How To Work With Other Band Members

Like it or not, a band is a family of sorts, and like all families, a band comes with its own drama. This article will be about how to deal with any type of drama among the band members that may arise over time. Note that this comes from my own personal experience, and there are bound to be many other ways to deal with these potential situations. That being said, I’ve noticed typically that communication skills work in these situations as well.

You must set expectations. This doesn’t mean that one person comes in and says how it’s going to be, and that everyone must follow the rules set forth by that person. The purpose of setting expectations is so that everyone knows what is expected of them.

Typically, when an argument about someone’s actions takes place, there is a miscommunication of expectations or a lack of communication regarding those expectations.

If you don’t share your expectations with your fellow band members, then you have to realize that you’re partly to blame for whatever negative situation might arise. After all, no one can meet your standards if you don’t tell them what they are! Many people don’t communicate their expectations but then proceed to get angry when someone violates them. This is representative of poor communication skills.

The purpose of setting expectations in a band setting is so that everyone can see at what level their peers expect them to operate. If band members have opposing expectations, you then have two options. You can consider which expectations could be changed, or which might be unrealistic. If someone works a 9-to-5 job, and another band member says that to be in the band means that all members must practice for eight hours each day, then obviously this expectation just isn’t realistic. But if the members are willing to adjust expectations, then the collaboration may proceed. However, if expectations continue to differ, then the members should each go their own way and find another band that can meet their individual needs. Otherwise, the band’s relationship will become strained and difficult to manage.

Common expectations for bands are:

  • Always arrive ten minutes early for band rehearsal
  • Come to band rehearsal with all your individual parts memorized
  • Don’t insult or belittle other band members
  • When you leave, everyone should help pack up the equipment
  • Recognize all fans who show up to shows and try to spend time with them
  • Attend band practices three times per week
  • Give a 24-hour notice if you can’t make the band practice
  • Don’t show up to a gig drunk or high
  • Be blunt in your opinions, but still respectful

Talk with respect:

Band MembersThis is a type of expectation, but it’s one that will be expected by anyone who has self-esteem. If you’re talking to a band member during a disagreement, you should avoid insulting them or hurling unwarranted insults at them. Everyone gets insulted by different things, but in general, most people do not like to be sworn at or told that they’re stupid or a moron. Such phrases should be avoided at all costs during disagreements. 

You’d think that this was common sense, but unfortunately, I have found it to be not so. This is a quick way to burn bridges with a friend and bandmate.

Unstated expectations:

Many times, even if you state expectations at the outset, there will come a time when someone gets angry. Look into whether there is an expectation that may have gone unstated, or that maybe the band member is not aware of something that needs to be brought out into the open. This type of failure to communicate effectively is oftentimes when a band breaks up, because they don’t agree with an expectation and end up going their separate ways. It’s up to you and your bandmates to decide how to proceed when this is potentially going to happen.

About the author:

Voice lessons in Rochester are available to all who need them. Chris Glyde, the head instructor of Rochester’s School of Contemporary Voice, will help you grow you voice to new levels.