Having a fixed position within a musical project is great, but also invites certain responsibilities. The privilege of being called first goes hand in hand with the expectation of time and dedication. Sometimes, especially if musicians perform in multiple projects, dates and productions can interfere. If this happens, a well-planned preparation and schooling of music subs is an absolute necessity.
To help you plan for this scenario, we gathered some pointers that we find vital. Taking responsibility, especially when you can’t take part in certain obligations you signed up for, is a sign of professionalism and will shed a positive light on your whole agenda.
So let’s start with the music:
Deliver musical material ahead of time
Make sure to send the music including audio-files and sheet-music well in advance of the gig or production at hand.
This way any questions can be handled quite early. There’s no chance of someone nagging about little-to-no time for preparation.
Just a little idea to open up the communication – set the bandleader in “cc” when you send out the mail with the material, that way she or he knows you’re on top of things.
Inquire technical demands
Even though it’s not entirely your job, asking for technical demands like special equipment, stands etc. will greatly smoothen out the process.
Again – you’re also doing this for the whole project, and especially for the people involved in planning the production.
They’re going to recognize the extra work and planning you put in, and more often than not they’ll reward you in whatever form they find suitable.
Inquire special catering demands
Same as the technical side – thinking of special catering demands that your sub might have demonstrated your commitment and hindsight to this situation.
Even though it’s a minor detail, not meeting catering demands can cause pretty grim moods prior to gigs, and it’s just something you can absolutely avoid.
Calculate extra rehearsal time
Even though your sub might be totally on top of things – plan in extra rehearsal time.
It’s quite easy to overlook minor nuances within the simplest of things, and more often than not you’ll be able to demonstrate these things way better than any sibelius file or piece of sheet music.
Maintain musical flexibility
Try to not expect near identical performances of what previous subs have delivered from any sub you appoint.
Every musician has his or her unique style and ways of interpreting music. Comparing subs happens automatically, but try to remain flexible in terms of how you assess a sub.
Go through the financials early
An incredibly important, last pointer: make sure you go through the financials early. Having loose-ends in terms of a musician’s fee is just entirely unacceptable.
Misunderstandings after gigs can cause great harm to the vibe but also reputation within a musical sphere, and for that matter, potential future subs.0 be the first one to show some appreciation for this!