One of the most exciting aspects of music is being in a band. It’s a way to collaborate with other musicians, play shows, record, and be part of a bigger musical idea. A band is a kind of relationship. You need to treat it as such and take care of it. There are diplomatic ways to deal with disagreements within a band. Respect your band members and don’t disrespect them. These are five things that you shouldn’t say to your bandmates. Here’s what to say instead.
1. “You are playing it wrong.”
We get how frustrating it is when a member of your band doesn’t know the right way to make changes. It can be frustrating when you have a perfect idea of the song’s sound but someone else is causing problems. It happens. It happens. It’s not okay to make a mistake, but there’s no right or wrong time.
Ask yourself if you are being wrongly played by someone. Maybe your bandmate believes that the way they have chosen to play the section is better for the song. If the mistake is obvious, such as playing in the wrong key, ask yourself: “Is my friend aware of it?” Your bandmate may know that a mistake was made, and feel bad about it. Do not be a jerk or get in trouble.
What should you say instead? “Hey, I noticed that you were playing it like section X. It sounds different from what I remember.” What did you do to it?
2. “Here, I’ll show you!”
This is something that many of us have done before. However, it is not a good idea. Unless your bandmate asks you, “Can I show you what you’re talking?” If your bandmate hands you an instrument, don’t tell them how to play it. While we understand your best intentions for the song, you run the risk of ridiculing your bandmate. A band’s purpose is collaboration. The point of a band is collaboration. You shouldn’t tell your drummer to stop trying to find the right swing beat. Get ideas from others and start a conversation. If you are asked to share your ideas, be respectful and let the other person know. But don’t dismiss them.
How to replace it: Tell me your thoughts about this song. We are getting closer to the right sound and I want to continue exploring.
3. “You’re replaceable”
It is downright pompous but it is just how music works. We understand that if another member of the band isn’t keeping up, like missing practice or showing up at shows drunk, we may need them to be replaced. It’s not acceptable to degrade someone in this way . You should also remind band members that they are replaceable . True, most musicians can be replaced if they are not available. However, each musician contributes their own unique sound to the music. Respect your bandmate when you reach a difficult point in the band’s history. Your bandmate sacrificed time to help you grow the band and play music with us. Even though your bandmate’s behavior or actions might have been out of control, you don’t need to let it get in the way of you replacing him or her with someone more suitable. Let your problems and reasons be known. Then, move on with respect.
How to replace it: “We have noticed a shift in your commitment to the band. We appreciate your talent and commitment, but we aren’t sure we all share the same vision. Is all right with you?
4. “It’s impossible for me to make it work because [insert lame excuse]
Music and practice are integral parts of any band’s musical and personal growth. Practice is time that you invest in your music and your relationships with your bandmates. It doesn’t matter if there’s no upcoming concert or session in the studio, it’s important to practice with your band often. If one person makes lame excuses for why they can’t attend, such as “I’m going to see a movie with my girlfriend,” or “I won’t practice at home,” it creates a false impression of importance among the band. Everyone needs to take a day off. However, making excuses for why they can’t come, like “I’m seeing a movie with my girlfriend,” or “I’m too tired” doesn’t convey commitment. Bandmates want to know that everyone is committed to creating the best music and having fun.
What to substitute: “Unfortunately I will not be able make it to practice next Wednesday due to another important commitment. I wanted to let your know so that we can possibly reschedule at another time.
5. “I didn’t rehearse”
It is just as bad as missing band practice. It is equally important to practice songs with your band as well as solo. Don’t wait for the next band practice to master a difficult 7/8 rhythm in your band’s song. You can take it home and master it before you go to the next rehearsal. Sometimes musicians build their identity around their band and feel uncomfortable playing outside of it. It’s important to practice in your own time to become the best musician possible, whether you’re practicing for your current band or for your future career as a solo artist.
What should I say instead? “This section was difficult, but after practicing it alone, I feel I have it down to a science. What do you think?
Respect and communication are the two most important keys to a band’s interpersonal success. Your ego and lack of dedication should not bring down the band. Respect, honesty, and commitment are all important.