Frequently Asked Questions

Why should clients hire you for their event?
Quality. More than simply avoiding wrong notes, “quality” is the ability to maximize the immersive experience of your guests. Music sets a mood, and as the person responsible for setting this mood, I decide in real-time on songs and playing styles based on the audience and the theme of your event. I frequently take requests on the spot to ensure audience engagement. Finally, I’ve learned through decades of experience how to maximize the success of every event at which I entertain.

What do clients usually enjoy most about your services?
I’ve found through the years that my clients ultimately want peace of mind. Organizing an event can be very stressful, and every opportunity to reduce that stress is welcomed. My clients like that I’m in touch with them early to understand their objectives and expectations; that I arrive early to set up and avoid any last minute “gotchas”; and that I blend into their event as if we had rehearsed the entire thing. Great music is important, but professionalism is paramount.

Are you the star of the party or do you like to blend in as part of the event?
The short answer is “both”. To explain… I always start an event with the intent to be invisible, but meaningful. In other words, I want to reach people unconsciously such that they don’t actively notice me, but end up tapping their foot to great music without realizing it. That said, I’ve played for events that evolve into sing-alongs or “Name That Tune” events, but the initial intent is always for a guest to realize later how much they enjoyed the music at your event.

What is your favorite thing about being a pianist?
My favorite aspect of being a pianist is having the ability to bring happiness to multiple people all at once. Music has a unique power to take someone back in time, to enable them to capture long-lost feelings or memories. It can relax someone, or excite them. I enjoy “reading the crowd” and seeing peoples’ reactions as they hear songs that have particular meanings for them. Impromptu sing-alongs are especially rewarding when seeing people light up at hearing their favorite songs.

Are you willing to learn a specific song or songs not on your song list just for my event?
Yes, absolutely!
However, if you want more than two additional songs, we can discuss a small fee (usually around $25 per song).

Do you take breaks?
Yes. My performances require energy and concentration, and I need to recharge after 45-50 minutes of performing. Breaks usually run only about 5 – 10 minutes.

What type of payment do you accept?
I accept cash, check, PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle.

Is my deposit refundable?
Your signed contract and deposit commits me to you.  That means that I will refuse all other opportunities that may arise on the date of your event.  Because of this commitment, I’m not able to refund deposits in case of cancellation, regardless of reason.  That said, if the cancellation occurs because of something outside of your control, such as inclement weather, I’m happy to apply the deposit to a reschedule of your event.

What sort of power requirements do you have?
I need one independent 20 amp 120 V circuit.

Will you play outdoors?
Yes. However, there are some additional things considerations for playing outdoors. If the temperature is above 80 degrees, I need a tent or awning covering the stage. You will be responsible for providing adequate protection for my equipment in case of inclement weather. Therefore, if the weather is threatening, a tent and several tarps would be a good idea. If the weather becomes dangerous to me or my equipment after I have begun setup, I reserve the right to cancel the performance (terms of payment will apply, regardless of weather conditions). I also reserve the right to cancel performance if the temperature drops below 60 degrees, or winds exceed 15 mph.

Do you require food and drink?
Well, I’m human, so the answer is “it sure would be nice”, and frankly, being properly nourished and hydrated is a requirement to deliver the high energy I put into my performances. I don’t demand to eat with your guests, nor do I have any specific dietary requirements. However, if it’s not possible to partake in the food generally provided, a sandwich and some bottled water would be wonderful.

Do you accept tips?
Let me think for a sec…uh, yes. Are they expected? No, of course not, but like any service provider, I don’t mind if you show appreciation for my performance.

What if one of my guests gets “out of hand”?
I’m fine with people having a good time. However, you are responsible in case of injury to me or theft and physical damage to my equipment resulting from negligence of you or your guests.

Can I use your name in marketing for the event?
Absolutely. Please contact me to discuss creative ways to jointly market your event.

  “Steve Shoaf saved our wedding! The pianist we had hired a year before the wedding was unable to play and gave us very little notice. Steve was kind enough to step in just a few weeks prior to our date…he knew all the ceremony music even though they were not “traditional” songs. He played thru our cocktail hour as well as dinner and everyone commented on how wonderful his playing was. His music set a wonderfully romantic, elegant background for our affair. We will certainly recommend him to others! Many Thanks!”

 – Krissie C.