How to Ask a Band Member to Leave

The time will come when you will feel the need after a long period of time to it’s time to move on and have a change of staff in your band. It is a terrible feeling, especially if you have been considering it for months. Today we are going to go look at all the info you need to ask a band member to leave and not burn down any bridges.

Make sure that all other band members agree. Arrange a band meeting so that it can be done in person. Thank the individual for their valued contribution and sacrifice during this period. Ask the member in which direction they feel the band is going currently. Pull the trigger by explaining that the band feels different and that you believe there’s a better solution for both parties. Give the most important, non-personal, reasons for the exclusion.

Let’s take a look at these steps in a bit more depth. There are plenty of understandable reasons that bands change members. Doing everything you can to avoid the need for a breakup beforehand is definitely worth your while.

When we work with people’s feelings, we should act with empathy and care.

Make Sure That All the Band Members Agree

This might be an issue that comes a long way. Have a meeting with the other members to check how they feel and if they agree on the issue. Once you recognised that the feeling is mutual across the band, think of a few solutions or what could help to solve your problem, instead of cutting a member without discussions or warnings. Remember, open communication will unlock the door to solutions and progress.

If you are currently in this phase, don’t miss the post I wrote about Dealing with Conflict in a Band. It offers you 9 quality steps to reach an agreement with your members where solutions can be found before you decide to take the step of exclusion.

Arrange a Band Meeting in Person

Once you recognized that there’s no other way than to cut the member off and move on, arrange for a meeting with the whole band. A private location works best if you feel that there’s emotion involved in the situation. Perhaps a non-working day where members are refreshed and can think rationally and clearly.

Consider the current period of time for the band. If you have a long list of gigs, it might be a good idea to wait for a calmer time to get the job done, instead of having to rush and perhaps having to pay extra for session musicians to stand in.

Introspection of the Recent Progress

Start by discussing what the band has achieved until now, what you all are proud of and how things have been going lately. Address the aspects that have been holding the band back for the last period and mention the implemented strategies to improve on the challenges.

Asking the Member to Leave

It is important that you can provide proof of intervention before sacking a member. Just sacking a band member that can still fix the things that have gone wrong is anti-productive. In this manner, when the trigger is pulled, it should be expected and mutually agreeable.

Continue the discussion by asking the band if they agree with the stumbling blocks or what their point of view is. Hold the previously agreed band agreements accountable and check if everyone stuck to the band etiquette. It would not be fair to single out one person if others committed the same offence.

Once the above are all in place, it would be safe to carry over the message in a polite and respectable tone, that the band would like to move forward without that member, and that there are advantages and disadvantages for both parties.

Sometimes moving on can have benefits for both the band and its members.

Give the Main Reasons for the Exclusion

If the reasons have not been made clear by now, it is time to do so now. Everyone deserves to hear the truth and understand the reasons for their exclusion.

Be clear about a replacement. Everyone would like to know who will take their place in an environment where they have settled in and put in plenty of work.

Try to keep the bridge intact and try to stay friends afterwards as well. This will be hard at first, but not impossible. There will be a new opportunity raising soon again for him/her.

Finding a New Member for Your Band

In your search for a new member, I would like you to also think about preventing the same situation as before: having to let someone go.

Keep not about what went wrong and what you need to improve on your previous situation.

When you find a new member, have a trial period in place as security for both parties to make sure you are both satisfied with the project and would like to commit long-term.

Make sure you don’t miss the post I wrote about How to Find Committed Band Members. This could guide you to becoming more knowledgeable in finding the right person to join your musical project.

If you have some challenges with distance, then it would be ideal to read my post about Finding Band Members Near You.

To wrap it up, I have 3 questions about self-reflection:

  1. How would you have liked this situation to be handled if you were in the shoes of the discussed member?
  2. What would you like to hear before getting excluded?
  3. Would you have wanted a fair chance to improve on your shortcomings and prove that you are the best fit for this position in your band?

Once you place yourself in the members’ shoes, you can not make any wrong decisions, but be fair and empathetic towards your beloved friends and band members.

Now that the change is made, I would like to wish you good luck on your journey!

On to the next one…

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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