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Tips on How to Become an Effective Band Leader

Updated on May 9, 2019
Tuhin77 profile image

Tuhin is a musician and a former member of the St. James' School Western Band. He is also the winner of the Talent Contest as Band Captain.


Get over the fear of being poor at captaining the rock band and become a respected medal winning machine every band prays for. In a few simple yet crucial tips, you will become much better at giving effective leadership to the band if you are a captain otherwise a potential. Read along and understand how to give leadership to your rock band. This guide is mainly written for bands having five to six members, however, the tips in this guide are universal and applicable for all.

The reaction of the audience is the indicator of a band having a great Captain.
The reaction of the audience is the indicator of a band having a great Captain. | Source

Answer to the Question

To become good at leading a band, there are a few important personality traits and skills you must/must not possess. The traits in a point:


  1. Dedicated
  2. Punctual
  3. Friendly Team Spirit
  4. Mastering an Instrument

Must Not:

  1. Be Arrogant
  2. Be Biased
  3. Be Self Centred

These points are explained below. Read all of them, Santa dropped some bonuses for good readers!

Let's Get To Know The Readers

What musical instrument do you play or want to play?

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[Do] Dedication

If succeeding as a Band Captain was easy then you would not have been needed. If you are willing to give great leadership to your band, then it is crucial that you are dedicated to your band. Never let your life come between you and your band, you must know that your band matters to you way more than your other whims. It will take sacrifice and hard work to reach that goal. Countless hours of practice and mistakes has to be endured before a band does a breakthrough.

You have to be ready to take the phone calls of your band mates and cancel a few tempting dates with your girlfriend. These kind of sacrifices may need getting adjusted to. However if you really love playing music then it will never be boring for you.

Practice makes the man. Work hard on your skills and the results will pay off.
Practice makes the man. Work hard on your skills and the results will pay off. | Source

[Do] Punctuality

Just like the timing of your guitar solo determines how the audience will react, the timing of your turn up at the jamming pad will determine how your band mates see you as. Don't mind spending an hour or two talking to them and learning about each other and the skills, it only leads to a strong bond among the band members and proves the leaders maturity and agenda.

If a band mate turns up late to practice sessions be strict but don't be rude. A mistake can be forgiven, but a bad habit will decrease the productivity. Try to create a band culture for them and create a new identity together.

Let's Get To Know You

Is your band punctual or clumsy and late?

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[Do] Team Spirit

You should be united as a team. Just because your band consists of great individual players does not necessarily mean that you are good as a band. Make sure you talk the same language and are on the same page. Through only a strong bond can a band pave its way towards success and recognition.

When a band mate made a huge mess up on stage, don't make him feel bad. Give him a tap on the back and some slack and afterwards make sure he makes up with a greater performance. Do not envy a band mates popularity, gain his respect by being the leader people follow. Although you may officially be a leader, but it is a team.

You have to make sure everyone in the team are targeting for the same objectives and give them task to be accomplished in an unbiased manner. Bands do appreciate unbiased captains.

[Do] Mastering an Instrument

While everyone appreciates the much needed leadership qualities in you, you can't just be a manager. You never know which role you may have to switch to suddenly, so it is best to learn as many instruments as you can while mastering a few basic instruments such as the keyboard, guitar or drums.

Ask your band to keep switching roles during casual practices to make the band deeper and also play different genres to expand your skills. A band that is flexible in nature usually out performs others.

Most Agreeable Point

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Follow The Rules!

Don't just read the tips and give a nod and a like appreciating my article! The purpose of this article is to make you a better band leader. Think of ways to apply them in your band related moments.

Look at fellow band mates and converse using signs during a performance.
Look at fellow band mates and converse using signs during a performance. | Source

[Don''t] Be Arrogant

Do not be arrogant! Probably one of the most common things we have heard since the time we were kids. Misusing your authority and being rude to your band mates without any justification or consideration will keep you from becoming a good band captain. In order to be appreciated as a band leader, you should be open to changes and treat your band mates with respect and be friendly towards them if you are not already.

Even the technicians of your band play as important of a role as your lead guitarist, so treat them with some respect. They want your band to succeed almost as much as you want it to be. So get along with your fellow fighters and fight together to reach the top instead of fighting each other at the bottom of the table.

[Don't] Be Biased

If I go on about how the biased mentality of our band captains and shot-callers negatively affected our productivity then I certainly you'll mark this point on the screen with a highlighter.

Whatever be it, try not to dislike a band mate because of any personal bias. You are unique because of your tastes and preferences, in simpler words, biases. However, just because you do not like someone personally doesn't mean that they are bad for the team. When your making decisions as a band leader, you must ensure that people should not be discriminated based on personal bias. You are a team for a reason, creating an inner circle in the band destroys the entire meaning. If the band splits or if someone good leaves, it's on you.

Don't Put an "I" in "Team"

Do you know who puts "I" in front of everything? Apple Inc! Well, guess what? You're not Apple Inc, so it's better to not go down that road.

(I am an iPhone user, don't sue me for a joke).

[Don't] Be Self-Centred

A dear friend of Arrogance, your Self-Centred behaviour (also called Narcissism) can increase the chances of your band not finding you as a reliable and trustworthy Captain by 110% (please don't go to the research organisations)!

As the captain of a band, you'll be expected to make sure the team wins. Make sure that it is the team that wins, even if winning means putting someone in the spotlight you wanted to be in. If you can cancel dates for band practice then you certainly have what it takes to step down at times, for the better.

What kind of a Band Captain are you?

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Bonus: A Personal Advice

At times people will envy you for being better than them, they will make you feel responsible for their failures, and the best you can do is not let it get to your head.

Being a Band Captain is both prestigious and exhausting. Whatever happens, share it among the band members. Share winnings with the team, credit each one of your team members for their contribution. Also when it goes down, take responsibility in the loss and make sure it doesn't come to that again.

Try to gain the respect, love and trust of your band mates. Maybe you will have to step down the lead role for a performance, but doing that will send a clear message to your band mates as well as the audience - "The performance delivered to the audience by my band, and the performance of my band mates are more important to me than my personal achievement."

Once you deliver this statement, the band will know that the look for new potential captains is over. You are the Band Captain we all pray to have!

Characteristics of a Great Band Leader

  • The band leader should be composed, professional and polish.
  • The band leader must have solid confidence in his skills as a musician.
  • The band leader must not get intimidated by more successful bands.
  • The band leader must have a goal for the band.
  • The band leader must remember the names of fellow band mates.
  • The band leader must dedicate time to the band.

All The Best!

I hope you have liked the tips I presented to you. Share it with your friends and your band captain, if you are a member. An article on Being a Great Band Mate is coming soon. Go ahead and stun the audience!


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