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Hello all,

Not sure how to address this because I'm new to getting my work out there and not sure of how it all works. I really want to get others experiences and opinions on this.

I emailed a pianist recently and told her I enjoyed her music and was interested in working with her. I like her style, think it would be a great addition to my piece, and I would love for her to learn it and record it. 

I received a response from her today and it basically read "I'm busy right now with many other projects to take on another for fun, but I am available at another date down the road for a fee of $XXX. Please let me know if you are still interested."

So, nothing weird there, but is this a standard response? I mean she didn't even say if she enjoyed my piece or if she hated it or anything. I don't want any old player to record my music. I am trying to find a player that likes my style and could add their own flair via recording/performance. 

Is it bad etiquette to email back and ask if she enjoyed the piece? What should I do here? I don't mind paying someone to play my music (not sure why she got that impression), but I was hoping for more of a response just to see if we clicked musically. 

Any thoughts?

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Thanks for the response. What you say makes a lot of sense. I was going to email her with something like:

"Thank you very much for responding to my request. I would love to work with you, but I do have some concern about how well we would work together. You see, I'm looking for someone who *likes* my music, not just do it as a job."

What do you think?

Bob's post is right on target. I bet she hasn't even looked at your work closely enough to know whether she likes it or not. Why would she?

She has let you know by her response she would be interested in a professional relationship, and would play it for a fee "as a job". She has already given you her answer. Writing her again, unless you're willing to pay her, would be disrespectful.

Why is it important that she like your work? If you were hiring a painter for your home, would it matter if s/he likes the your color choice?


You say that she probably hasn't even looked at my work closely enough to know whether she likes it or not. True, but I sent her an mp3 so she can listen to it. This is music after all. If you play me a country song, jazz, song, classical song, etc..I am either going to like the way it sounds or I'm not. Most pieces of music, I could tell you right away if I am interested in them or not. I can tell you if I enjoy them or not - If they resonate with me or not. 

I don't want to disrespect her. I do enjoy her work (Because I've listened to it!) and I'd like to work with her. 

So you are right about that - I'll pay her to have my piece recorded. 

Also, what do you mean "why is it important that she like my work?" It's important to me in the same way it's important to a famous composer when he or she writes a piece. That's why a composer may write a piece and caption it "Written for Jane doe"

It's because he respects her work. He likes her work and in turn the musician likes and respects the composers work. 

You are a total stranger to this pianist, correct? She is a professional pianist, whom you admire, correct? She probably hasn't listened to your MP3, either. Why would she spend time listening or reviewing work from a stranger without promise of payment first, or having been paid to critique the work?

It's really only important for the one making payment to like the work of the person they're paying (in a professional relationship).

If a composer writes a piece for someone else, that is a gift, and most people are grateful when given a gift, even if they don't like it.


What you are saying makes sense. I was not angry or feeling entitled. She doesn't have to listen to my music. I was more curious than anything. I assumed that if she was going to play my music and spend energy learning the piece and recording it, she would at least enjoy it. I wasn't sure if this was standard practice so I asked. Thanks again for your responses.

Rest assured, she probably will enjoy it to some extent, or she wouldn't have put in the effort to be a pro! :o)

Hi Bobby,

When I send a message to someone about working together or hiring them, I never send an attachment with the first message. I introduce myself and express interest and then wait to see what they might reply with. Sending an attachment is sending on obligation (that you expect them to listen to the attachment). Especially to someone you don't know, I would consider that to be unprofessional.

Best -



I didn't mean to be unprofessional. If somebody wrote to me asking to play their music with no music attached I would tell them to send me music to HEAR!

I never expected her to listen or wanted her to feel obligated. As an artist, I was sharing my work with her. I was asking her to play one of my pieces and clearly showing her my piece so she could listen, analyze, and make a decision. 

I didn't realize that sending music was an obligation. She's a grown, professional adult. I assumed that if she wanted to press the play button she would. If she didn't, then she would not. 

I never meant anything bad. I guess, now I know. 

Thank you for sharing! I am learning more about this business each and everyday! 

There are some brilliant pianists who are members of this forum and who would, I'm fairly certain, be willing to work with you on this initial piece to see how you and they get along. I'm equally sure they wouldn't be shy about stating a reasonable fee for doing so.

I suggest you 'fly a kite' on the forum and see what comes up.

Hi Bobby, once the person replies that they do want to hear something, it's ok to send it - although I would try to send a link rather than an attachment if possible so that the person is not obligated to download something and because some mail systems have limits on attachment sizes - in some cases sending a file is fine, depends on the context of the conversation and is a judgment call every time

Best -


Bobby Popolla said:


I didn't mean to be unprofessional. If somebody wrote to me asking to play their music with no music attached I would tell them to send me music to HEAR!


I was hesitant about sending an mp3 so I sent her a link to my piece. The only thing I attached was the sheet music since I figured she would want to see that. 

Once again, I didn't mean to be disrespectful towards her or be unprofessional. I'm new to this so I just went for it. Perhaps it would have been better if I consulted with the forum before sending out an email.  Live and learn.  Thanks again Gav. I really appreciate you taking the time out to respond with your advice. 


Stephen, that's an excellent idea. We have many accomplished pianists on this forum, and here we already know who Bobby is, so he won't appear to be some unknown stranger of unknown motives.

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