Being in a band is a difficult feat. It may look like fun and games from the outside, but in reality it is a marriage between you and the other members in your group. Everyone needs to be on the same page about future goals, set lists, schedules, money, and so many more things. But, just as a marriage, there are plenty of rewarding things that come from being in a band. Here are a few ways you can make the job easier for everyone and be a better bandmate.
Remember that this is not your show
One of the most important things to remember when playing in a band is that you are collaborating with everyone else on your team. This is not your time to shine in the middle of the stage and turn your guitar or vocals up all the way. Instead learn how to blend together to make awesome music.
Being willing to compromise is a huge part of being a better bandmate. You might have to tone down some of the things you would normally do alone in your living room because you know it’ll annoy the daylights out of your bandmates. Another major element is being ready to help your bandmates out anytime they need it. Loading gear is not a one person job, and neither is talking to fans. Dividing up the jobs that need to be done by the end of the night will make for a happier band tomorrow.
The REL Show nails the advice on this point:
Know the importance of communication
Good communication is necessary for any relationship to work, but especially when you’re in a band. There are so many loose ends that need to be tied up and questions to be answered when playing music with other people, that everyone has to be able to communicate those key responses clearly. My high school band, Men in Suits (which included two girls), decided that we were going to play all of our shows wearing suits, because how funny is that? How embarrassing would it have been if we told everyone but the drummer to suit up? Definitely unacceptable. As silly as it may sound, wardrobe is one of the most important things to communicate between your bandmates. If people are looking at you while you are playing, you need to not only sound unified, but look unified.
Some other very important topics to be regularly discussed among bandmates is of course what to do with any money made, scheduling of rehearsals and shows, cancellations, problems within the band, and any mistakes the band made during rehearsals and shows. Without open communication about each of these things, it’s going to be very difficult to lead a functioning band.
Feelings are not facts
It is extremely important to remember that what you feel is not necessarily how everyone else in your band feels. Feelings are all dependent on the person and situation. Especially if you are tired after playing a bunch of shows or having a bunch of late rehearsals, it is important to remember what you are feeling at this point is not necessarily a fact of life. I know as well as anyone else, your songs are your babies. If someone has a different idea of how to play them, it can be extremely upsetting. Just as in collaboration, you must remember that feedback from your bandmates will only improve your writing and future songs, as well as the one you’re working on! Don’t take criticism personally, and try to look objectively at suggestions given to you about songwriting, playing, etc. Listen to advice. If you can manage to step outside the automatic defensive reaction most people have to criticism, your band will be able to progress and get along just fine!
Collaborating is one of the best things you can do as a musician to learn more, improve your songwriting, and forward your career, and what better way to collaborate than with a band! Find more tips on running a successful band in our new course Building a Better Band, and take the next step towards leading your next project!
Need some help finding new bandmates? Come out to our first-ever open mic night at Brooklyn’s Black Bear Bar this Thursday, July 9th!