We're excited to introduce to you another member of our gang on our blog, wedding and events pianist, Nigel Hammond Music.
You can read more about Nigel below, and why we love having him and his piano here to play music with us on wedding days.
Tell us about yourself
I am Nigel from Nigel Hammond Music and I play the piano for a living, mainly at weddings!
I am a quietly spoken, smartly dressed bloke with a friendly smile but don’t be fooled by my gentlemanly persona. I am actually a mad musician and cheeky chappy on the inside!
Why did you want to become a weddings and events pianist?
I have always had an addiction. Not drugs or anything like that, my addiction is the piano. I love it! It’s all about joy and expression that lifts my spirits and the spirits of people listening to me play. I was classically trained through all the grades but love playing all sorts of music and tend to play from ear most of the time.
I have been described as a human jukebox! I have performed music on the piano at weddings every so often for most of my adult life while maintaining a professional day job. In 2017, I branded myself properly as a business, and took the scary step of leaving my day job. I’ve had no regrets about my decision, and have been so busy with weddings since, plus I am so much happier!
Being a wedding pianist is the ultimate dream job. I get to turn up to work where everyone is happy! I get to work with lovely couples and find out about their dreams and their vision for what may so far be the most amazing and important day of their life. Also, I get to provide the music to enhance their special day and offer soothing and fun entertainment for their lovely guests.
What is your style?
My look; I always wear a smart suit for weddings. If you happen to look closely though you may notice my subtle music-themed waistcoat, piano cuff links and socks with music notes on them!
My pianos, they are very pretty! When I started out, my wife had one particular recommendation, that my pianos need to be prettier and more feminine for weddings. Taking this on board I made sure that my upright mobile pianos are a white, shabby chic style with fairy lights. I can also put pretty coloured sashes and flowers on the top of my piano to match the wedding décor to suit my couples. All this makes my pianos look particularly at home at the magical Huntsmill Farm.
My playing; I have so many wonderful reviews from lovely couples who often comment on how diverse my playing is. I have a repertoire of over 530 piano versions of well-known songs; mostly my own arrangements which I have committed to memory. I am able to go from soothing, tranquil calm and tender music such as ‘Clair De Lune’ and ‘I Giorni’ to help guests settle and relax was they take their seats and later I can switch to lively music; happy songs such as jazzy numbers like ‘Bring me Sunshine’ and ‘When You’re Smiling’, to Classic Rock by artists such as Queen and Elton John, to heavier music such as the Foo Fighters and Blink 182 to magical Disney tunes like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, to Hans Zimmer and John Williams film soundtracks, to classic games themes such as Zelda and Pokemon, to Motown favourites such as ‘Sweetest Feeling’ and ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’ to recent songs such as Golden Hour and Blank Space, to world music such as Bollywood songs and Persian music!! I could go on!
All this means that I can come up with a bespoke set list tailored to the wedding couple and their guests’ musical tastes.
What advice would you give couples when choosing their music during the ceremony, drinks reception and wedding breakfast?
Make it live music! Recordings can’t react to people and they can’t rearrange themselves when the timing of bridal procession is impossible to predict, but live music can. If a flower girl gets a bit of stage fright, or the bride has a momentary adjustment to her dress, I am able to add or remove verses or improvise to make the music match the build up of the bridal procession.
Request music that is specific to your tastes for the key stages of the wedding such as the bridal procession, signing and wedding exit, confetti shoot, and walk in for the wedding breakfast and first dance. When it comes to the rest of the time, don’t forget your guests! They may be of many ages and backgrounds so it’s good for them to hear a variety of different styles. The beauty of piano is that it enhances their socialising and feelings of wellbeing without getting in the way of their conversations.
What makes you happy?
The happy faces of the bride and groom as I play my music and the smiles on guests of all ages in response to hearing tunes they recognise and love.
I have some other favourite parts of the job too! I love helping through my music to enable the bridal procession to go smoothly and magically as I play a bespoke arrangement of the couple’s chosen song and adapt it on the fly to fit beautifully with the movements of the bridesmaids, flower girls, page boys and the bride herself! I also love seeing the happy couple march out or sometimes dance out of the ceremony with everyone clapping and cheering while I add energy to that magical moment with their chosen lively song. I also find it wonderful when people dance and sing along to my playing – especially when I play the Jungle Book songs! Sometimes I even get asked to perform for the first dance which is a wonderful privilege.
If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be and why?
I’d quite to like be Tom Cruise, doing all those incredible stunts in Mission Impossible but I don’t want to risk injuring my hands so I better stick to playing the piano!
What do you love most about your job?
Getting caught up in the emotion and joy of wedding couples as they share their special day with all their family and friends.
What wedding trends are you loving at the moment?
I love outdoor ceremonies and drinks receptions, and I am pleased to say that they seem to have become more popular. This is great in terms of my mobile pianos as I can set them up anywhere as all my equipment is battery-powered and wireless. Huntsmill Farm is a perfect venue for having that choice of beautiful indoor and outdoor weddings.
In terms of requests, I find that some songs seem to go through phases of being more popular. For the last few years many walk down the aisle requests have been ‘A Thousand Years’ or ‘Canon in D’ but lately I have been receiving more unusual requests often segwayed to Canon in D. ‘This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)’ has been a very popular request for wedding exits this year.
Another trend I have noticed is Lego! I have been to several weddings this year where there are Lego characters on cakes and table decorations and Lego gifts to the ushers to build during the wedding breakfast. I really hope this trend lasts!
Why should our couples choose you?
Couples should choose me because of my piano talents and my beautiful unique fully-mobile pianos. I am very efficient and helpful throughout the booking process and this is often commented on in my 140 five star reviews.
What’s your drink of choice?
Kraken black spiced rum – I love the taste and it makes me feel like a pirate when I drink it! However, I wouldn’t want to be caught drunk in charge of a piano, so I don’t drink when playing at the same time. It is however thirsty work, so I am always appreciative of a diet coke with ice and lemon (hint hint!).
Who is your dream celebrity wedding couple?
All of my wedding couple clients are dream celebrity couples to me. There is such a build up to their weddings, and I practice their chosen music for weeks to ensure everything goes beautifully on the day. So by the time the wedding arrives, I feel very star struck to see them beautifully dressed and smart on their wedding day.
You can find out more about Nigel Hammond using the links below:
We love welcoming Nigel to our wedding venue as one of our recommended wedding suppliers here at Huntsmill Farm. If you haven’t checked our suppliers out yet, we highly recommend that you do so, they are a fantastic bunch!