Creative tension has its moments but forging cohesive relationships with band mates is the best way to get creative work done. Amid the constant pressures of trying to build an audience, and attract A&R teams, bands can sometimes fall out of sync with band members turning on each other. The more you do to establish a strong relationship with your collaborators, the better poised you will be to work through the roadblocks and big wins and stay true to your creative essence. Whether you just formed your band or you’ve been playing together for years, these tips will help you establish strong relationships with your band mates that will lead to a more healthy and productive working relationship. Building better relationships with Your Band will lead to longevity and true happiness despite the unbelievably tough times that every band experiences while touring on the road!
“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
When it comes to your music career, your goals need to be realistic and specific. You should be able to quantifiably measure their success. For them to be achievable for you as an artist, you need to be able to give it a set time period for it to be accomplished by and follow the necessary steps to keep the trajectory going. Always write down your goals. Once they’re written down, you can look back at them whenever you start to feel lost and get right back on track. For some people it can be hard to come up with clear and concise goals as a group. One good way to simplify the task of setting goals as a group is to stick to the S.M.A.R.T method. Created in 1981 by George T. Doran, S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that helps you create specific criteria for your goals to help improve the chances of their success.
What does it stand for?
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timed
Following this method can help create realistic goals within a quantifiable timeline while identifying where all members can contribute to the effort. For further tips and techniques of goal setting related directly to bands, this article from CyberprMusic has some great pointers.
Define a Workflow that Works for Everyone
Creativity should not equate to or create chaos. A well-organized plan of execution is paramount to any creative project, as well as allowing oneself the freedom to brainstorm openly. But often, when trying to create a project as a team or band, it’s easy to get stuck on insignificant, trivial details along the way, only to watch the initial inspiration dwindle in the hands of frustration. Workflow describes the efficiency of that process and can help you stay focused on the goals. Optimal workflow would essentially mean that the team is able to get songs done within a set time, stay inspired and motivated throughout the process and also keep frustrations and setbacks to a minimum. Some people know how to find the workflow groove and avoid distractions, and others may struggle to define what their most effective workflow is and how to strengthen it. Some band members may be naturally stronger in the workflow production facet. If that’s the case, it may be helpful to check in with other band mates that might struggle with staying on task. If that sounds familiar be sure to read this great article from Band Barracks that’s full of practical and simple methods to increase workflow productivity.
Set Clear and Healthy Boundaries
Creating healthy boundaries is empowering and necessary. Unhealthy boundaries, or a lack of boundaries, can lead to an unbalanced relationship which could lead to resentment and unnecessary challenges. On the contrary, having boundaries that are too rigid can lead to isolation, like living in a locked-up castle surrounded by a mote. No one can get in, and you can’t get out. It’s important to learn how to set and also respect others’ boundaries. One way to begin the process of identifying and setting boundaries in the context of being a band member is to identify what it means to you to be a good band member. Once you can carve out some of those values, naming and setting your boundaries (and respecting others boundaries), will come more fluidly. As an example of what makes a good band mate, check out these 14 Rules for Being a Good Bandmate by SonicBirds and see where you agree. Learning to set boundaries can be tricky when you first start, but learning to do so can be beneficial in all relationships in your life. A good place to start learning about how to set boundaries is How To Set Healthy Boundaries In All Areas Of Your Life via Life Goals Co.
Hold Band Meetings to Discuss External Opportunities and Challenges
You’ve heard it before, “it’s called the music business for a reason,” and one business practice that will help you meet your music career goals is holding effective band meetings. If you’ve seen Metallica’s documentary, Some Kind of Monster you’ve seen one of the many examples of the deterioration of a band’s inner-workings when meetings aren’t effective and inspired. You might jam with the band every week, or even be best mates, so it makes sense that you assume you can discuss any topic every time you’re together. But it’s easy to get sidetracked, misunderstand peoples opinions or forget crucial points that you’ve discussed. One great place to start a meeting could be discussing the topics outlined within this article. Are the band’s goals clearly written down, are boundaries set, is there a balanced workflow happening? More great advice about how to create and engage in effective meetings is right here in How to Run Effective Meetings, and Thrive by Atlassian.
Spend Time Together
Just like any important relationship in one’s life, spending quality time with people in our lives can lead to better connections and understanding. Crafting a piece of music between a group of artists with different tastes and perspectives is complicated enough as it is. So of course, keeping your relationship with your bandmates positive is an important element of a band’s success. Bandmates don’t always have to be best friends, that’s unrealistic in some cases. However, if you put in some effort to nurture your relationships on a social level, the band will reap the rewards in the form of better cohesion. Whether you go out for drinks, check out other bands together, or go for a hike, spending time with your bandmates will strengthen your bond and ultimately benefit your music quality. For further insight on the importance of connection in creative relationships, a great place to start is by reading Relationship advice for creative duos, via Digiday.
Sometimes knowing what not to do in a band is just as important as knowing what to do when it comes to building better relationships with Your Band!