When you start a new live band it can be difficult to find an entire group of top level players. Sometimes you won’t be able to find the perfect player for your band. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t give up on the idea of getting your band off the ground. You can really help out an aspiring player as well as your band if you take the time to do some work and develop a player that shows good potential.
The other day I wrote about holding auditions for new band members. One of the challenges you will face when adding a new member is developing their ability to blend with the rest of the band. Remember that everyone grows the more they play in a live band. If you find someone that is showing some good potential that you really like and seem to get along with, give them a chance. Even if they’re not the greatest player in the world you may find someone that will grow and become the best member of the band.
So what can you do to develop a new band member? The first thing you need to do is evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. You need to know what the new members strengths are so you can utilize those right now to help the band out. If you have a player that’s excellent at playing classic rock songs but not so good at playing funk music, you can learn more classic rock songs to play instantly while you work on developing some funk ability.
Playing to a new member’s strengths will give them the confidence they’ll need to survive in the band. As they get more confidence you can begin to throw some more challenging things their way. That’s why you need to evaluate their weaknesses as well so you know what types of challenges to give the new player.
If a player has a slight problem playing country music but is completely lost playing complex rock solos, work on the country music playing first. Throw them some easy ones like “Folsom Prison” and they’ll start to develop their country music playing ability. You can work on the complex rock stuff a little bit at at time.
The biggest factor in developing a new member of your band is to make sure they have a good work ethic. Are they practicing and trying hard to learn the songs? If they are, then that’s a huge step in their development as a player. Make sure you set the example by having regular band practices and new material to work on. Most members will work as hard as they see the rest of the band working. But if your band is lazy most of the time, you can expect the new member to soon be as lazy as the rest of the band.
Set a good example and make sure your band has a good leader. You’ll be able to develop some marginal musicians into great musicians. It’s very satisfying to see a new band member grow into the job and excel with you onstage.