Regardless of if you’re a solo artist or in a band, there will inevitably be a time when you’re going to want to, or even need to, collaborate with others in your songwriting. It might be another instrumentalist, vocalist, producer – maybe even a poet or a composer. Today I want to talk about the benefits of collaborating when writing music, and talk about being in a band.
Should You Join a Band?
I’ll just come right out and say it, yes you should join a band (or ensemble depending on your genre) if you’re a musician who’s looking to write and perform. Even if you want to do your own solo project, you should do it. No one ever said that you can’t do both!
There are a couple of reasons why I believe this:
No human is an island, and while I know some incredible solo artists who do manage to succeed all by themselves, take it from someone who does everything herself, it’s a helluva lot of work. It takes a _lot_ of time, money, and creative energy to write, record, mix, master, print, market, design, practice, produce a live show, land a gig, design more, market more, update social media, design even more, market even more, practice again, perform, produce videos… did I mention market? Oh, and of course make a living and a have a private life somewhere in there, too.
Okay so if that didn’t exhaust you, then you’ll probably be fine. But if it did, then that alone should be enough of a reason to consider collaborating. All that work can be delegated amongst members ahead of time, saving everyone a lot of headache, sanity, and even money.
2) Creative Growth
Working creatively with others expands your repertoire. Out of all the bands and groups that I’ve joined over the years I think I learned the most from the ones that did completely different music from what I generally write, and it’s influenced my music and inspirations in, what I think at least, are beneficial ways. I write angsty electro-pop-industrial, but I have been a part of classical choirs, showtune groups, pop groups, metal groups, and some other genres, too.
To be fair, I have a very broad taste in music so it’s easy for me to mix it up. In fact, I really like to try new styles. But even if you’re a die-hard metalhead who can’t stand pop it’s worth trying to write at least one pop song in your life just to challenge yourself, even if only to reaffirm your detest. I bet you’d be surprised at what you can take back with you from genre to genre to create something really fresh.
3) Objective Feedback
Nothing ever happens in a vacuum, and it’s easy to get stuck when you’re too close to something. Things like Writer’s Block and repetition are best destroyed by taking your mind to something completely different, and having an objective ear to bounce ideas off of is a fast and fun way to do it.
This can even apply to any of your solo work, outside of a band context – share a work in progress with a few trusted friends or collaborators and get some feedback. Different people interpret things differently, so if you’re trying to tell a story or give a specific message to others through your music or art, then you’ll have to run it by a few people before calling it “done” to make sure it’s actually saying what you want it to say.