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Working with Paid & Unpaid Musicians -Tips

How to Create a Great Working Environment
Inspire your colleagues by proving you know & love what you’re doing – says Mark De-Lisser.

Mark De-Lisser works with top talent in the music industry – and with choirs filled with volunteer members. He gives us his top tips for both scenarios:

Are you paying your musicians? If so, they just need to come in and do their job.

But, if they are not paid, it’s more of a pressure to get them inspired to show up, let alone learn the material!

If the band are your friends it could be even trickier. Although they will be loyal, they will come with all sorts of personal issues and you can’t just replace them for fear of losing their friendship.Generally, be as respectful as possible, and make them feel important

Generally, be as respectful as possible, and make them feel important. And, if you’re not paying the band, at least buy them dinner!

Keen & Green

Chose the right band members with the right attitude. They must always be keen.

It sometimes pays off if they are green too. The music may not be where you want it, but they will ripen over time.

When working with singers, I could hire the most incredible singers but 9 times out of 10 they are too busy. This causes problems as they won’t be able to commit to every rehearsal and gig.

I’ve recently employed a musical director and passed all the hiring/firing duties over to him. It is up to him to source a guitar player, drummer and bassist. He hands out the music and organizes rehearsals. I’m paying but there is no stress.

Make Friends With The Sound Man

It is so not cool to annoy the sound man as he has the power to make or break your gig. You want them to give you great sound.

It is so not cool to annoy the sound man as he has the power to make or break your gig

Always find out who the Tech Team are, introduce yourself, thank them for their work and applaud them at the end of the gig.

The friendship is short lived, at maybe 6 hours, but you want them to be your best mate. Don’t shout at them when things go wrong, and stay patient.

Last week I did a gig where we waited for 3 hours whilst the whole tech-team sorted things out. At no point did I lose my cool. We sat around, played games and waited. The gig was amazing because the tech-team saw that we were normal people who understood that sometimes things go wrong, and there is pressure in all situations.

When the gig is over, say goodbye to them. Sound men get around and you may see them at another gig!

Mark De-Lisser

Mark De-Lisser is a vocal coach, vocal arranger, choir leader and vocal producer who has worked with some of the top vocal talent in contemporary music today including Jessie J, Olly Murs and Beverly Knight. Mark has taught at many recognized music institutions and held several high profile TV roles. Mark leads the renowned ACM Gospel Choir and Singology community choirs across London. Find out more on Mark’s website.