inverter which is just enough to drive a small (but powerful) amplifier and one of my Yamaha keyboards for up to 3 hours' playing time. The sound won't be as rich as a mains-driven amp, but will be perfect for a small gathering of people. If there is no power at the venue, you must inform me prior to the engagement in order for me to bring the appropriate equipment.
Q:How much space does the piano shell take up, and how easy is it to move?
A: The shell comes completely flat-packed, and can fit through the smallest of doorways (in pieces). Very easy to transport up stairs, in lifts etc. Once it is set up, it covers an area of approx 145cm x 120cm (so 120 cm would be required through double doorways if it needed to be moved part way through an event - e.g. from wedding ceremony to wedding breakfast). Including a pianist sat playing it, it takes up approx 2m x 2m floor space.
Q:Do you have public liability insurance and is your equipment PAT tested?
A: Yes, all equipment is electronically tested annually, and I am covered for £10 Million Public Liability insurance.
Q: I have had a cheaper quote elsewhere, why do you cost more?
A: Aside from the years of work and furious practising I have put into my piano playing, I am a self employed professional musician, with overheads like any small business. I have to make sure I have insurance and safety checked equipment, which a large majority of "weekend wedding players" don't have as they play for a paid hobby, and they have a regular day job. Some will invariably have slightly ropey equipment - tinny amplifiers that give you a headache after half an hour, untested electrical appliances etc. I believe my prices are very reasonable considering the service and attention to detail I provide. I have seen some pianists charging in excess of £50 to learn one song, or over £100 for the provision of a keyboard - I do not charge for either. I pride myself on being a quality supplier of entertainment, and providing a helpful service based on my years of experience in the music recording, entertainment and wedding industry.
Q: We are on a tight budget... Is that your best price? etc etc
A: YES! :) (*Barked loudly*) See above.
Q:Can I hire your piano shell separately?
A: No, at present you can only hire the piano shell as part of the overall package.
Q:Where did you get your piano shell?, I want one!
A: I made it myself and I am unfortunately not looking to make any others at present.
Q:What happens if we need to cancel a booking?
A: If this is over 3 months before the date of the event, I will keep the deposit. Within 3 months, you will be under a contractual obligation to pay some part, or the full balance payment (depending on how close to the date) All details are in the terms and conditions of the original booking contract.
Q:I have written a piece of music myself, are you able to learn it?
Q:Do you give lessons?
A: Not at this time (too busy these days!)
Give Steve a call on 07530 532767,
or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Website and Sound Recordings © 2006 - 2015 Steve Christie
Site photography ©2015 by Tony Christie, Steven Moulster, James Rouse, Arif Gardner, Tim Hensel, Kevin Drake, Annemarie Schellens and Natasha Searle.
Original straight-edged flat pack Grand Piano Shell designed and built by Matt Black ©2009.
Curved-edged Piano Shell design ©2010 by Steve Christie.