Teaching/Instructing New Members

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Piggy8692, Apr 15, 2014.


  1. Piggy8692

    Piggy8692

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Location:
    Northern Utah
    How would you go about doing this? Would you even consider this? I can't imagine that this is something new or unheard of. I know I owe a lot to some members of some of my previous bands as they showed me the ropes.

    I understand that I can't make anyone do something that they don't want to, but maybe I can find motivation for them.

    What are some tips or tricks to get a new member "up to speed" musically?
     
  2. BayStateBass

    BayStateBass

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Location:
    Central Massachusetts
    Hmm. Tough. The greatest mentor I had was the singer/rhythm player in the country band I played in for quite a while. When I was hired he was against it because I was a rock player and it showed, and I was pretty green as a bassist, having come out of failed bands or garage bands. But he took the time to mentor me about the fine art of knowing "when not to play", and dynamics plus accents. To this day we are pretty close and I respect him a lot.

    The best thing to have is patience. We all start somewhere and the lessons we learn from the more experienced are invaluable. First off, you have to determine if the person is workable. Are they willing to take input and suggestions? Or do they already know it all? If they are unwilling to take suggestions you're done already. But....if they want to learn and listen, then you could make an impression that could last a lifetime.

    For me, I went through the "tough love" scenario. Terry was unrelenting and critical. But he knew his stuff and over the span of months he softened. Once he realized that, weekly, I was making changes and listening to his advice, he became more of a mentor and less of an adversary. And I have him to thank for making me a better player and bandmate. Again, it was the combination of his patience and my hunger for his knowledge that made the situation work. Over time, we found that even though we were separated by decades in age, we developed a respect for each other. He was the one who encouraged me the most and supported my new rock band.

    Patience. And make suggestions. Be willing to muster through some hard-headedness and the person being resistant to suggestions, at first. When you are playing with greenies, you have the opportunity to make a lasting impression and pass on what you know about music. It's truly awesome and I know I would not be the player I am now without that experience. But I'm sure it was frustrating for him at times, although he always said I had a "spark" he hadn't seen in a long time. For as long as I'm playing music, I will always owe a portion of my education the guy who cut his teeth in smoky bars for 30 years. That kind of education is a gift.
     
  3. randyripoff

    randyripoff

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    Assuming you're talking about functioning in general, a lot of the skills required to be a good band member aren't really music-related, but more of the every day things. Respect people by showing up on time, do your practicing outside of rehearsal, be reasonably courteous to everyone around you, give fair warning if you need to skip a rehersal or gig, etc.

    The music side is a little tougher. If they're green or unfamiliar with the style you're playing, ask them to listen to that type of music. Ask them to analyze the parts and figure out what works, and what doesn't.

    Also, don't coddle them. Make it a sink or swim thing with the music. The ones that are worth keeping will rise to the challenge. I recall in college when I was "drafted" into the jazz band. I'd been playing in the bedroom for a few years at that point, but I'd never played jazz and I'd never sight-read, and I'd certainly never been the anchor of the band. Suddenly I was thrust into a situation where I had to do all three. It definitely made me a better musician, and made me understand how much I had to work to become better.

    You might ask this in the General Instruction forum. You may get more focused responses.
     

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