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band communication and smart phones


Eric VB

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So the subject of smart vs dumb phones came up on another thread and, instead of hijacking it, I decided to start a new one.

 

What does your band use to communicate?

 

When I was in the school band I think most communication was done verbally during class/rehearsal. It worked because we met five days a week. Maybe they'd occasionally pass out dittos (photocopies) or snail mail them home. For last minute stuff they'd phone (the home phone -- no answering machines nor cell phones back then).

 

Last I checked my old high school band has its own website and web apps. I wouldn't be surprised if they added phone apps by now. Instead of the old "phone tree" they probably just mass text everyone.

 

The point being that technology changes.

 

For bar bands where everyone has a smart phone it's usually cheapest to use email. Texts can work but not everyone has unlimited texting. Besides, it's probably easier to send things like set lists via email.

 

IME, texting and email usually get used more than voice. More often than not a cell call goes to voicemail, at which point it probably would have taken less time to text. On the other end you may embarrass your bandmate; for example, setting off an unusual ringtone during a day job meeting.

 

One band I'm in insists on using Google docs and sharing (usually set lists) as docx or xlsx. This is a pain for me (partly because I don't use gmail); it's so much easier to just open an email attachment (doc/xls) or just read it as plain text in the body of the email.

 

I also use my smart phone as a GPS to get me to the gig. I can check the weather and traffic. At the gig, if someone requests a song I can usually find a recording on line and learn it during a break.

 

The latest/greatest thing is electronic funds transfer. For those gigs that pay by check we can distribute the money electronically instead of waiting for the next time we see each other. I haven't done it yet but theoretically I could use my phone to photograph the check, deposit it and send payments to my bandmates in a matter of minutes following the gig.

 

How does your band communicate? How do you use your smart phone for band-related tasks?

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Drummer (56) and bassist (53) (me) - text using smart phones. We both admin the FB page and update the schedules using the phones (and I also us my iPad) frequently. He's a hardware manager for the local Community College - I do software for a DOE contractor.

 

Guitar 2 (61) - dumbphone and texts, also voice if the cell phone is dead, usually doesn't answer a phone if called - may not answer a text if he doesn't initiate it. Has a 486DX33 at home - I think - and can't access the band's website, FB or calendar. Fortunately, he and the drummer are co-workers and word gets out. He's a maintenance tech.

 

Guitar 1 (52) - straight up land line - no computer, no cell. Does return calls and messages. Independant contractor.

 

Not a lot of young guys, to be sure. Email doesn't work for us (due to the lack of technology from the guitars).

 

I also use my smart phone as a GPS to get me to the gig. I can check the weather and traffic.

 

This works only if the drummer gives you the right address to the private party.

 

Only the drummer and I email. Usually, I get a set list revision and the list for the gig via email, and the drummer prints out four copies and brings them to the gig.

 

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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My band asked me to just play bass into my phone and they would mic the output at the practice space......then they hung up. :(

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

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Emails are good if you need to include a file or want to make sure you have some sort of historical record.

 

Texts are good for a quick and dirty message. (real dirty)

 

Neither are good if people don't use them often enough and I usually would like a reply, even if it is a "OK" to make sure someone read the damn thing.

 

Phone calls are good, you can often knock out a lot in a little time and, if this is important, you can get a more accurate feel of how things are said and heard. You can talk about something and follow it up with a detailed email or text "Gig Friday at Max's be there at 7. Plumber rectifying the after effects of Wednesday's experimental curry recipe Saturday at 2."

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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We have moved recently to Whatsapp on smart phones works over wifi & data and we have a running group conversation. We cover band stuff and bouts of witty banter with the occasional dip into flat out abuse. It is free and covers areas where there is no phone signal.

 

We have a dropbox for songlist, setlists, mp3, tabs, and demos we are working on. The technology is just amazing.

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Text is the primary communication for us, rehearsal (is it today?? why they can't enter it in their calendars at the last rehearsal I'll never understand), but new songs and stuff are via email. In spite of being the oldest, it seems I am the most computer literate and do most of that stuff, set lists, FB posts, posters...

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We have moved recently to Whatsapp on smart phones works over wifi & data and we have a running group conversation. We cover band stuff and bouts of witty banter with the occasional dip into flat out abuse. It is free and covers areas where there is no phone signal.

 

So, what's the big advantage over just regular texting? Conceivably, I can send a text to the entire band now. The only thing that would get my attention would be the know that I can't accidently send a text to the wrong person ...

 

... funny story here involving my jazz band ...

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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Its better than regular texting because there are parts of N Ireland where there is no phone signal but whatsapp works over wifi, it is free to use, you can send pictures, voice notes and you aren't limited to message length.

 

Also you get a double tick which lets you know a person has seen the message, its very handy!

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Band has a web site, but for communications we rely primarily on email and text. Email useful for longer term planning--rehearsal schedules, working out gig dates, deciding on set lists. Texting mostly for short term--"what time is rehearsal tonight?" or "bring some duct tape."

 

If I get an actual phone call from a band mate, I generally know there's some issue or problem that needs to be resolved/discussed. Those are at a minimum, thankfully.

 

EDIT: I should add that the band uses Drop Box for sharing of charts, video files, and songs. It's pretty handy and reduces the need to email files around. Also, a couple of band mates have iPads and have started using them for gigs, for charts and lyrics.

"Everyone wants to change the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves." Leo Tolstoy
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In my last project a lot of the communication was via email. And that was mostly for scheduling as well as passing along charts, lyrics and the like.

 

There was also a push to use the Google Calender. Mostly because it would consolidate scheduling information in a central location.

 

Aside from that? It was texting or IM. Phone calls were reserved for going over ideas. But even then the face to face time was more productive for that sort of thing.

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Hi guys...

Yeah. I'm around.

 

For reals, though, we do use a good amount of technology for band stuff. For example, the recording studio we use has a policy of uploading all new mixes to its server after every session, so we can listen to our mixes from our phones on our way home from the studio. We pay them via PaypPal.. from our phones.

 

We record rehearsal space demos on a Zoom recorder, dump them into Audacity for editing and upload them to Google Drive to share. And that, by the way, has an app... for your phone.

 

When we were prepping to record, we practiced everything with a click... which we put through the PA system.. from the app on one of our phones.

 

And yeah, we text and email and all that. From our phones.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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I had spent much time and effort building a back-end to our web site that included a database of clubs with info, and a calendar for the band. Individual band members could log in and put in dates they are unavailable or want a call before scheduling anything. Practices were scheduled through there and you could get notified via email if something was entered in the calendar. Anything that was entered as a "gig" automatically pulled info from the database for the venue and posted on our public web site (unless private was checked, in which case, it would put it on there as a private party, but details showed up on our end if we logged in).

 

It was working wonderfully because if someone called wanting to book a gig, I could look on there and if nobody had anything listed, I could just book it, enter it, everyone got notified and it was on the web site.

 

But then our booking agent started using google calendar for essentially the same thing, and there's no way to sync the 2. So then some people were putting stuff in google calendar and some in the web site, I was having to check both and try to sync things manually back and forth, and it turned into a bit of a mess.

 

But we generally use Email for gig and practice coordination, set lists, etc. Text if it's urgent - I need to know immediately if we can play a gig, or something like that.

 

 

Edit: we've had conference calls before as well. Most cell phones (don't have to be smart) can do this. Call somebody, put them on hold, call somebody else, join calls. One person can call 2. Each of them can join an additional person for a total of 5.

 

 

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I was having to check both [online calendars] and try to sync things manually back and forth, and it turned into a bit of a mess.

Yes, that's been my experience trying to sync a band calendar with a personal/family calendar. Of course it doesn't help when the latter is empty and instead I get a lot of "don't you remember I told you we have a family event that weekend!?" verbal "notifications". ;)

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