February’s back on the calendar, folks, and that means that the thick stench of love is in the air once again. We all know what it’s like to be out in the world seeking the perfect partner/series of them to satisfy our romantic needs, and we’re all familiar with the ups and downs associated with dating.
Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. Sometimes you meet someone who you’re sure is the one, only to be blindsided by the bitter reality that the chemistry just isn’t there. Then there’s those instances where someone you’d never expect to form a bond with miraculously fits into your life in a way that completely catches you off guard. Chaos gives way to order, order gives way to honeymoons or heartbreak (or both). As the timeless saying goes, all’s fair in love and war.
Those braving the music scene know full well that the vigilant search for collaborators is comically akin to the one that entails finding romantic partners. The parallels are too stark to ignore, so maybe this article will help you along in either processes – though I’ll obviously be focusing on the music first and foremost. After all, isn’t music our one true love?
You might be aware that Muze takes the idea of a dating app but for musicians to jam, start bands, join bands, or fill voids in their current bands. It’s a lot like Tinder or Hinge in the sense that it pairs you up with other musicians in the same way that the dating apps do (it’s commonly said that you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, but if you wind up dating your bass player… well, win/win, right?). But more on that later.
Here are a few pointers/comparisons that might help you along the way:
Don't Take It Personally
You’ve heard it said in the dating realm a myriad of times. If something just isn’t working out, it isn’t always a YOU problem. While searching for bandmates, cowriters, etc., you’re going to meet a plethora of different personalities whose skills you’re going to try and graft with your own. If you meet someone who is a great songwriter and want to work with them, ask them out on a date; and by that I mean set a date to write together. What do you have to lose?
There’s a good chance that, regardless of whether or not you decide to form a project together, you’re going to learn something from your encounter with them that you can put to use later on in your career. That’s always a good thing. However, if you can’t see eye to eye on something or collaboration is (for whatever reason) blatantly out of reach, that’s okay. Just like in the dating world, there are plenty of other fish in the musical sea, so move on and brave some other waters without drowning yourself in self-criticism in the process.
Okay, so without negating my previous point, it is important to find a happy balance between self-assurance and a healthy way of welcoming criticism. Let’s say for instance you meet a new guitar player who you think could be a good candidate to play lead in your band. There’s obviously a great chance that you’ll produce an excellent sound together and decide to move forward with the project/relationship. However, if there’s some intangible schism or disagreement that prevents the idea from becoming a reality, it isn’t the worst thing in the world to take a look in the mirror and figure out what your role was in the situation.
If your dating life is consistently drawing no returns, you may be behaving a certain way that is sabotaging your romantic ambitions without even knowing it. The same can be true of your musical aspirations. Luckily, it’s far more awkward to look into the eyes of the beautiful girl who you just blew it with and ask, “In your opinion, is there anything I could have done better?” than it is to pose the same question to the hypothetical guitar player. The latter is a professional conversation you’re having, not a romantic one, so you can (and should) approach the issue with a sense of ease.
The ability to check yourself and commit to improvement is indicative of the humility it takes for one to grow in music. You can also use your friends as resources in this regard if you’re uncomfortable asking the opinion of someone you don’t really know.
Keep Your Options Open
With dating, this may seem scandalous or downright sleazy, but it’s really not. If you expect to find someone special, you can’t rely strictly on a hypothetical future with that one person you just met. Allow for some space when it comes to meeting new prospects and getting to know them, because if one thing falls apart, you’ll avoid discouragement and time in between dates if you’re also talking to someone else. If you’re already exclusively involved with a person, this is obviously a big no-no, but while you’re still in the casual phase of things, you really should cast a wide net. Just keep manipulation and deception out of the equation and nobody will get hurt.
The same goes for your hunt for musical partners. Make no mistake, you will encounter a whole lot of situations like those I just presented, but it’s a numbers game. The more you network and meet with people, the more likely it is that you’ll find those best suited to build a professional future with.
This can be applied in a few different ways. First off, if you’re having a hard time finding that “special someone” to play keys in your band, don’t worry. Things don’t always happen how and when we want them to, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to happen. Everyone has felt dejected and discouraged at some point in their love life, but stay the course and things will always resolve themselves.
As far as a band goes, the exact same thing holds true. If you keep up the work, are willing to grow, and consistently get out of the house to meet people, you will achieve what you set out to do. In this case, the love you’re bound to find is over a shared passion for the music you’re creating with another person. Unless you’re Fleetwood Mac, in which case… things get messy across the board.
Patience remains a virtue even and especially after you’ve found the right people to collaborate with. Disagreements will arise and frustrations will give way to interpersonal conflict, but if you’ve been in a relationship with someone at any point in your life, you know that setting anger to the side and listening to the other person’s concerns before jumping down their throat with your own is a far more effective way to smooth over those ugly pockets of scorn.
Maybe your drummer just does NOT want to cover that Whitesnake song, but it’s always been your dream to play it in front of a crowd. If you absolutely refuse to take into account his apprehensions, well… be prepared to “go again on your own.”
How many times have you been told this exact thing before heading out to a hot date? It’s the timeless two-worded pep talk that says so much by saying so little. To that point, let’s get one thing straight – whether you’re new to music, you’re a veteran songwriter, or you’re somewhere in between, you DO have something to offer. Recognize your attributes and don’t let that pesky tendency to get down yourself prevent you from realizing what you know you’re worth.
If you’re silently second-guessing yourself while sitting across the table from someone, they can tell, and you’d better believe that they’re squirming in anticipation for the check to arrive so they can scurry off and forget that the awful date ever happened. Likewise, if you don’t really believe you have any talent or refuse to acknowledge your potential, nobody is going to want to make music with you. That’s a fact. However, that doesn’t mean you should act like the best of the best wherever you go and treat others like they’re beneath you. That’s just a guise that, like timid uncertainty, others can see right through and is indicative of insecurity.
Be humble, be strong, and take no sh*t in the process. You’ve got this.
There Are Easier Ways...
If all of these things make sense but you’re still unsure where to begin when it comes to meeting people, bear in mind that you don’t have to wait for the next writers round or house show to get started. Start with signing up here on the Muze site for official updates about the app.
The Muze algorithm factors include age, experience, musical taste, availability, and more, so you’re able to marginalize your search accordingly. You can upload media, organize a virtual jam session, find new band members, start a band/join an existing one, and make friends as well as professional acquaintances, even when you’re not out and about or at a show. This is actually huge in a post-pandemic world, especially if certain events/concerts are still relatively infrequent in your area.
It’s free to use and there’s no annoying ads to bombard you while you match. In other words, the only strings attached are guitar strings.