Steve Jobs once said, “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people”. It’s ironic that this would come from a leader who contributed greatly to the creation of technology that arguably gave more control to individuals than to groups- especially as it pertains to music- but that’s a topic for another discussion. Nevertheless, Jobs’ analogy of being in a band and its relation to business is very accurate, and a great argument for joining a band. Of course, the success of your band in the music business will depend on many factors. But what the experience offers as a learning experience for the band members can last a lifetime.
Years ago, before I parlayed years of experience into doing artist development and music production, I was in many bands. There are countless musical reasons why playing in a band will help develop your talent; performing live, interacting with an audience, developing your sense of rhythm, pitch, and syncopation, and many others. But there are some other things that you can use in your life, even if your band doesn’t have a career like the Beatles or U2. These are five things that you can learn if you’re paying attention to the non music related interactions- skills that will serve you well in a band or starting the next unicorn tech company.
There is no better way to learn teamwork than to actually be part of one. The greater good of the group is something that you will learn because getting your way is not the goal. And that means listening to everyone’s ideas and giving them a fair shake before deciding their merit.
Leadership skills might seem counter intuitive to what you might think is a valuable skill set to be learned in a band. But the truth is that being in a small group that has a common purpose will help natural leaders emerge, and aspiring leaders to learn the skills that good leaders posses. Skills like vision, listening, and diplomacy.
One of the best things about being in a band is that you benefit from the combined resources of everyone. Those resources will almost always include a different viewpoint than your own, and present new avenues of success for the whole group to pursue. These resources may also include networking and capital assets as well.
4) Checks and Balances
When you’re flying solo in any kind of project and you’re not on your game, it’s always great to know that you have some back up. It also helps when personalities are complementary to each other in some way, as too many similar personality types can clash. You can’t have too many chiefs and not enough Indians or nothing will get accomplished.
Being empathetic can sometimes be overlooked in its importance but being in band will teach you how important it is to see the issues from another’s perspective. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of your mates and show empathy for your colleagues will get a better performance out of everyone.