1. Set expectations.
Let musicians know early exactly what you need from them, what the gig includes, where it’s at, and how long it’ll be. The more details, the better- you want to make sure everybody knows what they’re getting into so there are no hard feelings later down the road.
2. Keep your word.
If say you’re going to send something, send it exactly when you’re going to send it. If you say soundcheck is at a certain time, make sure that it is. Being consistent will help your musicians to be consistently on time, as well.
Watch musicians during practice for cues on how they’re feeling about their parts, and generally working together. Picking up on the subtle way musicians are performing can give you a huge insight into how to help the group gel.
4. Under promise, over deliver.
Try to be as accurate as possible about practice times and pay, but if you’re going to make a mistake, make a mistake in their favor. I always keep back a little extra money for each musician, and then surprise them with it as a bonus if everything goes well.
5. Give musicians time to prepare.
Musicians works best when they have lots of time to prepare. Get charts, songs, setlists to them early to give them the best shot at being amazing. Never spring songs on them last minute.
6. Focus on concepts, not specifics.
When critiquing, always point out general problems (lack of dynamics, specific sections in the song that need work, etc), and resort to pointing out specific musician’s mistakes only if you absolutely can’t get around it. This will keep everyone focused on playing well, and keep temperamental musicians from feeling like they’re getting picked on during practice.
7. Make it fun.
We all got into music for the love of it- never let the stress of putting together a set let you lose sight of the joy of playing with other musicians, making great music together.