Tips On Being A Great Band Leader
As an artist, you are the CEO of your music career and the way you handle band related situations is a reflection of your entire brand. Being professional with your band-mates, as well as venues, can lead to more work, greater guarantees and a better overall experience for everyone involved.
With each performance and/or tour, it is important for you to reflect on what worked and what did not so the next tour can be even more successful. The more professional your brand becomes, the bolder you are in booking performances.
It’s only fair to expect excellence from your band mates when the information you provide them with to prepare for a performance is excellent. Sending clean audio tracks of your songs, charts, and lyrics are all beneficial tools for the musicians learning your material. If you don’t have a professional recording of your song that’s okay, you can record a clean acoustic version on your phone. If music theory isn’t a strength for you, spend time with one of your band mates and have them help you make your charts, potentially giving them the music director title. Make sure everyone has the material at least two weeks prior to the performance so they have time to live with the songs.
Details, Details, Details!
As your performance approaches make sure everyone has all the details necessary for the gig including an ordered set list, rehearsal and performance times and locations, load in, soundcheck, and load out times, parking information, as well as whether or not food will be provided. It is important to collect all the information and communicate it to your band so their focus can be performing your music. This way the vibe will not be uneasy once you are on stage.
Find Great Players
We are firm believers that the most talented player is not always the most overtly passionate and we would much rather hire someone who is willing to work hard than someone with an ego. When you’re on tour with a band about 10% of your time is on stage performing and 90% is the hang. When you’re hiring your players think not only about skill level, but also about who you can stand being in a van with for however long you’ll be on the road. Also make sure the musicians you hire are stylistically write for the music you’re performing. Someone who is an amazing jazz player may not be the right choice if you play country music.
Feed Your Musicians
Food is fuel, and fuel gives us energy. I believe it’s important to compensate your band mates, even if for some gigs that means it is through meals and expenses. Some gigs are for charity, and some are promotional for the artist, but remember if you’re a solo artist it is your name being promoted at the end of the day, and it has been enhanced by a band.
Let Them Know You Care
Hired musicians enhance the sound of your music and get a one time paycheck, hoping you’ll hire them again. Make sure you verbalize how much you appreciate them, don’t assume that just because the audience applauded or you say a quick “Thanks for playing,” they feel valued. It’s amazing how much of an impact little things like thank you notes or baked goods can have.