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About the Video Clip:

Video Clip Synopsis:
In order to earn a living the members of this rock band must work in mundane jobs during the day. At night they pursue their dreams of musical success.

2min 41sec

Working to Play in a Rock Band is an excerpt from the film Bundy Into Dreamland (16 mins), an episode of the series Working (7 x 16 mins), produced in 1979.

Bundy Into Dreamland: Part-time musicians discuss the problems involved in earning a living while playing in a band. In order to earn money, they must work at other more mundane jobs, such as in a factory or on a production line, and pursue their musical career in their spare time.

Working: The series is a window into the 70s and reflects different attitudes to work, including working for money, love, or passion, and working for an employer or being self- employed.

Working was produced by Film Australia.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: The Arts
Year: 7-8
Strand: Music
Theme: Artists at Work

Key Concepts

Sacrifice; Passion; Compromise; Dreams; Ambition

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:Music strand: Arts, criticism and aesthetics; Past and present contexts
NSW:Music strand: Listening (Arts criticism and aesthetics) levels 4-6
NT:Music strand: Art responses and analysis Mu4.3, Mu4.4
Qld:Music strand Mu4.1
SA:Arts analysis and response: Standard 4 — 4.4
Arts in context: Standard 4 — 4.5, 4.6
Tas:Communicating – Being literate, Standard 4
Vic:Music strand: Responding to the arts — criticisms, aesthetics and contexts, 5.3, 5.4
WA:Music strand: Arts responses; Arts in society

Context / Background Information

Artists of all genres, prior to establishing their careers, can experience a period of difficulty in supporting themselves financially. Balancing regular paid work with the time that can be devoted to a creative pursuit can be difficult, and frustrating.

This can be a sorting out period when the talents and capabilities are matched against passion, dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to producing consistent and high quality work. In order to gain recognition, which may lead to financial success, these characteristics need to be supported by establishing good networks, excellent PR and support from within the sector or industry.

This period of gradually emerging into the public eye can be considered a kind of apprenticeship.

Individual artists may find the isolation of working though this period challenging, although sharing studio space or accommodation can overcome this. A group of artists has the difficulty of developing and maintaining an equal level of focus and professionalism. The loyalty to the group can also be tested during this period. If artists/players shift their allegiance to other groups or drop out for any number of reasons, finding suitable replacements can create additional stress and even threaten the existence of the group.

Imagine dedicating two or three years or more to a group only to see it all crumble before you!

Discussion Pointers

  1. There was tension in the air within the group of musicians. What was the cause or source of this aggravation and how did it affect the function of the band?
  2. Practice makes perfect – what stood in the way of the band’s standard of performance?
  3. One member of the band was supplementing his income with manual work. Why was this work considered acceptable? What were the advantages?
  4. Consider the differences between regular paid but boring work and making music with a band. What does each satisfy?
  5. The mood had shifted by the end of the clip. Why was that?

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. What are the advantages of being in a band? Discuss terms like – friendship/mateship, mutual support, shared passion, a sense of belonging.
  2. If you were to join a musical group or band, what kind of music would they play? Explain this and the reasons why would you choose this particular group.
  3. Compose a letter to a band or group you want to join, outlining your skills and other attributes to convince them you should be their first choice.
  4. Form groups of four or five, and plan and draw up a practice schedule for your group’s imaginary band. Aim to practice two nights a week and once at the weekend for a minimum of one and half to two hours. Make a list of the other activities in your lives which make this difficult. Who else may be implicated in this arrangement? What compromises would each member have to make to ensure this is possible?
  5. Working in groups, establish a role for each member of a ‘band’. Make a list of all the tasks required for a band to practice and perform publicly. This could include arranging the practice sessions and location, selecting and acquiring the music, writing and arranging, seeking gigs, transport of equipment, publicity. Identify the leader of the group, and explain which tasks need to be shared by the whole group and why? Compare the task lists with those of other class groups.

Modules That Use This Clip

The Arts Year 7-8, English Year 9-10, The Arts Year 9-10