How to Bring Your Band Closer Together

Posted by Jesse Sterling Harrison on Jun 14, 2016 08:00 AM

TheGuessWho.jpgImage via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Like a champion basketball team, your band is a collection of strong personalities that functions best when everyone is invested in one another’s success. That’s right, you should be friends! While some employers discourage strong workplace friendships, the arts demand them.

You’ll never make it through long road trips, onstage gear malfunctions, or the obligatory disagreements about individual songs if the backbone of friendship isn’t there to support you. Whether you’re integrating a new member, starting a new group, or just seeking to shore up the relationships in your band to keep things fun, here are a few ways to build your team spirit.

1. Eat and drink together

There’s something primal about the intersection of food, drink, and music. Humans have been using this recipe to build community for thousands of years. You already have the music. Eating and drinking together is part of the magic that creates strong bonds of friendship in groups of people.

If someone in the group knows his or her way around a kitchen or knows how to make drinks like beer and hard cider, all the better. Home-cooked meals and home-brewed drinks are best. Making the time and sitting down together is a whole lot better than a takeout meal munched in a van parked at a fast food joint, and will make for better conversation, too.

2. Go to shows together

Musicians who play live should go see music live. How else will you get inspired or get new ideas for your own show? You’ll also be building good karma when you check out other bands, especially when you’re supporting local acts. Make these outings a band affair. You can network as a group while you’re bonding as a band.

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3. Listen to recordings of your shows

It doesn’t take much to grab a mix off the board and get a recording of your show. A cell phone propped up in the back of the room is probably all you need. For myriad reasons, your band should get in the habit of recording every show possible. (If you want, you can leak the good ones to your fans so they start passing bootlegs around.)

You’ll also have a chance to critically evaluate your performance as a group, cheer one another’s great moments, gently point out mistakes, and hear little errors for the first time. On the road when traveling to another show is a great time to do this, but it’s even better if you can sit in a bandmate’s living room and check yourselves out without road noise in the background.

4. Develop a non-musical band activity

Maybe someone in the band is a huge hockey fan. Maybe somebody loves hitting the slot machines, backpacking, or launching model rockets. Finding a band activity you can all get into, whether it's shooting hoops or watching The Walking Dead, is a huge stress-reducer and a great bonding activity. It's even better if it's a game, something that you can do on the road and at mealtimes.

Check out card games, dice games, or games that can be played just by talking. They're great for killing time and having fun while driving, waiting backstage, or waiting for the doorman to give you your money. 

5. Do improv exercises together

These theater games are often used as icebreakers when getting groups of students together, but they also work well to build a creative bond and get people to listen to one another. Best of all, they're almost always hilarious. You've seen some of these games played by improv pros on shows like Whose Line is It Anyway? Try them yourself using this list. They're addictively fun and awesome team builders.


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Jesse Sterling Harrison is an author, recording artist, and part-time farmer. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, three daughters, and a herd of ducks.

Topics: Musician Life


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