I recently did a bit of a mashup with an essay called "What I Learned from Bands" that comprises career lessons I took away from those formative musical experiences. Parents: Take note if your kid asks for an electric guitar or drum kit ... It could be her route to the C-suite!
Here's my list:
- Human resources. I learned quickly that a drummer with space to practice was worth about a dozen aspiring guitarists, and I took up the bass because I realized there was far more demand for four strings than six. At school, the teachers assigned the places; you had to build a band from scratch and find the right person for each job.
- Personnel management. Keeping instruments from flying took a lot of negotiation, and there weren't any adult referees to dictate manners.
- Networking. Talking to club owners or the leaders of other bands required guts; you needed to have your elevator pitch down cold.
- Operations. Overlooking a detail like spare strings could spoil a gig. It was one thing to cut corners on schoolwork, but the stakes were a lot higher when you were in front of a crowd of peers who'd paid upwards of $2 to see you play!
- Financial planning. How to divide your $25 share of the door among five band members? Even-steven, or more for the guy gassing the van?
- Exit strategies. Shows could get a lot rougher than school; playing while things were getting weird -- and knowing when to make a quick exit with all your gear -- was way higher stakes than any classroom education.