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Safe Sax: Three Sides to Band Communication - By David Jackson
The following is a look at good and bad communication between a band. Itís an interesting situation, what call would you make?

One Side of the Story

Our saxophonist couldn't make a gig. In the future he might miss a few more. We found a replacement. The replacement might even fill in whenever needed. Then later, the original saxophonist was able to free up his schedule and make the gig. The problem was we didn't need two players. They keyboard player (a close friend of the saxophonist) called and was upset, as the singer (who found the fill-in sax) wouldn't cancel this guy playing. The question as, "Who do you want to hurt the fill in guy or the original member? Based on that info, I answered, "The fill-in guy."
Other Side of the Story

The singer had contacted a professional sax player (we all just play as a hobby) to fill in for this

gig. The sax player agreed, and a deal was struck. The sax player received other offers to play for more money, but was loyal to his first agreement. Canceling his playing would mean we wouldn't pay him, and due to short notice, he may not find another gig. A very unprofessional thing to do. Have fun trying to get this guy to fill in again, after you have treated him so badly. Based on this info, you might answer, "Let's use the fill-in guy."


As we learned of the conflict on Tuesday, we could've called the fill in sax player to see if he could take another gig. If not, he would play with us (this call was put off due to the awkward nature of the call). It would be like buying tickets to a concert, then giving your ticket to someone else, and then becoming available to go to the concert again. Are you going to take back your ticket? In the end, both players played and we had fun (but it cost the rest of the band money, as we had to pay another player).

Root Cause

As with most problems, the root cause was in communication. When you had a replacement for the first sax player, it should have been communicated so he wouldn't have even tried to rearrange his schedule. The other problem was the lack of courage to make a difficult call.

Itís FREE to join the Musicianís Cyber Cooler and receive Marketing tips, updates on cool Internet sites, and trade experiences with other musicians. Just visit for a look at the latest issue. Dave is the author of "Get Your Band Out of the Basement (And Keep Them Out of the Asylum)" and "Look Before Leaping into Cyber Space."

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