Saturday, September 05, 2009

Making the Job Harder

I recently sat through a prep meeting for a wedding for which I'd been hired by the band owner who booked the job as a sub-leader. The participants at the meeting were the band owner/musician, myself (as the sub-leader) and the bride and groom. Throughout the meeting, I sat there in silent horror as I watched the band-owner say one thing after another all with the end result of a) making the job much harder and b) making themselves look incompetent.

First a little about the job...

This was a standard frum MO wedding. The client booked a five piece simcha/pop band consisting of Keys/drums/guitar/woodwinds/violin. The specific requests prior to this meeting, other than the usual simcha repertoire were:
some light classical music during dinner (hence the violin), some Israeli folk songs at some point, and a few American and Israeli pop/rock songs at the end of the event. All in all, a pretty straightforward affair.

Then we had the prep meeting.

Here's what the band owner did wrong, in my opinion...

1) The band leader kept pushing the client to make decisions about music for parts of the wedding at which they had no preference, i.e. the background music at the cocktails, opening the ballroom after the chupa, etc. We talked through the entire affair at the beginning of the meeting. The client had no specific programming requests for these times, and left it to our discretion, as to what to play.

Towards the end of the meeting, the band owner revisited each of those times, and essentially made the client feel they had to choose specific music/musical genres. So, the client made requests. My impression was that these were not specifically what they wanted to hear, just one of several possibilities that would have worked for them. Since they were being pressured to choose, they did. These "requests" will make the job more complicated, for no good reason. For example, they talked the client into having only classical music during the cocktail hour. That's fine, if that's what the client had wanted. But, they really didn't care if we played light Israeli, some Bossa Novas and standards, etc. A five-piece pop band with drums and electric guitar is not exactly the best choice of ensemble for an hour plus of classical music. We can do it, but we'll be a pop band playing classical music, which I'm certain is not the sound in the bride's head when she imagines classical music at her wedding.

Plus, now someone has to bring the sheet music for this. Guess whose job that is!

2) Kept bringing up the suggestion that we could/should include some contemporary Israeli pop in the first dance set. Since the client didn't want it there, and we'd already, in talking through the program, placed it in the 2nd dance, it was a pointless suggestion. Repeating it many times showed that they a) don't understand the dance needs at a contemporary simcha, and b) weren't listening to the client.

3) During the meeting, the client inquired about the possibility of adding a harpist to play in the lobby as guests were entering, and wanted a quote. So, this musician helpfully told the client that they'd once gotten a harpist to play a cocktail hour/ceremony for $200. Not cool. Also, no chance that was happening again. But, it served to make a fair price quote for said harpist seem excessively high.

I could go on...