Posted: Jun 10, 2019
Category: The Musician Business
**Guest post written by Sophie D’Orléans, singer and keyboard player for The Sophistocrats (Canadian Smooth Jazz band).
"Is it possible to keep a band together at a distance? Prepare yourself ahead of time and the distance might even benefit you. After spending 3 years and 4000km away from home, I wanted to move back to my hometown. I left my mountainous college town knowing that all my musical connections would be very far, yet it was what I needed to do for my personal growth. Trying to keep a ‘band’ together at a distance has been challenging in ways I didn’t suspect, while other difficulties I had predicted never happened.
Here is what I learned:
Keep in touch with your bandmates, ask how they’re doing once in a while, find out what they’ve been up to, and how their life is going. You’ll be maintaining a great friendship and you’ll be more aware of how their lives and priorities are changing.
Taking initiative to make plans for the band, while consulting with everyone to confirm that they’re available first, obviously. Write songs for the band, show them to the others, get everyone hyped to play some shows again and take responsibility for booking a few nights. Create opportunities for you all to meet up and play.
Since the band isn’t practicing every week, it’ll be hard to stay motivated. If you can find funding for your projects, it’ll make it more enticing and worthwhile for everyone. It’ll create a concrete goal to attain.
People move on with their lives, they get married, they go on trips, they have children, they have other life projects. You might have to find replacement members for various legs of tours. If you can’t make it to a show, try to help find someone to fill your shoes!
The long distance thing can work. It’s our second year at a distance and we’re still going strong, planning a music video release and a summer tour. The whole band has stayed motivated and has put in the effort; plus we’ve doubled up on contacts along the way! Keep in mind it’s hard to put on the image of a “band” while you’re apart (unless all of the members chip into the social media separately, but why would I ask my friends to spend MORE time on their phones?). We’ve had a blast whenever we spend time together and that’s what matters.
If want to go on a 6 month trip, try an internship or something else that is fun for your personal growth. Do it! You can still make the band happen. If you’re moving across the city or the country for an indefinite amount of time, then maybe it’s time for you to consider finding new bandmates, create a solo project or hire studio and live musicians. Keep in mind that a band is like a romantic relationship, if you don’t plan a shared future, then it’s likely things will crumble."
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