Rest of the band not helping with the songwriting process?
Don’t worry, we’re here to fix that!
Now, I may be wrong but I’ll assume you’re a songwriter!
Being a member of a band can be the best team experience you’ll ever have.
Then again, if it’s organised badly, it can become monotonous (and even depressing).
Some people might not be very good at opening up to others. They might not be confident enough. That doesn’t mean they’re a bad musician…
So from experience, stick with them! Help them to grow. That’s the point behind this blog.
But first, I think it would be good to share the main pros and cons of being the only songwriter in your band…
So here’s the PROS…
Believe it or not, you’re in the best possible role in your band!
The band acknowledge that you’ve written the songs whenever you play them live. So you get your ego boost reward!
With this responsibility, you are almost forced into learning the ins-and-outs of songwriting. Through trial and error you gain perspective on the best ways to write music, what works and what doesn’t. Think of it as professional development!
Being the only songwriter in the band is undoubtedly one of the most difficult roles. It forces you to consider which instruments to use in different sections and, seeing as you’re writing parts for other people, it makes you consider the level of technical ability you’ve got at your disposal.
This experience will turn you into a hell of a songwriter! Which could lead you to this… How Much Can A Songwriter Earn?
Now here’s the CONS…
To be handed 100% of this responsibility isn’t fair on any one member of the group.
It can be very time-consuming to write everybody’s parts on your own.
You may enjoy writing on your instrument but you might not actually have a clue how to write for the others… now what!?
How I Fixed The Issue…
In my experience, I needed to become an encouraging role model for the rest of the band.
I often use other words in place of encouragement, such as “positive manipulation” or “positive reinforcement” because I feel like they’re more appropriate in this scenario.
I know what you’re thinking… “manipulation isn’t nice. That’s not the right word…”
Well, in this case, we’re manipulating the way someone behaves… for the better!
We’re trying to give them the opportunity to come out of their shell or to feel more comfortable when offering any creative thoughts.
For some people, it might go deeper than that. They may just need a friend to talk to them 1-to-1. They might have some really awesome ideas but knowing that those ideas could be rejected could stop them from ever sharing them in the first place. I went through this with a drummer that I used to be in a band with. He used to wait until we were the only two people left after practice and he would say something like “hey man, that section sounded really cool, but what if we did this instead…”.
I would initially think “well, why not say something in practice?” but I realised that they didn’t want to be shot down. He just had a fear of his creativity being rejected. So I told him that I would forward his ideas at the next practices. I did that and the other guys loved the changes. It was great!
I later told the whole band that those ideas weren’t mine. They didn’t seem too surprised that our drummer had come out with these great ideas!
The rejection, the fear, it was all in the his head but this is still a very real issue for some people.
As a member of the same band, it’s our role to help each other out. My continued positive reinforcement helped him to come out of his shell more and more as time went on.
Some of the band’s collective favourite song sections were actually written by him!
I managed to get the entire band on board with writing using the previous method but another option is to jam with people when they’re setting up at practice.
You know… people tend to just play things that come naturally when they’re setting up. When they’re setting up their tones on the amps or doing vocal exercises. It’s fun to jam along with them for a while.
But it’s not just fun for you! It’s fun for everyone.
Most of the time, they’ll just be messing about, playing any old thing. To then add layers to that, turns it into a group effort.
I used to ask the keyboard player what his favourite effects were on his instruments.
When he started to play something, I started jamming along, however I could.
Inadvertently, we were actually improving our ability to improvise by doing this as well!
The rest of the band joined in whenever they wanted. If they weren’t confident enough on the first few attempts, try using method 1 with those members. They must be lacking confidence or fearing making mistakes or looking silly.
It’s helpful to reiterate how much fun being in a band is supposed to be!
My band became quite efficient with getting songs finished. Most of the time, after exercising these methods, getting them involved, we found people were just turning up to practice with ideas ready to share! Ready to Jam!
This leads me quite nicely onto my final point…
“You don’t need a captain in this kind of team.”
I’m very proud of that quote. It was my reply to a question that I was asked in an interview a few years ago. It really resonated with me.
The question was something like “So are you the leader of the band? You write most of the songs sooo……”.
The point behind the quote is that bands do not need leaders.
Of course, sometimes, you find that one member may be more outspoken than the rest.
Another member could be more confident than the rest and another member could be better at writing songs than the others.
Every member can have their own “leading responsibility”.
The member who is outspoken can do most of the talking in interviews… that seems lie the perfect role!
The confident member can book the gigs for the band… They would be better at talking to venues that the shy members.
The member who is best at songwriting can write most of the music… Perfect!
But remember, every member is also completely within their rights to ask for help from time to time.
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