1. If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
The first thing to know about starting off with your new band (or even continuing with one that’s having hard times), is that things WILL go wrong. You are one of the few if your first band’s member line-up is your final band’s member line up. People will have differences, you will not agree all of the time and members will leave. Too many artists quit when the going gets tough. They also don’t realize that a band is like a relationship. In order for it to more forward, there must be give and take from all sides. Just because you’ve hit a bump, had an argument or you’ve been told “no” too many times, doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. Use these failed attempts, bad experiences, or mistakes as learning opportunities. Build each other up and push forward!
2. Make A Plan
It’s important for your band to have a talk about what’s important to each of you about the band. How is this band going to be run? How will decisions be made? How can we keep things fair? How will we delegate jobs and tasks? Map out an “Action Plan” with realistic goals from starting out to what you’d like to do long-term. Having your own unique plan will ensure you have a vision to stay focused on; and stay focused on it. When something doesn’t go according to plan, don’t spend time moping around about it, take action on “how can we get this train moving again?!” and tackle the issue! A helpful hint to staying positive is to spend as little time as possible on the negative.
3. Set All Ego’s Aside
Yes, you may know everything and nobody else understands… but as I stated before, a band is like a relationship and you must set your ego aside for this to be a happy marriage. Use a voting system for every decision moving forward, and majority always wins. You may feel very strongly that your band is moving in the wrong direction and want to continue pushing your side of things, but you have to let it go. Pick your battles and if you’re out-voted, the tribe has spoken. You may lose this battle however you will get much further as a team, and hence will have a better chance of winning the war.
5. Remember Why You Do What You Do
When you are constantly being told what you’re doing wrong, or your band loses its drummer the first day of recording, or the brand-new manager you just brought on screwed you all, it’s easy to feel like maybe this just isn’t something you’re supposed to be doing. Staying positive when you have to rely on other people for success is really hard. People are flawed and they WILL let you down. The strength to keep going has to come from inside you. You don’t play music for the millions of dollars you’re not getting through Spotify plays. You don’t play music for the instant thousands of fans showing up to your concerts. You play it because something about it is inside you and you can’t be happy without it. You live it, breathe it and play it every day. You owe it to yourself not to give up and to know that you can do this because this is something you’ve always wanted to do! Probably the only thing you’ve ever really wanted to do! You deserve that.
If this is something you want to make your full-time job, you’re going to have to realize you and your band-mates are going to be spending a lot of time together. Treat your band-mates with respect, compassion, encouragement and a helping hand. Just starting out is going to be the hardest part but remember that every band goes through the same problems and you can make it out as long as you don’t give up. Keep negativity, trash-talk, bad attitudes and resentment out of the band. When you have an issue with a band member (which you inevitably will), pull them aside and talk to them one on one to figure out what the issue is and how you both can fix things. Just be a decent human being to each other and always be honest, in a caring way. Continue to build your band up and focus on the positive and you’ll stay a strong, well-oiled machine!
Guest Blog written by vocalist Christina Murphy.
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