3 Important Tips For Band Members

Sep 04, 2021

You might be in a band or plan on being in a band someday. You might already be collaborating with others, or you might plan to co-write with others in the future.

In this post, we’re going to talk about 3 important tips for members of a band. 


Tip 1: Know Your Role Within The Band

Everyone has a role in a band, and it can help avoid toxicity if you know what it is. 

First, your skills and talents don’t entitle you to a role.

If a band needs another guitarist, you aren’t entitled to become the new lead singer just because you think you’re a better vocalist than they are.

If you decide to be the new drummer for a metal band, you shouldn’t be pushing them to start doing country music.

There is a big difference between the guitarist that helped found the band 10 years ago and the new guitarist a band just added.

That first member is a core part of the band. They might even be a part of the songwriting process. Maybe you’ll get to be involved in that process as well, but you shouldn’t burst through the door and try to change the band. 

And, again, this says nothing about your skills and talents. 

If I joined a band as a pianist, I’d understand that my skills in songwriting and singing don’t entitle me to a role involving those skills. The band needed a pianist, that’s what they got me for, and that’s what I’m there to do.

In my church band, I understand my role. It’s a complementary one. They already had guitarists, pianists and singers. They don’t need me to sing. Most of the time they don’t need me for piano. I understand and embrace that.

In fact, I’m happy about it. I’m used to being the singer-songwriter-pianist-guitarist (aka, the “everything but drums guy” basically). So it’s pretty nice to have the tiny pressure of a second acoustic guitarist. 

Know your role. 


Tip 2: Your Obligation Is NOT To Play The Songs, It’s To KNOW The Songs

You might say “What is the difference? Do you mean I need to memorize the songs and not use sheet music on stage or for recording?”. 

While that should also be the case, that’s not what I’m talking about here.

This is more than just knowing the music. Knowing the chords and parts is obviously important, but you should be going several steps farther than that.

How do you know a song well enough to help arrange if you don’t even know what the song is about?

You have no business writing a guitar solo for a song whose background and story you don’t know.

If you’re playing a song that your lead singer wrote and don’t even know the story behind the song, you’re not doing your job.

You can’t serve the songs well if you don’t know them. And you don’t know a song just because you can sing along with the chorus and know what chords to play.

As a band, you should spend time discussing songs from a non-technical standpoint. Talk about what the song means, what the story behind the song is, and what specific meaning the song has for each of you.

This will help you form a deeper connection with the music you’re playing. You’ll be more connected to the music you play to connect with your listeners.


Tip 3: Everyone’s Job Is The Same For Every Song: Serve The Song In The Best Way You Can

This isn’t about  you. 

Whether you are the diva guitarist, drummer who just wants to do a song in 15/9 time, or the singer who thinks they could win American Idol every year, this isn’t about you.

It’s about the songs.

I don’t mean you shouldn’t care about each other, nor do I mean you don’t matter.

If everyone is focused on serving the song best, there will be less division and more unity. 

If you’re thinking about how you can get your next guitar solo, you’re doing it wrong.

If you’re thinking about how you can have more fun playing the drums for a love ballad, you’re doing it wrong.

If you all are focused on what is best for the song, you’re all trying for the same goal. 

If you’re all focused on what is best for yourselves, you’re all selfishly trying to achieve different goals.

At the end of the day, a band’s job is really to get out of the way of the song to let the song connect with the listener.

Sure, you should have fun. And, yes, it’s good to try to make it as enjoyable for everyone as you can.

But, when it comes to a performance and recording, you all have to agree to do what is best for the song.

If a song is best served by the drummer not coming in until the final chorus, so be it.

If a song is best served to be purely instrumental, so be it.

If a song should have 2 acoustic guitars and the lead guitarist needs to put away his electric guitar and distortion pedal, so be it.

Don’t try to serve the diva of the group, serve the song. If someone is too diva to get behind the notion of serving the music, it’s time to let them go.

The question you should all be asking is “what can I do to make this song shine?” not “how can I adjust this song to make me shine?”

Which tip stands out to you the most? Let us know in the comments below!

Start Songwriting right now...

Get my free guide on 10 different ways to start writing a song!