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Monday, December 19, 2011

What Is A Professional?

Many younger musicians haven't had a mentor to teach them the ropes of the business, and as a result, their professional demeanor can be lacking. In this excerpt from How To Make Your Band Sound Great (the band improvement book), I describe just what the term "professional" really means.
"In the strictest sense of the word, a “professional” is be someone who makes his living only playing music.  But whether that describes you or you’re a ways away from that, what you really need is to have a professional’s attitude in order to get ahead both on a personal level and with your band. Let’s take a look at the qualities of a professional attitude.

A professional:
  • is always on time.  Time is money and a pro is not only on time, but usually early (as illustrated in many other chapters of this book).  If he’s delayed and won’t arrive at the agreed time, he calls ahead to make sure that everyone is aware, then gives his best estimate when he’ll arrive.
  • is always open to ideas.  Instead of arguing about the value of an idea, a pro simply says, “I haven’t tried that before, but I’m really interest to hear what it sounds like!”  No idea is too crazy to at least consider, because you never know when something that you initially thought was too far out is actually the perfect solution to a problem or addition to a song.
  • is focused only on the music.  When a pro is at a rehearsal, gig or recording session, he’s 100% there and in the moment and focused on giving the best performance she can.  He’s not thinking about  his girlfriend, paying the bills, or the after-gig party.  All his concentration if on the music.
  • is open to criticism or suggestions on how to play something.  A pro doesn’t take any suggestion or criticism personally.  He takes it in the spirit of making the music better.  This is a hard one to uphold, especially if the criticism is coming from someone not as sensitive as you, but it’s the right thing to do.  If someone is being abusive however, it’s OK to say, “I don’t agree with you, and unless you speak to me in a respectful manner, this conversation is over.”
  • presents his ideas in a respectful manner.  He doesn’t say, “I should sing this because your singing sucks.”  He says, “Would you mind if I give it a try just to see how it comes out?”
  • takes responsibility for his mistakes.  A pro immediately owns up to any mistake, oversight, error or blunder and says, “Sorry, it was my fault,” and accepts the consequences.
  • never parties on the job.  As stated back a little bit, a pro is 100% focused on the music at hand.  While a few beers might not constitute a party, it certainly doesn’t help you play better during a rehearsal or gig if your mind isn’t all there.  There’s plenty of time to party later so save it until then.
  • treats his band mates with respect.  A pro treats his fellow musicians as equals and peers and would never intentionally do or say anything to disrespect any of them.
  • treats his road crew, engineers, light man and everyone working for the band with respect.  A pro understands that all the people around him are working to make him sound and look better and they deserve to be treated respectfully as well.
  • treats his audience with respect. A pro understands that he’s there to entertain the audience and without them he’d be playing at home in his bedroom.
If you assume a professional attitude by following the above points, you’ll find that the respect for you will grow, any interpersonal tensions will ease, and band life will suddenly go a lot smoother.

You can read some additional excerpts from How To Make Your Band Sound Great as well as my other books on the excerpts page of my website.

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1 comment:

Gian Nicola Beraldo said...

These should be the "Ten Commandments" of every professionals!!! Very nice!


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