Live virtual performances

Tips for virtual concerts

Here’s a collation of the tips we’ve heard from you and audiences from the gigs so far. Please feel free to share any more so we can keep adding to the list!
Of course it's slightly different for each gig, and you get the context of the gig shared in each booking so please adapt to the context and your style :)


Often the audience member will give a very brief intro just saying something like "I booked [name] as a surprise!". We've had feedback that the audiences love hearing about you and getting a view of 'behind the scenes' as music is often quite a closed book. Some suggestions on what you can include:
    1. 1.
      I heard it was 'x' occasion
    2. 2.
      Your creds: I'm a professional ..., I would usually play with [xxx orchestra] / in [xxxx] venue for example/ I've been in (any shows they might know)
    3. 3.
      Today I've been booked as a private musician for your (birthday/anniversary/etc)....., I heard you like {style/music/etc) so have arranged ....
    4. 4.
      An example transcript from the lovely Abi in our first ever gig that worked really well and they said was very engaging and friendly (this was for the 83 year old's birthday, my grandma)
    • Happy Birthday!.... Are you having a nice day? Today you're family have arranged a surprise concert for you. I'm a professional cellist, my name's Abi .. and hello I'm Matt! I play the viola. We're both professional musicians we play usually in Symphony orchestras, in the west end, and on films and TV.... But today we're your private musicians, we're here to entertain you. We've heard that one of your favourite composers is Purcell, is that right? (... chat). So we're going to play some Purcell for you. We're going to play 3 movements .... (explained overview of the 3 pieces) They're all only about 2 minutes each. Can you hear us and see us ok before we start?

Before you start playing

  • Check they can see and hear you OK. Gives a chance to explain to some people how to pin the musician's image in Zoom (whilst still seeing bar of others at the top)
  • Ask them to mute while you are playing so it doesn't interfere with the sound (ideally they unmute after each piece to clap!)

Set choice

  • Depending on what they've asked for - a mix of styles of pieces seems to work well, e.g. some more lively, some more beautiful and calm
  • Intros to each piece - a short intro on where the piece is from / why you chose it e.g. 'this is quite famous from....' 'this is more lively, maybe some of you can dance if you like!'
  • Making it feel personal (e.g. saying 'we heard this is your favourite composer) - the booking form asks people to give some info on what the occasion is which will be shared with musicians, so anything that can make it seem personal
  • Duration - Whilst the standard bookings are 15, 30 and 45 minutes, the timing is not super strict and you can probably judge from the audience, sometimes people just want a short surprise and others will really appreciate a bit of time to chat if you have time. Generally having a few shorter pieces, with a bit of chatting in between works well. The chatting can be harder with large group calls!


  • No need for black tie, but if possible with your setting - make it feel like a ‘show’. Simple things like a clean set up (or only showing waist height up so there’s not a mass of wires, or bare carpet) with some plants or bookshelves make a difference. even better, set up a corner of your room with fairy lights and some colourful cloth on the wall to create a 'stage'
  • Camera advice - Aim to film from head height or angled down for a more flattering angle.

Technical set up & Zoom

See this page here