September 13, 2011

Building the band

When musicians build a band, how do they find great talent? How do they find a group of people who resonate with the work they do? How do they find others who also share in their love for great music?

Probably by hanging out with other musicians and listening to a lot of great music. And truth be told, probably listening to a lot of crappy music as well.

Sure, there may be some bands that have been formed because some friends were hanging out and decided to bang on some drums and pick up some guitars, but I have a feeling most of the best bands have been formed by talented people coming together to achieve a common mission.

Of course, the mission may not always be a noble one. It might be just coming together to become big time rock stars. Regardless, they are coming together to push through as a team, doing the hard work necessary to achieve a common objective.

Finding the right people to join your team and to help you achieve the mission is hard work.

Here are some fundamentally important tips for building a great band:
  1. Know what it is you want to achieve and communicate the message clearly. In other words, know your mission. This is critically important.
  2. Hang out where others who share your passion hang out.
  3. Find others who inherently want to achieve the same objective as you. Achieving the mission is less difficult if you are able to find people who want to achieve the same objectives, while it is more difficult if you have to spend a lot of time convincing people who don't share your mission that it is one worth pursuing.
  4. Find others who are willing to work as hard as you to see this thing through. This might mean staying up all night to practice your art together (even when the neighbors call the police), and then getting up early to hit the pavement to reach the world.
  5. Find people who will help you to be the best you that you can be. When you feel like sleeping, they will push you through. When you feel like giving up in the last 20%, they will lift you up and carry you across the line. Of course, you need to be there to push them too. It works both ways.
  6. Find people who fill in the gaps. Each of us have unique gifts, talents, and strengths, so it is best to play to your strengths, manage to your weaknesses, and allow others to do the same. 
  7. Find teachers. These people will inspire others to want to learn to play better and to become better professionals. The best part is they teach for the love of the art, and because they love seeing other people grow. They realize they have been given a gift, and understand it is not theirs to horde away like a miser, but instead, something to be shared with the world.
  8. Find real learners. No one has all of the answers, and to become a true artist, you need to listen, watch, and learn from others. It should be noted, a lot of learning comes from practicing your art. A real musician knows she or he is responsible for developing their own sound, and because of this, practices even when the band is not formally practicing together. 
If you have a mission you need to accomplish, consider building a band. Going it alone is hard work, and it is more fun to have a group of friends who share in your mission and are willing to put in the hard work to make it happen.

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