How to manage musicians

Posted on 12th September 2019

Let's discuss the six-million-dollar question “How do you manage pesky musicians?” This is why bands are so hard to form and keep together. The worst thing is, when it's all going really well it can collapse due to internal pressures. Nobody talks about this stuff, let's think about how we can do it effectively and minimise the negativity.

Tip no.1 – understand the band chemistry

Bands tend to form, and it either works organically or it doesn’t. People in business are not keen on that, they invest substantial sums of money and do not want their investment falling to pieces.  Consequently, professionals have become better at understanding the internal politics of teamwork. Therefore, strategies have been developed to better manage teams. Let's start applying these to our bands and musical projects.

Here is a tool to facilitate better teamwork. It's really easy to complete, and it will explain the mechanics behind your band chemistry. Click through to the below link;

This will take you to Dr.Meredith Belbin’s test. The Belbin test has been designed by teamwork researchers. It’s a tool used to analyse your role in a team, both as an individual and a group. It evaluates the combined strengths and weaknesses that holistically affect a team.  It’s an amazing way of taking an objective view of your band. What's more, it’s a little bit of fun, what do you have to lose? Try it out and see what you learn from it. There are lots of tests like these, if you don’t like the Belbin one, try these other links out. Some cost a bit of money however many are free;

Tip no.2 – leadership

 Democracies in bands unfortunately rarely work, it usually leads to mediocrity and a slow pace of work.  This means leadership is required, the trouble is, it usually falls to one or two people. This creates a disproportionate workload and you do not get a medal for it. In fact, a little bit like a politician you often get a lot of flak for working and trying really hard. However, my advice is to accept it, go with it, that's part of the role. If you have chosen it, you need to accept the whole package and crack on with the work. If you are watching this video - the role of the leader is probably yours!

Tip No.3 – learn to deal with difficult situations

You need to be able to deal with difficult situations otherwise it’s just going to slow you down.  If there are band members that are not contributing and treating it like a hobby, it will just hold you back.  You have to be able to grasp the nettle and deal with these things with honesty and integrity. Tell it how it is, rip the plaster off and it’s never as bad as you think it is. Conversely, if it is you who has been fired, take solace in the fact that all the best people get fired at least once at some point, myself included.

This is me signing off and don’t forget that if music has become important, you can study a Degree or Master online or on onsite. The exciting thing is that as these programs are work-based learning, you can make your band, your work or professional activity the focal part of your Degree for Masters. It’s an incredibly exciting time, and I know how hard it is to run these bands and be a professional musician. Why don’t you take that experience put it into a qualification, get the letters after your name, design a portfolio career, gather extra income streams and turn music into a full-time career? Artist power is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading, if you interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your a career as a musician please join us at WateBear HQ for an Open Day or Order a Prospectus
















by Bruce Dickinson
Bruce has had 11 top forty hits and a number 1 album with Little Angels. He’s toured with Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Van Halen, and opened for Guns N’ Roses on their first UK shows. With his group Colour of Noise, he has run a successful Pledge album campaign and he continues to help new bands through curating the Rising Stage at the Ramblin’ Man Fair festival and Underground Music Conference events. Bruce was a founder of the BIMM group of colleges, leaving in 2012 for the Little Angels reunion at Download Festival and UK tour. He has negotiated several university partnerships and written many validated degree courses, with thousands of undergraduates studying those courses still. He holds an MA in Education Management.
View all posts by Bruce Dickinson

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