Whether you’re in a bluegrass trio, an a cappella quartet or a rock band, it’s challenging to stick together for many reasons. Even the tightest knit groups have to work at creating harmony among members, and still the band could have a bad break… just ask Paul.
However, there are few tips for keeping a group in sync.
Here’s the rundown:
1. Have a leader — or not.
Surprisingly, many band members do not want a democracy where everyone has equal say; they want someone to lead, both for themselves and others. It’s human nature to want a leader to be the glue, to entrust in someone who can guide others toward success. In fact, it’s how societies, businesses and families are set up.
So, who takes the reins? It might be the member with the most experience, or maybe it is the singer/songwriter as the creative force. Or potentially, it is the one who placed the ad on Craigslist to start the band in the first place.
Keep in mind, the leader is the nucleus of sorts and has a lot of responsibility. They must care for others, make sure voices are heard, resolve difficulties and help a member who might be having problems. They must have enough sensitivity, humility and communication skills to deal with people who are often highly artistic, genius individuals.
With this in mind, are you ready and willing to be a band leader?
Sometimes bands can have multiple, strong personalities who can become creative collaborators and share the power. If you can develop that sort of relationship, it’s highly rewarding.
2. Do what you’re good at for the business.
While band members are creatives, artists and performers, the band itself is a business.
You put in work to reach a common goal. This might be to land your first live gig, record a new album, or score your first label.
Newer bands often assign members to take on different functions for the running of the business. For instance, the person who’s the songwriter might lead the band musically, while someone else is good at booking gigs and getting paid. Another member may be best at social media and networking.
Allocation and delegation of specific tasks is an effective way to get stuff done. It is also a good method for having each member feel empowered and like they’re actively contributing to the group.
3. Get a manager.
Bands who have already developed some level of success must consider getting a manager to run the business. Sure, they take a cut, but their goal is for you to get paid. Why? Because their paycheck is dependent on the money you make.
Managers can take a big strain off a band, so members can focus on writing, rehearsing and producing music.
4. Ensure practice is productive.
The type of practice your band comes together for is dependent on the goals at play.
For example, practice will be more experimental and governed by trial and error if your band is in the process of perfecting a new song. On the other hand, your practice may be heavier on the repeats if you have an upcoming gig.
Regardless of the nature of your practice, it is important to know a couple of things. First, practice isn’t always seamless. Goals and expectations are good, but don’t let them become toxic for the group.
Additionally, you should invest in the processes and products that are going to positively impact your band’s practices.
What does this mean exactly?
Well, for starters, sheet music may be a common denominator for each of your band’s members. If so, you know that taking notes, making adjustments, and even repetitiously turning the pages of the music is a hassle.
Eliminate the stress of sheet music and focus on what’s really important for your band… and doing so has never been easier. Sheetminder is the solution.
These innovative products allow you to organize multiple pages of sheet music at a time. They feature a proprietary, double-side adhesive, so you can keep your sheet together and even write directly on your music.
5. Lose the negative ego.
A healthy ego reveals itself as confidence. This quality is essential on the stage when the lights are on and an audience is in the room.
However, when egos move into an unhealthy place (for instance, when one person thinks they’re the star), feelings are hurt, clashes ensue and bands will often break up.
6. Hang out socially on occasion.
It could be that you connect for a half hour before you play or share a meal after practice. Or maybe dedicate some time to do something together that is totally unrelated to the band.
Social occasions like these will allow you to grow closer on a personal level, and help you to form solid relationships outside of the music scene. This contributes to a sturdy “family unit”, allowing you to stay strong if conflict occurs.
7. Split the money equally.
Money is the root cause of many breakups. Business partnerships, family, marriage… the whole works.
So, imagine how easily money can destroy the creative comradery of a band. To avoid a financially motivated crash, everyone must absolutely be viewed as equals when it comes to the cash.
8. Find band members with your level of ambition.
Nothing’s more frustrating than when band members have different agendas.
If one person wants to make it big, and another is happy with local gigs in perpetuity, you’re going to run into issues.