Performing in a band is without a doubt one of the most fulfilling things you can do as a musician.
Sure, playing by yourself is nice, but there’s something special about coming together with other musicians to make something of your own. It’s not just about original compositions—even simply playing covers can be enjoyable.
Although stable and long-standing, great local bands are exceedingly hard to come by. This is because a band isn’t just a group of talented musicians but is also a finely balanced network of individuals, each with their own strengths and shortcomings. A brilliant musician doesn’t necessarily make a great band member, and a great band member might not necessarily be a gifted musician. So what, aside from technical ability, makes someone a good band member?
As in the case of any team, commitment and reliability come first. From being punctual to not being irresponsible, a good band member is reliable in a number of ways. And a large part of this reliability comes out of commitment. Someone’s far more likely to show up for practice on time if they’re committed to the band, unlike when it’s low on their priority list.
An Appropriately-Sized Ego
This is probably the biggest factor that makes some outstanding musicians horrible band members. An oversized ego can manifest itself in a bunch of ways—sometimes it might involve a member who wants their instrument to be the loudest, while at other times it might involve their inability to accept constructive criticism. Sometimes a song requires one musician to take centre-stage, while at other times under-performing bandmates need to be told the truth. A tiny ego doesn’t help in either situation—so it’s important for a band member’s ego to be neither too small nor too large.
Chemistry in music can take many forms. At a base of it, chemistry with your bandmates simply means getting along with them on a personal level. Practising and performing with other musicians is more fun when those “other musicians” are people whose company you enjoy; and while it isn’t necessary for you to be best friends with each and every one of your bandmates, a basic amount of camaraderie ensures that the jam room is usually a warm environment. Keep in mind that this isn’t only a question of fun because warm environments tend to be more conducive to productivity rather than cold, hostile settings. But chemistry with your bandmates also has to do with your individual musical styles. Band members’ musical styles should ideally complement one another—such as one guitarist in a band being proficient with chords and another being good with lead work. This brings out the best in each band member.
Now, being in a band isn’t easy. That’s why it’s so common for many groups, whether legendary or unheard of, to disintegrate or constantly reshuffle. But it’s nonetheless fulfilling, and is something every musician should at least try their hand at.
Taaqademy is home to a large community of musicians—some students, and others teachers. Not one of our students or teachers who’ve been part of groups would say that being with a band is a cakewalk—but they’d all agree that there’s something magical to it. So while it might ask more of you as a person than playing alone, give it a shot ...and play with a band!