Starting a Band
Why you should start a band...
Many musicians and music tutors will say that playing in a band and practicing regularly with other musicians, regardless of their skill level or ability is one of the best ways of developing your own musical skills. You'll learn a lot about timing, song structures, training your ears etc... and most of all you’ll probably have a blast doing it!
But like every band, be it Iron Maiden, or that band that plays in the local pub every 3rd Friday of each month... they all had to start somewhere, and starting off can be a daunting task for many. It doesn’t matter how good you are at playing your instrument, how amazing your ideas are or how passionate you are about your Music, there are always going to be a few stumbling blocks on your road to success.
Getting your band together and most importantly working together from the start is extremely important. You may look at some of the bigger bands and think ‘but they don’t get on?’ or ‘they’re always fighting and splitting up!’ Well maybe they are, but you are not them and although a little bit of in band tension can add to the excitement, it’s probably best to ensure things are running as smoothly as possible and as quickly as possible.
Where do you start?
The first decision any band needs to make, is deciding what type of music are you going to play? This decision will ultimately have a bearing on many other decisions you will make during the time your band stays together such as the songs you write, the venues you play, your instruments and your image.
So let’s say you play guitar, your mate plays drums and you have yourself a capable drummer. You’ve got a nice little 3 piece going on right? Maybe your mate knows this guy ‘who’s amazing on guitar’. Maybe he is, but does he fit into the band and does he play your style of music? Is there even a place for him? Don’t try and accommodate something or someone you don’t need, something that may upset the balance of your band.
These are all things to think about. It’s a perfect example of why everyone needs to know their place in the band, and you need to figure out what the band requires to succeed. You may find yourself in a situation like this very early on, so try out a few different lineups and stick to your guns as soon as you find something that works for the band.
Recruiting for your band
You’ve got your musicians in place, so who’s gonna sing? What do you mean you can’t sing? Ok so you need a vocalist quickly, but do you want someone who will contribute to songwriting and maybe play an instrument as well? Or maybe you just want a showman, someone energetic who will light up the stage, but where would you begin to look for this as yet undiscovered band member?
You should consider using as many different options as possible to find the missing piece of your puzzle as you never know where you may find exactly what you’re looking for. Try putting up posters in your local rehearsal studios, place ads in the local paper and online. A good place to start looking is the musicians & bands category on MusicalAds where you can search for band members or place a wanted ad. For more help, read our article on Finding Band Members.
Get yourself organised
Once you’ve got your lineup sorted it will help the band in the long-term if one person was to take on the unofficial role of band leader. This can be anyone you all agree on, but it would make sense for it to be one of the founding members of the band or someone who is pretty well organized and good at dealing with people. The importance of having a leader within your band will become clear when it comes to making important decisions such as where, when and how often you will practice.
The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ does hold meaning and having someone to coordinate this and ensure you are all practicing regularly will make you a much tighter unit in the long run and will benefit you greatly when you start gigging.
Remember, the most important thing about starting a band is to make sure you have fun doing it. What’s the point in playing Music together with like minded people, when you can’t have fun? Sometimes you will discover that you’re the only one taking it seriously and while there’s no harm in starting a band just for the fun of it, if you’re planning on making a career out of it then you will soon realise if your band mates are as dedicated as you are. If that happens, stay motivated and remember what made you pick up your instrument for the very first time and the reason why you started the band in the first place. Your love of Music!