5 ways to spot an unprofessional musician

When connecting with a performer, these warning signs should cause you to pause

Usually by the time you figure it out,  it’s too late.

You need a musician for a performance, and someone gives you a number. You connect and bring this person in. Halfway into the gig or rehearsal, you notice major issues with the musician’s preparation, punctuality or presentation. But now, you have the messy and uncomfortable position of dealing with a person who isn’t conforming to professional standards, or worse, who is undermining your performance.

It would be better if you could avoid potential musical partners that don’t behave professionally. While other careers focus on resumes and recommendations in making hiring decisions, connections in music and the creative arts are often made via a text, email or brief conversation. Still, by being aware of certain tendencies, you can quickly evaluate the professionalism of an artist. Here are five warning signs that you may be dealing with a musician that lacks a professional attitude. Check for these traits “F.I.R.S.T”. Is the artist:

1. Frustrated? -An unprofessional musician will usually be quick to blame the industry and other musicians for any lack of success. Playing the blame game is a clear indication that this musician may lack a sense of responsibility for their own actions and career.

2. Indecisive? -An artist that exhibits “analysis paralysis” will usually avoid making commitments. It’s one thing to be careful – it’s another to be unable to make a choice. This is a trait to avoid.

3. Rude? – You can probably spot this characteristic a mile away. If you notice that this musician treats others poorly,  you should be extremely wary of connecting with them.

4. Self-absorbed? – Do you hear the word “I” or “me” in every sentence that your potential partner or band member says? If so, you have a clear indication that this individual will not be a very good team member. 

5. Thin-Skinned? – Does constructive criticism make this individual become defensive? You need to consider whether you can work together effectively with someone that takes everything personally.

If you watch for the warning signs of an unprofessional attitude first, you can avoid being the one that has to deal with the consequences.


For more discussion about dealing with unprofessional artists, 
consider signing up for our new 5 day email course on this topic. 
It's free and you can gain access by enrolling here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

2 thoughts on “5 ways to spot an unprofessional musician