Frequently Asked Questions ~ All the information you will need when considering booking the Highly Strung String Quartet

What does a string quartet consist of?

A string quartet consists of two violins, a viola and a cello. Highly Strung also offer a string trio consisting of 2 violins and a cello. We can also offer a string duo (violin and cello) for wedding ceremonies if the room is too small for all four players.

What is the difference between the quartet and trio?

Highly Strung offers both a quartet and a trio. The quartet was established 20 years ago and we have built up a huge amount of repertoire over this time. The trio was formed in 2010 and is perfect for smaller functions or smaller budgets. The main difference is in the volume and density of sound – the more players there are the louder, thicker and richer the sound. As a client, you would only hear the difference if the two groups were side by side. Please be aware that there is more limited repertoire for the trio so please visit out Trio page to see our current list and contact Sarah if there are any specific pieces that you would want that are not there.

Are Highly Strung able to play outdoors?

Highly Strung are more than happy to play outdoors on fine days during the summer months. We ask that there is some shade for us to play under to protect our instruments from direct sunlight on very sunny days. For outdoor ceremonies we must have adequate cover to protect our instruments from any inclement weather.

Mother nature does not always conform to wedding and event planning therefore should the weather be too cold, too windy or wet, we would have to move inside. Occasionally the weather may be fine enough for guests to be outside, but may not be warm/dry/settled enough for the musicians and indeed their instruments. There may be a risk of stands blowing over and hot/cold conditions can lead to our instruments becoming damp, instrument glue melting, varnish being bleached, pegs / strings/ bow-hair becoming loose.

In cold conditions our fingers find it increasingly hard to function and we want our live performance to be of good quality! Many famous artists have mimed / played alongside tracks at outdoor events for this very reason. Please be assured we do our very best to ensure our contribution to your day is exactly how you want it, but the elements are sometimes against us and we have to make decisions based on what is best for us and our instruments. For evening events when the temperature has dropped it may not be possible for us to play outdoors.

What area does Highly Strung cover?

Highly Strung is based in the Midlands (Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, South Yorkshire etc). We also perform in London regularly and the counties in between (Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire). In the past we have played for engagements as far away as France, Brussels, Guernsey and the Caribbean so we consider all enquiries further afield.

Does a string quartet need a PA system?

We generally find we don’t need to use a PA system. For larger corporate events we can liaise with your light and sound team so that we are ‘miked up’. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic please contact Sarah.

What requirements do you have regarding refreshment?

We ask that soft drinks are provided throughout the engagement excluding during wedding services and ceremonies. For bookings of 3 hours or more we ask for a small bite to eat (a sandwich / some soup or salad would be perfect!)

What requirements do you have regarding space and equipment?

Ideally we need an area covering about 2.5 x 2 metres. It is preferable that we are on a flat surface with adequate light. We need 4 armless chairs in a semicircle. It is also helpful if there is a place where we are able to leave our cases during our performance.

What would happen if on the day one of the quartet members was ill?

If a member of the quartet were ill, we would make sure that we found a suitable replacement. Highly Strung have a circle of professional deputies that play with us regularly. These proficient players stand in when one of us is on holiday or otherwise engaged so they are well rehearsed with the music and acquainted with our high standards.

How do we go about getting a quote?

To find out how much it would cost to book the quartet for your engagement please call or click here to email Sarah…. Each engagement is given an individual quotation which takes into consideration the length of times we are booked, the travelling time and our expenses if applicable. We always build all these factors into the cost and we do not charge VAT. For the most accurate quote please give as much information as possible, ie venue, timings and date. We offer discounts for midweek  bookings and for off peak weddings.

How much do you charge?

Our fees start at around £450 for a string quartet and £365 for a string trio and prices vary depending on the time of year and the day of the week. Our average booking is 2.5-3 hours and the average cost for this would be in the region of £570-£670. We can sometimes give significant discounts if your engagement falls on a day when we have an existing engagement earlier or later in the day or for a last minute booking / multiple bookings. Please get in touch to get our best price. Prices quoted are from the time we start to the end of the booking and would therefore include one or two breaks. Please enquire for our best prices. If your booking requires us not to play for a significant amount of time (ie longer than 1 hour) we can sometimes offer a discount.

To get a quote from Sarah, please click here…

Will you need to take breaks?

We will need to take some breaks during the booking time. We try to time these breaks to coincide with your plans. Sarah can let you know how many/how long the breaks would be depending on your booking time (we usually allow about 10mins per hour).

How do we go about booking?

Once you have decided you would like to book please get in touch with Sarah with all the details (date, venue, timings etc) and your contact details. You will be sent a booking form and we ask for a deposit to secure your date. On receipt of the signed contract and deposit your booking will be confirmed

What would happen if I cancelled the booking?

On the very rare occasion that a client cancels the booking, we would retain all monies paid.

How do we choose the music we would like?

About 6 weeks before the engagement you will receive a checklist confirming all the details of your booking. On this form you can select the styles of music you would like to hear. If you are having a wedding ceremony /service you can let me know what you would like for the key parts of the ceremony (processional, signing of the registers, hymns and recessional). If you need help choosing the music please do not hesitate to contact Sarah.

What if we would like a piece of music that you don’t have?

In most cases we can either get hold of it or have it arranged for a small fee. Please give us as much notice as possible about this.

What do the string quartet wear?

Highly Strung always dress smartly and usually wear all black outfits. If you would rather we wear something different please let us know at the time of booking.

Is the String Quartet insured?

Highly Strung players are all members of the MU and we all have public liability insurance to £10,000,000.