Tips: Paying Gigs

Want to earn extra cash by playing at weddings and other paid gigs? Set yourself up professionally with these practical tips & tricks from Music Teacher, Freelancer and AYO Alumna Liz Cooney.



Apply for an ABN number as an individual/sole trader. It is free, easy and means that you will be recognised as a business and can invoice clients. 

Be organised

Have a template form that you can fill out for every gig enquiry that includes all the information you may need to know. This can then be emailed to the client to confirm your booking.

Always make sure you know who your contact will be on the day and have a contact number for them. 

Articulate your requirements

Be clear from the beginning any requirements you may have. For example:

  • Always request appropriate number of armless chairs and let clients know if you will need a power source.
  • If an event is scheduled to be outside make it clear that you will need shade of some description so that the instruments don’t bake in the sun. Also make sure that there is a wet weather venue and explain that under no circumstances will you be able to play outside it is raining.

Take a deposit

This is important as it secures your booking and means that even if the gig is cancelled at the last minute you will receive some payment for your time.


Have a wide repertoire so that you can cater for different events and individual taste. Rehearse any special requests beforehand.


Plan your travel ahead. Car-pooling is a great option as parking can often be difficult.  Check for track work if you are catching the train.

Gig etiquette

Always arrive early with plenty of time to park, meet your contact, set-up, unpack and tune. This can often take longer than you may anticipate especially in inclement weather and unfamiliar venues. Also:


  • Dress professionally, as you would for a concert performance.
  • Have all music requests ready.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol during a gig.
  • Always take a music stand.
  • Make sure cases and music bags are neatly stored out of the way, so as not to create an eye-sore in photos. 

Be flexible

Things don’t always go according to plan especially at weddings and outside events. Remember that, for weddings in particular, there are a lot of people wanting the day to be perfect so be as accommodating, calm and professional as possible in unforeseen circumstances.


Have a name for your ensemble and make yourselves a business card that you can give out upon request at gigs. Another great way to promote yourself is to give your business card to popular venues which they can pass onto clients.

Click here to find out more about AYO's Alumni Program including news, events and opportunities.