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Starting A Band

Sep 5, 2007
So you are an excellent musician, you love your music and the notion of performing excites you. From the time you first discovered that music was your life, there has been some hollow feeling deep down inside, this feeling like a part of you has not been born yet, something is incomplete perhaps. It is very likely that this very real feeling exists because there is something incomplete after all, the rest of your band!

Ok, maybe your desire to form a band is not as romantically fantastic as this. The truth is that it doesn't have to be. In fact, your goal of forming a band may even be a very logical and calculating move with the intention of making a living. The truth is that many people make quite good livings from their hobbies. Some may continue to be content financially making ends meet while doing something they enjoy. For others, the whole concept snowballs and with seemingly little effort they go from playing at parties and weddings to the big game where they become the hottest thing in music this side of the sun.

It's important to remember that starting a band is not very different to launching any other business. You will need market branding, and an intended consumer, a marketing plan, advertising and even financial planning. The fun part of starting a band is that you have all the artistic details to tend to also, and certainly the rewards are endless.

So, like any other business we need a plan. We need musicians for a start. Perhaps you already have a bunch of friends in mind for the part. Often this can be successful, but the truth is most of us don't have the perfect people on our right hand and we do have to search for them. Once you have established your brand of music and what positions you will need to fill to establish your band you can start looking.

Now art is a very personal thing, I cannot possibly tell you what you should be looking for, but I can offer my advice and direct you to some great advertising ideas. You must know in your heart what "flavor" your music is and find the right ingredients. You are a musician, an artist, only you know what this is. I do suggest that the people you eventually select to be members of your band although must be trustworthy and dependable, passionate and talented of course. You should be looking for someone with whom you find a certain dynamics with. This does not mean that this person should be just like you; on the contrary, very often a character quite unlike you may be just the one to compliment and complete your band.

Advertising and auditioning serious musicians is not a small task but certainly this may be one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life. This is an opportunity to meet so many different characters and connect with folk you may never otherwise have met. Just like any other business you must advertise in all the right places where there folk are that you want to attract. There is no reason a general advertisement in the local newspaper won't attract the musicians you are looking for wont work, but be clear in your advertisement of what you are looking for. A simple add that reads "wanted drummer" is likely to bring all sorts out of the closest. Explain your genre, is it rock, pop, indie, or swing. You should direct your advertisement towards the popular magazines and websites that people interested in your genre of music are likely to read and visit.

The auditions are another game again. You really should not have to audition everyone that applies for the position; if someone does not sound suitable in their application, you don't have to listen to them perform. Although you might miss out on a rare gem, you're the artist use your creative instinct here and go with that "gut" feeling.

Certainly the music is important, that perfect person making the application might just make your flesh crawl when you hear them audition for you. Stay strong and say "no" when you really want to say no. Sure you will disappoint a few, but you should rather disappoint them now than yourself latter.

Once you have the people together it's time to plan your musical repertoire. Generally new bands will begin with established cover numbers, but you really should build your own songs. If you are not a writer you might consider looking for a writer to work with you. Cover songs are great, but do yourselves a favor and bring your own style to the stage. This is a part of you market branding.

Once you have your people together you become a team. You should now spend many hours together brainstorming ideas and suggestions and discussing your future together. Most importantly make sure that everyone is on the same page. There is a long interesting road ahead of you.

Finally I would just like to be the first to say congratulations, where ever you and your band end up, no matter what you have dared to live a life and follow your heart. The funny thing is, once you got moving it really wasn't that scary was it! Just know what you are doing, and look to where you are going, and one day you will find yourself there.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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