Advice Clinic

How to Choose Your Bandmates

6th May 2021

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One way we’re here for you during your time with us is by providing supportive Mentors who know what it’s like to be at BIMM. Like all our Mentors, Felix Shepherd is here to offer a friendly face and help you as you transition into BIMM life. Here, he tells us his top tips and advice for choosing the right bandmates. 

The people in my band have become some of my best friends; people I trust and value. But it had to start somewhere, right? Choosing the right musicians for your band can be a bit of a nightmare, but I  met all of mine at BIMM. Well, apart from James – we used to play the same shows growing up and he ended up at BIMM).

It’s hard to find musicians who are skilled enough to play for you, but it’s even harder to find people who are 100% committed to making you successful.

Here are 6 tips that might help you select the right musicians to play with and for you:

1) Try Not to Pick Bandmates Based on Only Their Talent

I suggest trying to find the best players you can find who also get along with everyone and you feel comfortable performing with. The better the vibe in the band, the better you will all perform and the longer you will continue to work together.

“More bands fall apart because of personality clashes than because of lack of musical skills.”

It’s much easier to take the right person and help them improve their musical skills than it is to change someone’s personality and more bands fall apart because of personality clashes than because of lack of musical skills.

2) Do Your Research on Each Band Member Ahead of Time

Make sure you look into who you ask to play with you: try to find some videos of them performing live, check out their social media and ask people who know them. Ideally, aim to get an idea of who they are and what they stand for.

3) Find Musicians Who Don’t Have an Ego

This is a huge one for me. As harsh as it may sound, they need to know what their role is, be able to step up when it’s their turn, and blend in and support the band for the rest of the time. The last thing you need is a soloist stepping on other soloists or playing all over the vocals. This can be helped by initially setting boundaries and by showing respect to all the bandmates.

4) Be Sure That Everyone Is Willing to Frequently Rehearse

This is crucial. Often, the best players are involved in multiple bands and projects, so make sure they can take the time to practice with you. You need to ensure that the band stays tight and you can get ready for shows in good time. It also shows that your band members are as committed as you are to putting on an amazing show every time.

5) Know What You Want

Don’t settle for less than and don’t feel pressured to choose a particular bandmate – or even replace them if they are not what you need them to be. Be professional and respectful when this is the case.

6) Find People Who Know How to Be Professional Both On and Off Stage

You are the one who suffers if one of the band members behaves badly at a show or in the studio, as you you’ll be associated with that. Make sure they present themselves in a way you want to be remembered. Your reputation is on the line 24/7.

I hope this helps and gets you a band that works for you! You shouldn’t be worrying about what the band is doing.

BIMM Mentors are just one of our many support systems in place to give advice and help you get the most out of your time at BIMM, no matter who you are. Find out more about Student Support or our new Access and Participation initiatives


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