What is Stressful About Being in a Band?

Getting mentally prepared to commit to a band and dealing with all the challenges that come across, is a reality. Today we will look at the factors that bring stress to a musician that’s committed to a musical project and possible solutions that could help you deal with them on your journey.

The main stress in a band is filling up concert venues and selling enough tickets for your shows. You can do promotions and place advertisements, but it’s not necessarily in your own hands.

Other stress factors include conflict and clashing personalities within the band, not finding enough time to practice, and difficulty with not budgeting well enough. These factors can be solved internally.

Playing in a band brings so much joy and rewarding moments, that it’s worth acknowledging the challenges, but thinking of ways to deal with them and find solutions.

Selling your Tickets in Time

So once you have your gig booked, and agreed to sell the 100 minimum tickets, you need to go out and promote your show. For the first gig, it should be easy since all the members bring their friends and family, but after that, it can really become a pain to get rid of them.

I remember walking around the malls and CD shops trying to sell the tickets that I still have left to sell. You will even need to drive to people at night just because they seem interested in attending the gig, or sell them at discounted prices and end up having to pay for the loss yourself.

This is a core challenge for an unknown band to get through the first difficult phase.

My suggestion would be to not book venues for yourself as a band alone but try to perform with 2 or 3 other bands in your genre as well to guarantee ticket sales and share the crowd together.

Only once you have a solid following and perhaps released a few songs plus a video, you should be guaranteed to promote yourself well enough to sell the 100 tickets.

We also loved playing at random Battle of the Bands competitions just because the sound is already there and there’s no one forcing you to bring 100 people in. You also get a chance to perform for the fans of the other bands. Who cares which band wins at the end? It’s about your journey and gaining experience.

I wrote a very insightful article about The Pros and Cons of Music Competition Participation which I would definitely recommend scanning through.

Try to avoid having to sell tickets by yourself. You can also think about appointing a ticket committee out of your fan base to support advertisements and promotions.

Clashing and Conflicting Personalities in the Band

This is a challenge to deal with as an outsider since you don’t want to get involved and neither want to choose sides, but this happens to all the bands.

I wrote an article about Dealing with Conflict in your Band that will help you to solve it in a calm and rational and fair manner so that all the members will feel respected and valued going forward. It’s important to deal with issues at the right time and not wait for it all to explode.

It’s never a good idea to leave a band or to kick someone out. You all worked together on this project and you all deserve to see it grow. Always make sure that you keep the best interest of the band in the middle of the decisions made.

If you are currently dealing with having to let someone in your band go, then read through the post that I wrote about How to Ask a Band Member to Leave. This will offer you some guidelines to get the job done as well as some solutions to potentially not having to pull the trigger.

Not Finding Enough Time to Practice

It is a challenge for all musicians when they start to practice. Each person needs to find the rhythm in their program and get into the routine. It might take about a month at the most to sort it out before it becomes easy and a habit.

The bigger challenge comes in when you have members that work on call. If you have a doctor in your band that needs to be flexible, it can be hard to deal with sudden cancellations and extreme flexibility when it comes close to performances.

If you are becoming frustrated by the ill-discipline of members of your band and you feel like it’s becoming a waste of time, I would recommend that you read the post I wrote about Band Rehearsal Etiquette We All Agree On. This will help you to put some structure and set some realistic goals so everyone can feel that their wishes are being respected.

Not Being Able to Budget Well Enough

Money and expenses are realistic topics and stumbling stones to deal with when you are in a band. The gigs will bring in the bare minimum, sometimes only covering your travel costs. You will have members that have a greater income than others which might be less of an issue, but still, all members deserve to have the same expenses (except on various instrument costs).

Members will have to pay for band room fees, travel costs, instrument maintenance, promotion fees, Merchandise printing, and also buying gear.

Playing in a band is a hobby and should be seen as one until it becomes your main income. Therefore budgeting well becomes a key factor in enjoying your hobby stress-free.

This post was written and posted by De Wet from startingmyband.com on 18.05.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.

Splitting responsibilities up in a band is a recipe for success. Appointing a finance minister should be one of the delegated jobs.

My suggestion would be to have a minister of finance appointed in the band. Someone that will only take care of the band’s income and expenses outside of personal expenses. That person should open a simple savings account and place the money made per show into that account.

Band members should try and travel together to split travelling costs and minimise expenses by also implementing a personal budget.

This method will distinguish between personal expenses and band expenses.

My suggestion for the first 2-3 years would look like this:

Personal expenses

  • Own gear maintenance
  • Travel costs to practice and gigs

Band budget

  • Printing & ordering merchandise
  • Band gear (PA/ mixers related)
  • Music videos
  • Marketing

I would definitely recommend members discuss whether or not each member should pay into the band kitty a few bucks per month just to keep the band account alive and active.

Also, discuss each expense that gets paid from the band account so that the members have a clear overview of what happens with their hard-earned money. It’s also nice when the band takes a break, to pay a small amount to each member to enjoy and feel a profit from what they’ve put in already.

To wrap it up: Each sport has its injuries. Just like each hobby has its expenses. As long as you are aware of it and you can find suitable solutions to overcome these stumbling stones, you will be well away to have a stress-free band experience!

If you’re keen to go from Zero to Hero, don’t miss the article I published about the Steps to Reach your First Paid Gig.

I hope this helps you!!

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts