Function Band vs Originals – Part 2b – The Musician: Function.
Having looked at the Musician’s pros and cons for playing in an Originals band, it is only right that we now look at the flip side: the Function Band – many an outstanding musician has had their most enjoyment when playing in a function band.
Before we get down to it, may I just stress again that these two blogs are in no way, a definitive look at this topic! They are in fact, just brushing the surface with a light feather…more of a pros and cons for each option!! I do however, hope that they encourage and inspire you – to look further into this subject and to get involved one way or another in using your gift alongside other like-minded musicians – there’s nothing like it!!
The Function Band.
Playing in a Function Band is quite a different experience to playing in an Originals Band. Though you may not get to play songs that you as a band have written, many musicians find that actually so many of the stresses that come with playing in an originals band are eradicated when in the context of a Function Band.
Function Bands are all about the fun!! Your audience is there to hear the classics…they know the classics…you know (and perform) the classics…BOOM!…You’ve got yourself an instant party!! The stress of getting your audience to know your songs is gone, because as long as you choose the right ones, they already will! … and what’s more, they’ll love you for playing them! Fun all round!!
You will get to play a whole variety of songs, from different eras, different genres and of different styles (assuming of course, you’re not in a tribute band!). This will not only give you the chance to expand your style and skill as a musician, but also means that even if you have to play a song or two that you really don’t like (lets face it, we all have our pet hates!), you will soon be moving on to something more of your taste! There’s not really many other contexts where you get to play so many different styles and songs in one evening!
The songs are already written! No musician, let alone band can become excellent without practice. The practice room just can’t be avoided! However, the stress of writing (individually or, sometimes even more so as a band) can be! Not everyone enjoys the writing process – the function band is a GREAT opportunity to perform great songs, with other great musicians to a great audience without the hours and hours of writing and perfecting the writing of the songs! The same can even be said of the arrangement, should this equally be a cause of boredom or stress!
So there’s some of the pros to consider before shrugging off a Function Band as your place as a musician. So lets briefly look at a few cons, just to keep your decision in balance!
Much of the cons are in fact just the flip side of the pros…
You may have to play songs you don’t like! As we’ve said, getting to play a whole variety of songs will inevitably mean that you may have to play some songs that you don’t really like! Even if you don’t choose them, Murphey’s Law would suggest that your hosts would request you learn some special song they want that you just happen to hate! This of course would not be the case if you played only your own songs…but that sits with the previous blog!
You won’t get to perform your own songs. If you are a writer, the Function Band would not be a place to perform the songs you are creating. However, this does not mean you can’t be a writer too – you would just need to find a different outlet for those songs! … Open Mic Nights are a great place for this..or why not be in both a Function and an Originals?!
Although you still have ‘creative license’, too much of this may not be appreciated! Audiences know the songs how they were originally written, released and performed, so it is generally best to stick fairly closely to that arrangement, even if you feel that your way of doing it is better! For some, this could require a level of discipline!!
OK, so these are not even close to all the pros and cons of playing in a Function Band, but I hope it is enough to get you thinking. Unfortunately, some musicians have an odd perspective on playing anything other than their own material, but in my experience, I would say that by writing off Function Bands as an option, they are missing out on a lot of fun and a great experience!!
That said…it’s your choice!