Last year I had a fabulous string quartet. The four of us played well together, we were starting to get a nice blended sound, and we enjoyed spending time together. Sadly, my violist moved away, leaving me needed a four member to the quartet, and so the search began.
This is a challenge that occurs with all groups at some point! A friend of mine recently was looking for a bass player for her rock band so we were going through the process of looking for a new musician at the same time.
I have to admit that as I get older, what I look for in a musician has changed! Through the years I have played in many musical groups, with a wide range of people with varying personalities and skill levels. I have played with fabulous musicians who were a real pain to work with, and I have played with less skilled musicians who were lovely!
So, what do I look for now? The best of all worlds would be a great person that you like to spend time with who is an excellent musician. These people do exist! However, if I can’t find that person, here is what I look for in order of importance:
- Personality – Let’s face it. You are going to spend hours of rehearsal with this person as well as hours in the car driving to gigs. You really want to be able to enjoy all of that time! The time you are on stage is only a brief portion of all the time you spend together!
- Reliability – I really want to know that my musicians are going to show up for rehearsal and most importantly for gigs! I want to know that they will be there on time with everything that they need.
- Being a Team Player – I like working with people who are willing to give their opinions and will to take criticism. I want the whole group to sound the best it can, so anyone who wants to showboat is not welcome!
- Musical ability – Yes… This one is number four. I used to put a lot more importance on it, but I have played with musicians who have improved drastically over the time we worked together. Weak skills can be improved upon with work and time.
So, I am sure that you all want to know… I found a fourth member for my quartet and my friend found a bass player for her band. We both feel really good about our choices! I hope that you all have as much luck finding musicians to play in your groups!