In the last few days I have had the privileged of performing with 2 different bands in two different cities. In Lagos, I played with the popular Shuga Band and in Abuja I played with the Tamerri Festival House Band. I have often hesitated to accept gigs that require me to play with the house band but there is a lot to be said for the several advantages this experience has.
1). New Musicians Give You A Fresh Perspective
Musicians who are learning your songs for the first time will have their own way of playing them whether you send them the tracks in advance or adamant about them learning the exact arrangements you are used to. Take the opportunity to hear the opinions of new minds and hear what transformations can come from you being flexible. By gaining fresh perspectives and new interpretations of your music, you are automatically equipped with new arrangements and maybe even remixes that you can play in subsequent shows or even turn into an interesting live album.
2). Breathes New Life Into Your Setlist
After doing several shows, musicians tend to stick to a particular order of songs that they know works well for their stamina, the song arrangements and the energy of the crowd. By experimenting with new musicians, the beginnings and endings of songs can inform a different order of songs for your future shows. This therefore changes your setlist and will obviously change how you perform your music. Your future audiences will be able see you in a new light and a fresh concert format will also excite you and lift your spirits.
3). Helps You Practice Leadership
Having a band and scheduling musicians to perform with automatically puts you in a position of leadership – the band members all play a supportive role and you are the frontman of the group. Having opportunities to work with musicians you are not familiar with is a great way to develop this skill.
4). Opportunity To Learn The Language Of Other Musicians
Every musician has a different style, a different music education, a different musical journey, a different way of learning news songs etc. Given the opportunity to perform with a set of new musicians, embrace it because it offers you a chance to better understand how other musicians work, how they learn and it might also give you tips on how to learn songs quicker or more effectively once you’re back with your usual band.
5). You Gain Access To New Musicians
Your own personal band musicians may not always be available and if you’ve done enough gigs, you will know that it is good to have a phonebook of good musicians you can call if your band members cancels at the last minute. When in rehearsal with a new band that you don’t usually play with, keep your eyes and ears open for interesting talent. You never know if your new bass player may be sitting in that room. Be warm, yet professional and get to know them better.
6). You Could Get Recommended For Gigs
Session musicians or band members tend to gig quite a lot because of their versatility. When performing with a new band, there is a likelihood that they are paying as much attention to you as you are to them. If they love your music and your style, they may keep you in mind for gigs that they would like you to collaborate with them on or even offer you a gig that they may not be able to do. It pays to be professional at rehearsals because you never know where your next paycheck is coming from.
7). You Gain Access To New Musicians to record with
Working with new musicians automatically gives you access to talent that you could feature on your songs (as sessions musicians). Every recording is different and all musicians bring something different to the recording process and sound. If you meet a musician you connect and of course is talented, it pays to keep them in mind when recording that next record.
8). You Could Get Recommended For Recording Sessions
Not only does playing with new musicians give you access to future recording partners but also if they like your talent, they could consider you for their own sessions.
9). Your Songs Could Get Spread Far And Wide
If you get an opportunity to play with a band that happen to be a cover band as well, there’s a good chance that if they like your music, they could play it in their own shows. Although there are performance royalty issues involved with this point, there’s never anything wrong with having your music spread by various bands. You never know who could be in their audiences and chances are their gigs are more frequent than yours because they play in bars and restaurants – not just special events.
10). You Gain Access To Each New Members’ Network Of Musicians
Musicians know musicians. Meeting new musicians automatically gives you access to others’ they know. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good network of musicians that you can call on when one disappoints you at the last minute.
11). Respect In The Industry
Being professional always pays off. Working with other musicians especially in a place where you are trying to promote your brand/music can be a huge benefit. Gaining respect from other talented musicians is a plus and if they tell others about your music… that’s an even bigger plus.