Archive for November 19th, 2008

When The Going Gets Tough…

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Current Not-So-Funny Joke:

A wife sees her husband at the computer.
She: What are you doing?
He: Checking up on our 201K.
She: Honey – we have a 401K.
He: Not any more.

If you really want to know how the economy is doing, just ask a musician. We are always reliable early-recession-warning devices. What do I mean?

Well, for starters, I played last New Year’s Eve with a 7-piece band. This year, we’ll be a quartet.

Item 2: Recently, my band was one of 2 finalists for a corporate job early next year. We got the job, mainly because we are also able to teach Country-Western dancing. (Hiring the other group would have required spending extra money on a separate dance instructor.)

Which brings up the central point of this entry – tough economic times result in fewer parties and/or scaled-down parties. But you don’t want your party to be any less fun. So what can you do?

My answer? Hire smaller bands whose members each do more. My friend Vicho Vicencio has gone to the trouble and expense to create special musical arrangements that allow him to cut his big band from 10 (or more) members to 7, yet still sound full. Another friend, Craig Wensel, uses “sequencing” (pre-recorded elements) on his keyboard, resulting in 2 or 3 live musicians who sound like a much larger band. In my own group, all the players also sing. Most play multiple instruments as well.

As mentioned, I teach Country (and Ballroom) dance steps. I can also be an auctioneer, a deejay, a program, and a cocktail hour or wedding ceremony pianist. When budget belts tighten, such free extras as my friends and I offer are Manna From Heaven for party planners. They mean that most audience members aren’t even aware of the financial cutbacks. To them, the parties are as full and fun as ever.

For bands to survive economic downturns, they have to either do more, charge less – or both. You can turn this to your advantage at your next party. At a time when the costs on everything else are going up, careful shoppers can either save money on music, or get more for the same entertainment dollar.

These tough times could be great times for you.