Posted by Will Rose
June 18, 2019
“A conductor is nothing without an orchestra” – Gustavo Dudamel
The bandleader plays the most essential role in any group. They are the quarterback of the team and accordingly are responsible for the seamless execution of the playbook. Now that we’ve gotten the sports metaphor out of the way, let’s take a closer look at one of the bandleader’s biggest responsibilities: communicating with band members.
Big Gig Responsibilities
As someone who has played the role of both bandleader and band member, I can tell you that neither position is always going to be easy. Between the lofty organizational demands of keeping the ship afloat and the hustle bustle of normal day-to-day, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks (BookLive can help with that, by the way).
One thing to prioritize is communication with your most essential players, particularly with regard to commitments and expectations.
Ask About The Dates
When you get an offer for a show, it’s easy to check your own availability and decide that you can do it. It’s not, however, always that simple. You’d be wise to check in with the rest of your team, and make sure they don’t have any conflicts.
Personally, I’d rather be asked to do something than to be told that I am expected to do it. For example, what if your guitar player has to attend his sister’s wedding the same day you just booked that gig? If you’re alright with the possibility of employing a substitute for the gig, which happens, then that’s all fine and well, you can go ahead and book the gig without them.
However if they’re irreplaceable, then you just landed yourself in a guitar player pickle!
Even if you think you know they are available, it’s always better to ask your players if they are free for the gig rather than assume. It shows that you value and respect their time, and that makes you a good leader.
Be Tactful in Your Critiques
There are good ways to criticize your band, and there are bad ones.
Saying something like, “John, that was freaking awful you should probably quit!” might not go over so well. On the other hand, being more tasteful in your criticism, and saying “John, I think we should try and go over some of those parts at practice, I think they could be better,” might be more well-received.
Listen, I’m not saying you have to put on the kid gloves all the time – handling criticism receptively and openly is part of being a working adult. I’m just saying you should be smart about how you criticize, and that in close knit teams such as musical groups emotions can run high.
The famously crass James Brown was known to really lay into anyone who so much as rested a millisecond too long. Unfortunately, without James Brown credentials that type of attitude will leave you up crap creek without a band.
Lay Out The Details, Like Twice
This one is particularly crucial.
With any gig there are details that need forwarding, i.e. when and where to show up, what to wear, which esteemed guests to avoid eye contact with for fear of death and what secret password is needed for entry. Ok, maybe not those last two, but you get the point.
These things need to be communicated in advance in order to be abided.
Dude! Tell your band what they need to know and your life will be exponentially better.
Luckily, Booklive organizes those details for you! You can create your setlist, add notes, accept payment, and then some!
It’s a pretty sweet deal.
The life of a bandleader isn’t always as glamorous as it’s cracked up to be. There a bunch of additional stressors and demands that make it seem pretty sweet to be one of the boys or girls, who simply sits back and absolutely owns their craft.
Nevermind, you chose the life of glory! Err… responsibility.
It’s never too late to get your ducks, or your horn section, in a row. Use BookLive to organize all the details of your upcoming gigs, and make sure to get your band on board!
You’ll be much happier once you’ve got those essential details all squared away.
May all your performances be spectacular.