One of the main reasons many bands don’t stay together is that expectations are not clearly communicated on a consistent basis. Even if your bass player is planning to go back to college and get an engineering degree, or your drummer has been making great strides during her private voice lessons with a Brett Manning Associate, you want to be aware of these things up front. This will minimize surprises down the road so that any upcoming changes can be handled as openly, honestly, and seamlessly as possible, with no hard feelings.
Each member of your band must know what is expected of them. Don’t be surprised when a member disappoints you because they had no clue as to what you wanted if you haven’t told them.
So, first of all, clearly communicate standards, practice time and rehearsal schedules. Let them know about anything that will not be tolerated, as well as those qualities, traits, and abilities that are to be encouraged.
Double Check One By One
Check in on an individual basis with each member; make sure things are running smoothly. Go to lunch or to the park, find a safe, relaxing place to talk business. Invite feedback as well.
Sometimes people are reluctant to share an idea or criticism in front of the group. This gives each member a chance to vent privately if needed. Always allow time at rehearsals for members to offer feedback if they wish. This keeps communication open and creativity alive.
Check The Work
Periodically review each member’s input in terms of challenges, strengths, training. If there are needs that you feel aren’t being met, talk about strategies for working through that.
Always show that you are interested in the unique part they play in defining your group’s image, vibe, appeal, and potential success. Invite feedback on your performance and how it relates to what you do. Then, work out approaches for improving your creative relationship with others and with yourself.
Set Goals For The Group
There are many times a group can outgrow its original design. Maybe the material has created a potential need for more harmony vocals and a rhythm guitar. Maybe songwriters are branching out and trying new approaches to material lyrically and stylistically.
As your group grows or changes, reassess the group’s dynamics in terms of material, image, flexibility with schedules and travel. Examine all issues that impact efficiency and potential for optimum success. Then, share potential game plans with the group to get everyone working together most effectively on taking the best route to the group’s greatest success.
When Things Fall Through
Sometimes stuff happens and people disappoint each other. When you approach your fellow band members, remember to not attack or put down the person that has disappointed or fallen short.
The failure is not the person. The failure is the action or issue where whatever went wrong or fell short. When you approach one of the members or even look at yourself, begin by restating those higher expectations that have been set and agreed on.
Get Back To The Basics Of What’s Best
Work through apologies and any finger-pointing that may come up by stressing those higher expectations from the musicians, singers, and songwriters in your band that you believe in.
Remind them of the quality work you expect because you know they are the best. Encourage them to get back to the best they have to offer in order to fully reconnect with what’s best for the band.