Pro Tip #2: Learn your band members love language

“Great Job Man”… for some, the most important thing you could ever say. More powerful than money, gifts, or acts. Why? Because these folks respond to “words of affirmation”.

Admittedly, this is what drives me and I think it probably drives most musicians. At the end of the night, I’m not thinking about money, what’s for breakfast..etc. I’m wondering if I made an impact with the music I played and if folks had a good time. The measure of success for me is someone coming up and saying “harlow, that was awesome” (or something similar).

So, let’s dive in.Hey, we’re all humans and we have feelings (most of us). Did you know your attitude and response towards other members will greatly impact your bands health and ability? Yeah, I know this because I’m the worst at times and have seen the impacts.

If you’ve not heard of the 5 love languages, let’s discuss for just a moment. I read this book many years ago and it’s written by Dr. Gary Chapman. Yes, it’s meant for marriages or relationships but isn’t that kinda like a band?Even if you don’t apply it to a band, this is real deal stuff that homeboy wrote about and can apply to your life, your relationships, family..etc. so get the book or read more about it online.

So, here are the 5 love languages:

1. Words of affirmation
2. Gifts
3. Acts of Service
4. Quality time
5. Physical touch

ok, i realize most of you are already saying, hell no, I don’t want #5 with my bandmates LOL… so let’s talk 1, 2, 3, and 4.

1. Words of affirmation. Again, to me, I believe this is a primary language for musicians. Why? Because doing music is not easy, it’s a lifelong commitment with years and years of practice, hard work, failure, struggle, and ups and downs. When those beautiful “words of affirmation” happen, it seems to make the effort worth it. Point is, take time to recognize the efforts of your band members and the hard work they’ve have put in. They are likely going to work even harder because after all “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. #BOOM. That’s some Teddy Roosevelt / John Maxwell in your face.

2. Gifts. The book talks about marriage aspects such as giving tangible property (flowers, necklace..etc). However, let’s consider “gifts” being money in the band lane. Some of your members are driven more by the dollar or items than anything else. Hey, that’s understandable and if that’s the language they speak, find ways to encourage them so all of you can have the rewards of gifts from your ultimate performance. Maybe buy them a drink at the next gig because they rocked someone’s face.

3. Acts of service. “Hey man, thanks for helping me with my air conditioner” as said by me on multiple occasions to our drummer who is an AC guy. Some folks respond to receiving acts of kindness or service. In doing so, you are building a trust outside the band environment and a long-lasting friendship. If your member is one who responds to acts of service, it doesn’t take much to build a bond. Simple things like helping members setup their gear is a great start.

4. Quality Time. A band that plays together stays together… or something like that. I’ve been in many bands and 1000% of the time, bands who can spend time together last longer, have more fun, and usually even sound better. Some of your members may just want to hang out once in a while, outside of rocking peoples faces. How simple is that? and the reward is great.

5. Physical Touch. Ok, I’ll address it. Some drummers like to stroke and touch other members. Just tell them no. Setup your “no zones” and spray them with vinegar. LOL

Bottom line, each of us are different. It’s what magically makes a band great, the yin and yang, push and pull..etc. All that said, we all want respect and to be loved and feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. Knowing others love languages and your own can greatly reduce problems and build a stronger and more effective band. Rock on.

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