Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.
– Andrew Carnegie. Scottish born American Industrialist and Philanthropist (1835-1919)
A musician will inevitably reach a point when he or she is required to decide the following:
“Do I pursue my craft alone, or with a group of other musicians?”
To join a band/group/orchestra, that is the question. The benefits of remaining a solo act are numerous: it’s easier to reach agreements with yourself. It’s easier and cheaper to travel by yourself. You get more of your performing royalties. There is no need to compromise.
But I argue that the benefits of being part of a group, a team, are far greater. By taking your vision and throwing it into the mix with other artists, you will inevitably come out with something that would have been impossible to create otherwise. An ethereal, mysterious thing is born out of collaboration. The yield is immense because it has passed through the minds of several people and still deemed worthwhile.
(This does not mean, however, that the work of a band will always be of inherently better quality than the work of one member of that band. I am not convinced that “New York State of Mind” could have been improved on any more had Billy Joel written it with 3 buddies. But I do wonder what kind of songs we would have if he did collaborate on his songwriting.)
The crux of my argument is this: The spirit of collaboration brings out better results from the individual members, yielding a superior final result. There does seem to be a primal need for people to be a part of a team (see: business, politics, sports, clubs…), and it may be survival-driven. Working together is the fundamental principle of society. But I believe there is an artistic benefit to teamwork as well, one that rewards open-minded creators.