And the nightmare of life without it.
I spoke with Jackie Oakes, a BookLive Pro from Waukesha, WI, about her experience using BookLive Pro with the group Dream City Music. Here’s what she had to say:
Jared: What’s your background as a musician and as a group leader?
Jackie: I’ve been playing cello and piano my entire life, and currently am the principal cellist of Menomonee Falls Symphony for 25 seasons. I’ve been with Dream City for three years, I’m Choir Director at my church, I teach private music, and I freelance in musicals and other things.
Jared: You do a lot of freelancing and teaching?
Jackie: I teach piano, cello and vocal. I’ve got about 20 students right now of all different ages, and I’ve been doing that my entire adult life, so about 30-some years that I’ve been teaching. Freelancing I do corporate gigs, weddings, and funerals, and baptisms, you name it. Dream City has allowed me to do a lot of that.
Jared: What is Dream City Strings?
Jackie: We’re a collective of musicians of all different instruments: violin, cello, I’m a pianist and vocalist. We’ve got all different groupings of gigging groups: trios, quartets, all of that, that we send out all over the place.
We do all types of gigs — I’ve done gigs at Milwaukee Art Museum, Villa Terrace (quite a few weddings there), we get to play at so many different venues indoor and out, it’s been a lot fun playing with a lot of different musicians.
Jared: How would you describe your role with Dream City?
Jackie: I’m one of the Staff Cellists, and also the Music Coordinator, so when brides or whoever the person that’s booking the gig sends the inquiry I respond and walk them through the whole process planning their performance. Really listening to them is the most important thing, because you have to determine what works best for what their event is. We tailor everything that we do to what they want, and then we’ve got a lot of happy brides.
Jared: You sell gigs to brides, do you also coordinate the musicians and the sheet music that they play?
Jackie: We have a huge library of music that we tap into, so whenever somebody books a gig, regardless of what kind, they can go online on the library and pick from a huge variety of genres and styles. Then if we get a custom request from a bride, we can add that into our library too.
I walk them through the whole process, from the inquiry to the wedding day. When we determine what’s best for the event, I send out the gig request using BookLive Pro, and it spits everything right back to me and I get everything set up using the software. It’s all done right online in easy steps. Musicians find it easy for me to communicate with them, and the customer also finds that it’s really easy to communicate with me and set everything up the way they want with BookLive Pro.
Jared: So the main things you do with musicians are you coordinate what they play at the gig, and then you also pay them after the gig too?
Jackie: Yea, I try to pay them within 24 hours. All the musicians are signed up for BookLive Pay and it just takes one click to pay them. All the musicians are happy because it’s streamlined, and they can show up, have fun, see their friends, play cool music and get paid right away.
“All the musicians are happy because it’s streamlined, and they can show up, have fun, see their friends, play cool music and get paid right away.”
Jared: You mentioned BookLive Pro quite a bit, and typically a software solves one problem. What would you say is the problem that you are trying to solve with BookLive?
Jackie: The big thing BookLive Pro combats is disorganization. It really helps to keep the gig organized. Everybody can just tap into and say, “look it’s right there.” Everything is laid out in pieces, it’s all in order.
Jared: You’ve organized gigs without BookLive Pro, how has disorganization affected you?
Jackie: It stresses me out. You feel like there’s something you might be missing, and you don’t like to have that uncertainty when you’re booking a gig, especially a wedding. It’s so intimate and personal and there’s a lot of different moving parts in a wedding. To have everything organized in the way it is with the software takes away a lot of stress. I can’t tell you how many brides have told me how thankful they are that this is one less thing for them to have to worry about.
“I can’t tell you how many brides have told me how thankful they are that this is one less thing for them to have to worry about.”
Jared: If you weren’t to use BookLive Pro, if you were just doing things without it, what other tools or solutions would you use?
Jackie: Before coming to BookLive I did everything manually. You type it into the body of an email. You’re on the phone talking through stuff. Prior to having BookLive Pro, you’re literally flipping pages in music. It takes a long time to get all of that done. BookLive is a time saver and an organizer all in one.
Jared: Why did you choose BookLive Pro? You’ve been with us since the beginning.
Jackie: It’s very user-friendly. For me to use the software, and to understand it, and to learn how to navigate through the whole system was actually pretty easy, and I’m admittedly not a real techy person. I would encourage musicians to try it and see how easy and user-friendly it really is. It’s like any other job — you have to evolve. BookLive Pro makes your life more streamlined.
Jared: Dream City does roughly 150 gigs a year. Imagine you still had those 150 gigs coming up and you had not used BookLive, what would’ve happened?
Jackie: [Sighs] I don’t wanna use the word panic, but to have that many gigs and not have the kind of organization BookLive provides now, that would be a lot of stress. A lot of stress. I don’t even wanna think about it. I don’t!
“To have that many gigs and not have the kind of organization BookLive Pro provides now… I don’t even wanna think about it. I don’t!”
Jared: Realistically would you have stopped taking gigs at a certain point, say 150 is too many?
Jackie: That’s a lot. With the number of weddings, the musicians required to do that many gigs… I would have to be really scrambling. BookLive definitely helps you organize, and allows you to take on more gigs because you’re better organized.
Jared: Now that you have been using BookLive Pro, what benefits have you seen? How is your life better now that you’ve used the software?
Jackie: It’s a relief. Knowing that finding out what I need to play, and what music I need for each gig and what I need to have is all at my fingertips… that sense of security in knowing that what I need is right there. Even if I’m not playing the gig, it’s a relief knowing that all the musicians need is right there in the BookLive software.
“It’s a relief knowing that all the musicians need is right there in the BookLive software.”
Jared: Thank you Jackie! Your answers were super helpful.
Jackie: They’re super true. I’m a pragmatic person, I like things to help make my life easier, and BookLive does that. If I can do it, other musicians can do it too.
Now that you’ve heard Jackie’s testimonial, we hope you’re ready to try out BookLive Pro, completely free of charge. We’re confident you’ll be as thrilled as she is, and that your career and peace of mind will benefit greatly.
May all your performances be spectacular.