[Expert Music Industry Tips] How To Choose The Right Band Members For Your Band
by Tom Hess
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Want to find band members who are incredibly motivated and dedicated to the band's success?
Yes, this can be a big challenge.
It’s hard enough to find musicians who are skilled enough to even play in a band. It’s even harder to find people who are 100% committed to making your band's music career successful.
Here are 7 music industry tips that help you select the right musicians for your band:
Music Industry Tip #1: Don’t Try To Find Band Members Based Only On Musical Skills.
Your band members have different personalities & mindsets that are far more important than their musical abilities. It’s much easier to take the right person and improve their musical skills than it is to change one’s personality.
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(Also, if your band members have the right personality, they will actively be working on their musical skills in their own music career anyway.)
Far more bands fall apart because of personality clashes among band members than because of lack of musical skills.
Here are the most important qualities to look for:
- Congruency of goals - all band members need to be equally committed to success. Equally committed does not mean that everyone has to want to be a rock star.
It means that everyone has to have a clear goal for their music career and these goals need to be congruent among all band members.
This makes it more likely that the band will work as a team to achieve an outcome everyone is committed to.
- Work ethic - It takes a lot of work to make a band successful. The work required goes far beyond the basics of writing, practicing and performing songs. Everyone in the band needs to be willing to put in the effort required to achieve the band’s goals.
- Commitment to success of the band - this means potential band members have to see the band’s goals as congruent with their personal music career goals.
Bonus Tip: The best way to judge someone’s work ethic is by observing what they do instead of listening to what they say. Almost everyone will tell you (when you ask them) that they have work ethic, ambition and commitment, but few people back up their words with actions.
You can find out just how much work ethic, ambition and commitment someone has by covertly testing them (more on this below).
- Additional skills - the more successful you want to make your band, the more skills band members need to have beyond playing their instrument.
Some of these skills include: songwriting skills, stage presence skills and studio experience.
To help you remember what to look for in potential band members, download the free band member selection checklist (no email address is required). Print it out and study it, so you know the best selection criteria to use when searching for musicians to grow your band's success in the music industry.
Music Industry Tip #2: Do Your Research On Potential Band Members Ahead Of Time.
Research any potential band members before you audition them or talk to them about joining your band. Researching can take many forms. For example:
This gives you a great sense of their mindset, background, world view and reputation. Your research also tells you how much value the new member is likely to bring to your band (such as helping your band get more new gigs).
Music Industry Tip #3: Do An Informal Interview With Potential Band Members You Consider Working With.
There is a difference between an audition (where you assess one’s musical skills) and an (informal) interview where you get to know them as a person.
Ask them about their music career background, their goals and challenges they’ve overcome in their life so far.
This conversation tells you if you would want to be around potential band members for long periods of time.
Music Industry Tip #4: (Covertly) Test Potential Band Members.
Plan specific questions to ask potential band members to test their loyalty, commitment, attitude and mindset. Ask the questions covertly, so the potential bandmate doesn't know he/she is being tested!
Here are some examples:
Example 1: Talk about a hypothetical scenario where one’s loyalty is being tested. Ask potential band members what he/she would do in the given scenario.
Example 2: Ask your band member to bring a specific item with them to the interview or audition. This tests their attention to detail and ability to follow directions.
Example 3: Ask a potential band member to do something unexpected during the audition (for example: to improvise a solo they didn’t expect to play) to test how they deal with unexpected pressure.
Question: “Tom Hess, what is the point of testing band members like this?”
Answer: The more successful you want your band to become in the music industry, the more important this test is. Each band member is a key part of the band who can make or break its success.
That said, if you are looking for hobbyist musicians who want to play in a band for fun, this test is not needed.
Note: Most musicians will fail your tests. This is normal, because most musicians don’t have the personality and mindset to make it as serious pros in the music industry.
You might choose to not care about that and let them into your band anyway. However, following this step helps you find true champion members for your band to effectively grow everyone's music career.
Music Industry Tip #5: Weigh The Pros And Cons.
Make a list of all the potential value and risk the new member could bring to your band's potential in the music industry. Here are great questions to ask yourself:
- Is the band member someone you (and the rest of the band) wants to be around with for long periods of time?
- Will the new member help you sell more records and merchandise? (If so, how much more?)
- Will the new member help you get more gigs?
- Will the new member help you get more new fans?
- What music career risks are there about the potential band member?
- What is still unknown about the person?
Use your risk/benefit analysis to make your final decision about accepting the new member.
Music Industry Tip #6: Be Objective, Not Emotional.
Put your band’s goals and priorities above your personal feelings. Anyone you bring into the band must bring legit music industry value for what the band is trying to accomplish.
Remember that your own reputation is attached to the band (and to the musicians who play in your band). Avoid lowering your standards to accept musicians into the band who wil ultimately sabotage your music career and bring the band down.
Music Industry Tip #7: Become The Person You Want To Attract Into Your Band.
The best way to attract the right musicians for your band is to become the type of musician (and person) you want to attract.
Determine the qualities you want ideal band members to have and develop them within yourself. This is the best way to attract musicians with similar personalities to work with you.
Now that you know how to select the right musicians for your band's success in the music industry, the next step is to learn how to get more gigs and grow your band’s music career quickly.
Download this free music career eGuide on how to book more gigs & become the most successful band in your area.
About Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He trains musicians how to leave their day jobs and build successful fulltime careers in the music industry.
Build a massively successful music career by developing a long-term music business plan.
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