"A lot of musicians are slackers. They tend to show up unprepared. Do you know of any techniques for motivating them, in a situation where the pay is already good?"
I guess what's confusing to me is, why with so many talented musicians out there, you are forced to hire slackers? There are so many musicians who would be thrilled to get paid well to do what they love.
But your question makes it sound as if you're stuck with them so here are some tips:
1. develop a reputation as someone who rewards professionalism. Do your research on your musicians. Those who come prepared get rewarded with a meal that goes above and beyond, or something else that fits their persona.
2. Let the musician know beforehand that you have a young person (or 2 or 3) coming to sit in on the session to learn from them. If they care about being a good role model, perhaps they'll step it up.
3. When I hire a freelancer, I let them know it's a "try-out" to see if we gel for bigger projects I have on the horizon. This tends to motivate them to do their best.
4. If you have any say over firing them, pre-set milestones with them. If they don't deliver on any of the milestones, they know they will be fired.
Overall, I need more information, because you could be dealing with the creme of the crop, who take advantage of their clout. In which case, unless the company behind you, stands by your decision to hire people who perform professionally, you could have a major challenge to overcome.
For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry career coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit www.TheGreenlightCoachBlog.com