There exists an intricate and unique relationship between band members. With their varied goals and personalities, things have a way of getting tricky. Some members are more organized while others can be passive or direct. Musicians are by nature odd and sensitive creatures, so inevitably a band becomes a loving, if somewhat dysfunctional family when the band leader has what it takes to bind them together. Effective leadership within the band is imperative to create camaraderie, manage expectations, and get everyone on the same page. No matter what your band culture, here’s how you can ensure your band survives the ups and downs and doesn’t go astray:
Musicians are often stereotyped as unprofessional people, but any band leader who aspires for success knows how important it is to stay professional. A career in music can be highly complex and challenging, and takes expertise, organization, creativity, discipline, and tons of knowledge. However, all of this diligent labor could go down the drain if the band leader doesn’t exercise a professional demeanor. This includes promoting your show in advance, being prepared for rehearsals, being on time, scheduling shows and rehearsals in advance, and replying to phone calls and emails in a timely fashion. Professionalism portrays your band in a positive light and helps it stay intact.
Be Respectful of Band Members
Respect is an imperative element in a music relationship, and the needs and expectations of each person should be paid heed. Remember that each band member has his own passions, personal goals, ideas, talents, expertise, and aspirations, so let them flourish. If any member feels overworked, unappreciated, or taken for granted, they may harbor resentment. On the other hand, when members feel appreciated and valued as individuals, they will be amped up to bring innovative ideas and positive energy to the group. If any band member contributes to the band, be sure to grant ample positive feedback.
Keep an Open Mind
When you are working together to learn new songs or create new material, there will inevitably be moments of imperfection and discord. Since creative vision or learning styles can vary from person to person, a band leader should keep an open mind about the entire process. Have plenty of brainstorming sessions to let the creativity flow and allow each person to play around with ideas and contribute. The leader needs to maintain a supportive ambiance so that each member feels free to speak up. When band members have a say in the final decision, they are most likely to support it.
Develop an Ability to Delegate
It’s quite unfair if one member is in charge of all the details or feels overworked. If you observe that one member has too much on his plate, be ready to delegate some of his tasks to another member. Nobody wants to be the one loading all the hefty equipment while the other members have fun or socialize instead of offering to help. This breeds discontent and the overworked member might feel undervalued.
If the leader conveys his vision, goals, and ideas effectively, it is helpful for the other band members. It is imperative that you lay down the logistical expectations; members making their availability known so you can schedule gigs accordingly, being on time, every member coming prepared for practice, etc. All high functioning bands have reasonable expectations and well defined goals. The leader is responsible for setting the ground rules and making sure all members are accountable for them. Even if you are on the passive end of the spectrum, make sure that you call out a member if they violate the expectations of the band. No one wants to puts up with a member who doesn’t show up for practice, comes drunk, or shirks their roles. Being too lenient and letting every member have their own way ruins the integrity of the band.
Good band leaders should be quick in making decisions and sticking to them firmly. For instance if there is time for only a single song on a concert, your band members should know whose decision it’s going to be. Discussing and debating on stage looks highly unprofessional.
By following these guidelines, you can help keep your band playing together for years and enjoy your gigs to the fullest.