Band Coordinator

  • Band Coordinator

Those with a passion for music who also dream of working in television need not worry; there’s a career for that. Late night and variety television shows like Saturday Night Live or Late Show With David Letterman employ house bands as integral components; to manage the musicians, a uniquely skilled individual with specific education is needed to act as the go-between.


The band coordinator is responsible for wrangling the house band on a television show and making sure that the musicians are in the loop and prepared for the live performance; this person is the liaison between the performers and the network publicity department, writers, producers, and production crews. The band coordinator sets up schedules for rehearsals, promo spots, and live taping, and works with the music director to assemble the set list and distribute sheet music. When revisions are made to the sets, the coordinator is responsible for seeing that all musicians are kept up to date and assists in preparing cue sheets. For guest performances, he or she will collaborate with the music booker and arrange sit-ins with the house band.

On taping day, the coordinator assists the production staff in setting up the band’s stage area and distributes necessary information to the sound engineers. Additional responsibilities will vary, but may include helping to research licenses for performance of copyrighted songs and securing sheet music copies. Where necessary, the coordinator may also hire an arranger to transpose compositions for individual parts. If a member of the production staff is not assigned this responsibility, the band coordinator will be tasked with ensuring that the obligations of the band’s contract rider are met, and work with the show producers and performer’s management to resolve any conflicts.

Skills & Education

A college degree in a music concentration or film and television production is necessary; courses in music composition and recording arts are also helpful. The band coordinator must have the organizational skills to juggle competing priorities, but also the musical and technical know-how to aptly support and collaborate with performers and audio engineers. This person should be capable of breaking down a script for cues and reading sheet music. Experience in the music industry is very valuable, as is an understanding of music licensing and standard performance contracts.

What to Expect

This job is usually offered as a run-of-show contract, and is a full-time role. Previous experience in record label A&R or talent booking in clubs is excellent preparation for this gig, which can transition into future work in film and television such as music supervision, music direction, or talent booking for television programs. Rehearsal and production schedules on daily programs are intense; changes are made frequently, on the fly, and at the last minute. You should be prepared to run at a high, constant pace with little downtime. Flexibility and the ability to roll with the punches are required personality traits; if you prefer routine, this isn’t the gig for you. However, if you thrive in a fast-paced environment and work best on your toes, you’ve met your match.


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