Socializing with colleagues outside the office is a great way to build camaraderie whilst still being a lot of fun. From company sports teams to quiz nights and many other organized activities, workplaces up and down the country have a number of ways for employees to let off steam outside of office hours. Less common however is the office band. Get it right, and you’ll be an absolute legend. But getting it wrong could mean career suicide! In this blog we’ll tell reveal the do’s, don’ts, and everything else you need to know in order to form your own office band.
1. Determine how serious this is
First of all, you need to honestly assess your abilities and decide if this is just a bit of fun or a more serious endeavour. Is your heart set on getting your name in lights, making it big, and having the next big hit? Or is it just something to break up those dreary winter evenings and act as a new weekend hobby? Deciding whether you’ve got what it takes to be in a band is by no means easy. Strumming along to some tunes in your bedroom or belting out some power ballads with a bottle of shampoo in your shower concert is somewhat different from being on a stage with a real audience. Not only do you need to ask yourself if you have the skills, but also, ‘do I have the confidence’? Could you imagine yourselves playing in front of a crowd – maybe even your boss? If you misjudge this, you could end up not only talk of the office, but also the office laughingstock.
2. Navigate the politics
Next up, you need to decide who you want in the band, and this is not without its hurdles. You should approach this delicately. Imagine you’re in the position where you’ve been approached by a really senior colleague, who maybe made it known at that Christmas party one year that they’re rather tone-deaf. They heard on the grapevine you’re a great guitarist and suggest you start a band together. You know that this is likely to be a musical car crash, however this situation must be handled diplomatically.
If the band’s a hit and you get on well, maybe a possible pay rise or promotion could lay ahead? But if you decline them, you could be on the wrong side of someone much more senior than yourself. To get out of this dilemma without damaging your career, you’ll need some good excuses. How about suggesting really awkward rehearsal times, at inconvenient locations? Or suggesting songs to play that you’re certain are way beyond the skill set of this enthusiastic but talentless colleague.
3. Choose your set list
When putting together a set list as newbies, there are a few things to consider. It’s a good idea to stick with covers until you’ve unearthed an original and unique sound as a band. Your next step is to decide whether you want to appeal to the masses and cover the classics, or whether you want to show off just how cool you are by covering niche or even obscure material that will leave them thinking about your performance for weeks. It’s important to bear in mind however that you can’t please everyone. You’re an office band – there will be bumps in the road ahead and kinks that will surely need ironing out, especially if you have dreams to make it big. With 90% of an audience impression coming from the first and last song on the set list, it’s important to envisage how they’d be feeling after each of these, as it’s the only time you can truly guarantee an audience’s full attention. At the start of your set, all eyes are on you – your colleagues will be seeing whether you have what it takes, or rather are a source of derision. Remember to end with a bang. By your final song, your audience will be expecting some sort of legendary finale.
4. Decide when to go public
With your office bandmates secured and set list in check, now all that’s left is for everyone at work to see and hear you play. On your road to success of becoming a great office band, you’ve got to consider those important events in the work calendar – none more important than The Christmas Party. The annual Yuletide event is the ultimate gig for any office band, but one you should consider carefully before agreeing to. First off, this mega event often sees many of your colleagues let their hair down and let’s say… get a little merry. If you want the undivided attention of your audience, then the Christmas party might not be the one for you, and you might not get remembered by the time the morning rolls around – which, if you really are tone-deaf, could be a good thing too! On the contrary, it’s common for a lot of colleagues to attend the party, bond and form friendships, so it’s an easy way to make a name for yourselves and become the next office legends!
Perhaps your company has a Summer Party too? Often the second most important date in the workplace social calendar, it acts as a way to boost morale and create a bit of mid-year incentive for employees. As the warm weather will be booming and daylight lasting longer, this could act as a perfect set-up to show off your newly formed office band with a sunset behind you. However, picture this; not only are all eyes on you and the nerves are brewing, but you’re also battling with sweltering 35-degree heat in the midst of summer, all whilst trying to play at your best.
Maybe the office parties would prove too much pressure to begin with. If so, why not try a low-key open mic night at your local pub! Everybody loves an open mic night – they’re casual and who knows, there’s always the possibility of getting signed by a record company who often lay incognito at them. The event also cuts ties from the work sphere, even though it’s likely your colleagues will be in the audience. Just be mindful, however – when your debut open mic night isn’t solely work-related, this could see colleagues pass up on the opportunity to see you play.
5. Manage your fans
By now, everybody in the company knows who you are – albeit for positive reasons or negative ones! Assuming your performances have been a hit and people love your band, by now you may have picked up a few office fans. Learning how to manage these is an important skill. Firstly, be careful not to develop a superiority complex above your colleagues, and secondly, maybe steer clear from those office romances.
We know, that cutie from accounts has finally noticed you! But you have to ask yourself – would it be worth it if it doesn’t work out for the best? A love interest gone wrong where you still have to see each other most days and remain professional is hardly easy. We suggest maybe not to mix those two.
6. Know when to step aside
Many great bands have survived for decades by constantly refreshing their line-up of musicians. Don’t lose sight that this is an office band – not ‘your’ band. That sometimes means you need to know when it’s time to move on and let the new generation of employees take the reins. After all, as you get more senior, it may no longer be appropriate to make a fool of yourself on stage any more! Why not give the junior employees a chance to make a name for themselves in the company – especially if they’re more musically talented than you.
Embracing change in your office band is crucial. Enjoy it whilst you can, and realize that it may not be a forever venture for all the members involved. It’s important to think of it more as a sports team than a traditional rock band. When someone needs to tap out for a while, tap someone new in, and welcome them with open arms.
Whilst we’d all love to be the Christmas Party legends, the majority of us wouldn’t know where to begin with starting a band. Starting your very own office band is all about having fun and not being too scared to make a fool of yourself in the beginning. You will find that your work relationships blossom, and you’ll grow bonds with colleagues that you didn’t know were possible. Who knows, you could even land yourself that promotion you had your eye on as a result of all that business promo you’ve been doing!
This article assumes that there are people in your company with enough musical experience to start a band, but there’s a way to become an office legend even if you’ve never played an instrument before! At WeJam, anybody can become an instant Rockstar, and with our unique tech-enabled studio, beginners can perform their favourite songs after just one session. Even if you don’t want the commitment of being in a band full time, WeJam offers a great way to have some fun with colleagues whilst rocking out as a one-off activity. Maybe show your boss who’s REALLY boss when it comes to shredding riffs, or impress your office sweetheart with your newfound drumming skills.
For those that are really serious, however, WeJam can bring our setup to your next Christmas Party, so you can truly show off your Rockstar credentials to your colleagues on stage! To book a regular session, please visit our booking page. To enquire about private events, please contact us here. We look forward to jamming with you soon.
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