Starting a Function Band
The first thing you should know is that starting and running a function band isn't the same as being in an average pub covers band. The more money a band charges, the higher the expectations and required level of professionalism. If things go wrong at someone's wedding, you're the person responsible and so preparation and organisation is essential. Luckily, there is usually one musician in the group who's prepared to take on the role of band leader (and no, it's not you drummer boy).
So, you've been in an originals band for years, you've got 4-5 great young musicians and a top class singer. That's a good start, remember that brides-to-be surfing the net are going to be listening to vocals first and foremost so don't think an average singer is going to cut it. If you're the singer/guitarist in a 4-piece band but don't think you're up to function standard, perhaps bring in a great female vocalist and take a back seat.
Here are a few tips to get you going, it can be a long process and shouldn't be rushed. Just remember that making a living from music is no mean feat.
Rehearse like crazy
Every originals band has a few covers they can throw into the set now and again, but to get the most work, you should always set of with the aim of performing the songs as close to the originals as possible. If a client is booking you for their wedding, birthday or corporate event, they're going to want to see a polished function band, not the local pub band.
Function band Set list
You've got a couple of hours of performance to fill so choose your songs carefully. If you can't imagine people dancing like mad-men to a song, don't put it in. Mix it up a little, from rock n roll classics to modern chart hits, you're going to want to appeal to every age group. Keep it current and always add one or two summer hits to your set, you don't want to look dated.
Invest in the band
Keep a percentage of the money that the band makes and reinvest it to improve your live act. High quality PA is essential, lighting is nearly always a requirement and a decent suit isn't a bad idea either. Before you're 30 seconds into your first song, the guests will judge you on your poor sound, even if you're the dogs dangily bits.
Record a good demo
As with an originals band, the demo is everything. You'll need 4 high quality, studio demo's. A client may also want to here you live which is rarely an option for a band who only play at private events. With this in mind, some live demo's would also be good to have just in case.
With hundreds of wedding bands and live music agencies advertising on Google, a good studio photo is vital to make sure you don't slip through the net. Live shots are great for the gallery but will inevitably be glanced over on a page full of polished studio shots. Make sure you get at least one studio shot of the band.
All's you need to do now is get yourself out there. Get a Facebook profile, MySpace page or website, contact an agency or two, you are officially a band for hire - Good luck!
If you're booking a wedding band, you're more than likely going to need a helping hand. With so much to choose from on the internet, it's often difficult to know who the best function bands really are. If you're after a Birmingham wedding band, why not take a look and see who's available at a reputable agency such as Bands For Hire. With 10 years experience in the wedding entertainment business, they know what they're talking about. They offer a range of function bands from Rock 'n' Roll bands, to Indie Bands, Soul Bands and Pop / Rock party bands.
If it's sophistication you're after, perhaps you've considered a Jazz band for your corporate event, drinks reception or cocktail party. BHAM.FM showcase a range of jazz bands to suit any occasion. From solo jazz pianists and jazz duo's to larger set ups suitable for dancing. A Jazz band will most include a range of modern and jazz standards including popular songs from at King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, N, Jamie Cullum, Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jnr.
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