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Student Musicians for Hire

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January 5, 2005
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Whether the event is a corporate black-tie gala or a child’s birthday bash, Northwestern’s Musician Referral Service can provide the perfect accompaniment. 

The School of Music service can refer some of the Chicago’s finest young musicians for individual or group performances in a variety of styles — from classical and standards to jazz and contemporary. The faculty-endorsed students and young alumni perform at weddings, funerals, church services, private parties and corporate functions.

The service also refers students to teach piano and other instruments. “It’s hard to go out and market yourself as having a piano studio if you’ve never done any teaching outside of the University,” said Dorothy Wyandt, the director of career services for the School of Music who oversees the referral service.

“It can be very important for students. They get the experience of running a small, independent business — negotiating rates, writing their own contracts, setting money aside for taxes, marketing themselves. And they can build a network base in the Chicago area while they are auditioning for orchestras and building their musical careers.”

Wyandt receives 1,000–1,500 requests for referrals each year. More than 275 School of Music students and young alumni are registered to perform or teach. In more than 25 years of referring musicians, she’s only had a complaint or two, but more often she gets repeat requests — like the call for a trumpeter to play at the start of the annual Evanston Ecology Center duck race. “They think that’s a hoot,” she said.

For more information, call 847-491-7485 or e-mail d-wyandt@northwestern.edu.