07 Jun 2021 // 3 minute read
Managing musicians is no easy feat, especially if you hire people you are often friends with. No matter what kind of event you are hiring musicians for there are some dos and don't when it comes to musician management. If you're hiring musicians, technicians or crew to work on an event you are organising you are now a line manager, with this comes great responsibility.
This is one of the most important aspects of managing musicians. They aren't your friends anymore, but your employees, or contractors. You need to be transparent with them and set expectations right at the start. Everyone needs to be treated fairly and with the same amount of respect. You need to make sure the respect is mutual and warn friendly banter might not be suitable whilst working on an event.
At the end of the day, everyone is here to get paid and put food on the table. You need to make sure your musicians know how much they are expected to be paid, when they will be paid, how they will be paid and if there's any extra steps to getting paid, such as right-to-work checks, or requesting invoices. Money is one of the main reasons why people fall out and it can lead to a bad reputation and you could even end up in court.
Stick to your agreements and keep everything in writing to avoid any disputes.
You're the one who is leading the organisation, or band, so provide your musicians with a clear direction. If they're not sure about how to do something (e.g. setup or pack down) spend the time to show them how. This will make it easier for you if you hire them again and make them feel like they're being useful.
Although they're being paid and they should be well trained in their profession, try and be positive and reward your musicians. Did they do a good setup, thank them. Stayed a little later than planned, send a text, or email the next day passing on your thanks. Don’t focus on what went wrong, or what your band isn’t doing but rather on their successes and hard work.
Got a spare 30 minutes before a gig? Take the time to get to your musicians them both on a personal level and a professional level. Where did they study, what other work are they doing. Building a relationship with your musicians is important as they will be more comfortable and relaxed when you hire them for future gigs.
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