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Band management --- anything you do to keep things straight?

Eskimo_Joe

Rocker, roller, way out of controller
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,724
I'm part of a six piece band, which rarely has the time to talk face to face. As a result, we do most things via email. This includes:

- Scheduling practices
- Scheduling gigs
- Providing availability
- Songs selection
- Agenda for practice
- Band finances
- Etc

What ends up happening is we have a mountain of emails and confusion about what exactly was decided / scheduled, etc.

Anybody have any practical tips to improve this situation?
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,826
Pick six organized people.

Ha!

Anyway, I've found that no matter what you do, some people will drop the ball and forget rehearsals, gigs, load-in times, etc., no matter how many times you email/text/call/go by their house in person and summarize the pertinent information. Some people view the band as an antidote to that level of organization which is forced upon them at work, and just won't play ball, consciously or subconsciously. Some people are really good about keeping on top of their communications, some people "Don't check email that often..." or what have you. You're almost certainly not going to change how anyone does anything, so the best you can do is figure out what works best for each individual member and then cater your approach for each them, and pay yourself double under the table to make up for it. Kidding!

In a perfect world, everyone has access to and makes use of a shared online calendar and promptly responds to email, but that's rarely if ever the case.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,151
Anybody have any practical tips to improve this situation?
Yeah, been there and solved it.
Sign up for Gmail. (free)
With that you get a free Calendar and Google docs acct.
Google Docs is just like MS Office Suite, but it lives in the cloud on Google's servers and not on your computer. You access it all via your web browser.

I use my free Google Docs/Drive & calendar to set up a gig schedule, spreadsheets, practice schedule, as well as tracking recording/demo session track sheets, etc...

Super simple to do, free and can be shared with unlimited numbers of people.
The hardes thing may be convincing the band members to get a Gmail acct.

Get a Gmail acct. then head over to http://docs.google.com

Here's an overview of Google Docs

Everyone can collaborate on the docs, and it tracks the changes.

So here's my answer to your issues:

- Scheduling practices - Google Calendar shared with all the band members
- Scheduling gigs - Google Docs to create list of venues and track responses
- Providing availability - Google Calendar. Each member can click on a date and in a "Notes" box can put their avail.

- Songs selection - Google Docs spreadsheet.
- Agenda for practice - Google docs list
- Band finances - Google docs spreadsheet.

Good luck!
 

speedemon

Member
Messages
2,623
In addition to the calendar, I would set up a feature that will text their phone 1 day and 1 or 2 hours before rehearsal to get them there. But yeah, there a many where the dedication is rather low. I have flaky and also griping singer stories if anyone would like to read them! lol
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,151
In addition to the calendar, I would set up a feature that will text their phone 1 day and 1 or 2 hours before rehearsal to get them there. But yeah, there a many where the dedication is rather low. I have flaky and also griping singer stories if anyone would like to read them! lol
Yup, once you have it all in Google Calendar you can set it up so it sends text message to your cell phone, or anyone else on the account, to remind you.
That's very, very helpful and eliminates the old "oh, I forgot" excuse.
 

frankencat

Guitarded
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,197
Herding cats.

Some folks are better than others at being organized/low maintenance. I try to deal with those folks who need the least amount of hand holding. Something I have learned over the years is no matter how great a musician someone is, high maintenance people will suck the enjoyment right out of it to the point where I just won't deal with them any more.

Other than that the normal stuff. Good communication and keeping in touch with people are the main things. Something I also try to be flexible about peoples personal lives. Their life is more important than my gig so we cut as much slack as possible for folks and have learned not to stress about it. Life happens. I really want it to be a very enjoyable and pleasurable experience for people to come and play with us, myself included. And I will do a much extra stuff as I have to to make that happen. This works well for us and has allowed us the honor of playing with the same folks in various configurations for 15 0r so years now. Blessed. :)
 
Last edited:

Staticbuster

Member
Messages
2,846
This might not work for all, but it's been great for us. The three of us are big texters, so we all signed up for google+ and got the mobile app for our phones. You get a group messenger as part of the mobile app, and we use that to talk/plan.

Like I said, it might not be for everyone, but is good for us.
 

Eskimo_Joe

Rocker, roller, way out of controller
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,724
Thought I'd report back -- our band had a discussion and we're going to post a huge white board / dry erase board in our practice space to help keep track of key action items, and start having an agenda for practice which allocates time specifically for working on new songs, time for working on songs that still have some opportunities for improvement, and keeping sharp on songs we've nailed in the past.
 

silentbob

Member
Messages
1,302
My current group is using email for most of that now, but we aren't to the gigging stage yet. In the past, I've used a private facebook group. If everyone uses facebook, it's very convenient and keeps everything in one location. Google is a great option with the mail, docs and calendar included.
 

kak1154

Member
Messages
232
I wanted to second the Google Calendar/Docs suggestion. That's what we use. We'll discuss over email, and put whatever we decide on the shared calendar. We have a standing practice every week, so that rarely comes up. Docs keeps track of things like setlists, finances, etc.

The key part is that we all put our blackout dates on the calendar, so when we're booking gigs, we instantly know which dates are out. Saves a ton of back and forth. If we all keep our calendars up to date, it just takes one "Is everyone available on the 15th?" email, we all respond "yes," and we're booked.
 

jrsmiles

Member
Messages
627
We have 7 guys in the group and use Google for everything. We have a main shared calendar and like posted above, set our blackout dates as far in advance as possible so when our manager is booking stuff for us, he knows what to avoid.

You absolutely cannot run a 7 piece band as a democracy so it's usually 2-3 of us that decide schedules then push that out in one email to the group and deal with any scheduling conflicts at that point. Our guys are all low drama and easy to work with so it's been a pleasure doing all this.

We group text and email in between just to stay in touch.
 

nsbucky

Member
Messages
43
Just set up a google calendar, what a great idea. Hopefully it works out, sadly I think it will only be as effective as the amount of use it gets.
 

stratotastic

Senior Member
Messages
7,240
Another docs/calendar guy here. Works great for us. And youtube links for the reference versions of songs.
 

Pax

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,604
Herding cats.

Some folks are better than others at being organized/low maintenance. I try to deal with those folks who need the least amount of hand holding. Something I have learned over the years is no matter how great a musician someone is, high maintenance people will suck the enjoyment right out of it to the point where I just won't deal with them any more.

Other than that the normal stuff. Good communication and keeping in touch with people are the main things. Something I also try to be flexible about peoples personal lives. Their life is more important than my gig so we cut as much slack as possible for folks and have learned not to stress about it. Life happens. I really want it to be a very enjoyable and pleasurable experience for people to come and play with us, myself included. And I will do a much extra stuff as I have to to make that happen. This works well for us and has allowed us the honor of playing with the same folks in various configurations for 15 0r so years now. Blessed. :)
I want to be in your band. Very good points with a realistic perspective.
 




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