Overall Rating: 4.0 (of 5)
Rating Votes %
0 0 ||
1 100 ||
0 0 ||
0 0 ||
0 0 ||
From 1 vote total
Rate This Article
Rate from 1 (poor) to 5 (best)

Finding Your Niche, Part 1

Fitting In with the Other Players in your Band

After all of the hours in your basement or bedroom practicing - now it's finally time to surface into the real world and join a band. So you do - and then you realize that the people you are playing with each have their own individual personalities, skills, dreams, ambitions, work habits, personal hygiene habits, etc... How do you make things work?

Once you come to an agreement of what kind of music you're going to play and how serious you're going to be about it (many bands never get past this point), you need figure out how you're going to deal with each other in the long run. Maybe I'm weird (O.K. - I probably am), but it helps me to use metaphors, similes, and other various grammatical tools to help me to learn and remember ideas. Following that train of thought, here are three different ways to think about your band and how you relate to each other:

  • Like A House (the relationship side)
    Each room (and band member) has it's function. The frontperson is like the Family Room - the place where people spend most of their time. But you still need the Kitchen (to add spice), the Dining Room (to entertain), the Living Room (adds class), etc... You may not like being in the basement all the time, but at least it's always 'cool' down there (groan). For a house to stand and work correctly, it needs a proper foundation - and the foundation of a band needs to be understanding and respect. Nobody likes a prima donna or a crybaby, so it's much better if everyone agrees upon what each person's role is in the band, and what the general expectations are regarding showing up on time, preparation, setup, etc... Don't assume anything - spell it out, and you'll have far fewer misunderstandings. The point - communicate!

  • Like A Story (the image side)
    You and your fellow band members are the 'characters' in the story, no pun intended. Each is responsible for bringing something to the story that helps to make it interesting. It's good to have an overall image that matches, but within that structure, there is room for each person to bring his or her own personality into play. One of the things that helped to make the Beatles so popular is that they had a definite image, but each person had a wildly different personality. That enabled their audience to expand, because no matter what type of person you were, you could probably find one of the members that you could relate with. The point - it's O.K. for you - and everyone else in your band - to be yourselves.

  • Like A Pizza (the musical side)
    If the keys are filling up six slices worth of space on a given tune, there are only so many slices to go around for the rest of the band. In other words, if one instrument is play a very busy part, it's usually a good idea for everyone else to play it simple (especially if their instruments are in the same frequency range). For bass players playing with keyboardists, matching up with what is going on with the keyboardist's left hand is a key issue. Sloppiness happening in the low frequencies will kill a tight groove as fast as the power going out in the pizza parlor! Toppings and spices are also an issue - if everyone is throwing everything they can do in all the time, they won't be any variety, and much of the original flavors will be lost. The point - be a team - make space for each other.

    Next time we'll start to go more in-depth into each individual area. Until then, use your gifts and keep playing bass!

  • Greg Wallace has a Masters in Music, has been leading worship for 11 years, and loves playing bass.