FORM a BAND
Music is all about passion. If you are serious about becoming a member of a band, you'll need motivation, talent, and confidence to build your fan base. The following tips will help you get started on your way to becoming the next big thing, while having fun and producing mind blowing music.
1. Find musicians. Typically, for a rock band, you will need at least one guitarist, one bassist, one keyboardist/pianist, and a drummer, and the lead singer can either play an instrument or not. Of course, this all depends on what type of band you plan to be, and what kind of music you will play. The internet is beginning to offer several places to find band mates such as band-mix and Whosdoing. Don't use just one, use as many as you can so your chances are better. Also, it's better if you choose people you know, like from school or someone you're acquainted with. You'll have a better chance of staying together. It also helps if these musician have some education. It helps a lot if at least one of musicians has some years of musical education. It is not always important to choose the "best" players. In many cases, bands of musicians who get along, are easy going, and willing to learn to play together will sound better than bands comprised of very good musicians with big egos.
2. Pick Your Genre(s). If you can't all agree on one genre, play a bit of both or mix together and create your own genre. Have everyone bring a mix CD of their favorite music. Listen to each one and you can get an idea of what everyone likes. Most importantly, pick songs you play well and that your singer sounds good singing. Try many different, simple, songs in the beginning and see what fits the musicians likes and abilities.
3. Consider making an Interband Contract or "band agreement". It is hard to get four or five musicians with individual lives to commit to each other and the musical project. One band member who is never available to rehearse or do shows can kill a band. This "contract" will offer some protection for what a member can do with the name, payment, ownership of songs, equipment, etc., if/when he/she leaves the band. Solving this now will help to avoid disputes in the future. Keep in mind though, it's common that these kinds of issues will turn off potential band mates. So, make sure they are in agreement and vested before forcing a contract on them.
4. Find a practice space! Will it be in someone's basement? Garage? Will you keep all of your equipment there? Get permission from whoever owns the property you and your band choose for your practice space.
5. Practice! Becoming a good band takes time and effort. Practice will also ensure that you and your band-mates develop a rapport. In addition, recording time is expensive. The better practiced you are the quicker you can get in the studio and out the door.
6. Begin writing songs. Write as many as you can, but you'll want to have a repertoire of about 11 or 12 to headline at a show. An opening band can have as few as 4-5 songs, so try to get your very best 5 songs together and open for more known bands at first. You also may want to copyright them. You can copyright them at copyright.gov. It is a fairly simple process. You need to fill out a PA (performing writes) form not a RA (sound recording) form. An RA form will come later, when you sign a record deal.
7. Record a Demo or Record. This will be your best piece of promotional material. It can be sold at shows, used to get record deals, agents, managers, etc., and used to promote to fans online. Currently the best online promotion tool for fans is Myspace, and the best promotion tool for promoting to the professional industry is bandFIND.com
8. Come up with a name. You can pick something meaningful or just one that sounds cool. Typically the band will decide on the name. The best names are usually short and easy to read and spell; that way it's easy to remember. It's called branding! On another note, do NOT use a name that is already trademarked, unless you plan on being a tribute band. If you really get stuck on a name, have everyone come up with 5 adjectives and 5 nouns, then try to agree on a band name using one of each.
9. Start searching for gigs. You may want to build a press kit. This is the music Industry's standard for a resume. Venues will look at your EPK (electronic Press Kit) before deciding to book you or not. The current industry standard is Sonic Bids Playing live will get you some cash and exposure.
10. Spread the word. Make flyers and take them to your work or school and paste them in places you are allowed to. See if you can get friends to help you with this so the work goes faster.
11. Start a mailing list to reach other people. Always promote your band online and in person. A Facebook account and a MySpace account for your band would make it easy for people to hear samples of your music and learn who you are. Another site to consider is SoundCloud. You might also consider joining one of the newer music communities, such as Artistir.com, since it never hurts to get into a good site before a lot of other musicians join.
12. Put a video of your band on YouTube to see what people think, then use the best comments you receive in your advertising feeds.
13. Look for accountants, managers, and other professionals you may need in the future. Cultivating relationships with professionals you'll need in the future, on an ongoing basis, can make the transition from garage band to featured performer a lot easier.
14. Don't get your hopes up too high, but never stop trying. It's a long way to the top if you want to rock 'n' roll. Also, you should judge your band mates by who they are, not how they look!
15. Make sure your heart is in the music. If you don't feel the music, you'll never be successful.