How to Form a Band


Music is all about passion and fun! 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.

Part 1
Getting Off the Ground

Getting Off the Ground on How to Form a Band

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Your band could just be you, but you'll want to split fuel costs with someone when you start touring, right? Typically, for a rock band, you will need at least one guitarist, one bassist, one keyboardist/pianist, and a drummer -- 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. Just play what you think sounds or feels right. The internet is beginning to offer several places to find band mates such as Band-mix and Whosdoing. If you don't have mates that are excited to jump on board, use these resources. Facebook works for just about everything, too. Put up ads in cafes, music shops, and even in your car window if you're feeling gutsy. Where does your type hang out? Go there. Open mic nights? Yes. Pubs or clubs? Check. Don't use just one; use as many as you can so your chances are better. It helps if these musicians have some musical education. At the very least, someone needs to in order to provide a voice of reason that others may not be able to provide. 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.

Getting Off the Ground on How to Form a Band

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If you can't all agree on one genre, play a bit of two (or three?) 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. All of these styles of music will influence where you record and gig as a band. If you are in a rock band then you are going to be playing very different venues to a classical music band. Does anyone have songs they've already written? Great! How does the band sound playing them? 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.

Getting Off the Ground on How to Form a Band

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Now that you have your members and your genre, what's your guys' feel? What audience are you aiming for? Your look needs to be consistent and definitive across all members. Without a certain look, it'll be harder to get gigs (and fans). Pubs will look at you and think you don't fit; clubs will look at you and think you don't fit; festivals will look at you and think you don't fit -- so pinpoint what you're going for and embrace it.

Part 2
With Members at the Ready

With Members at the Ready on How to Form a Band

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" 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. Have it drafted by an unbiased third party (or take templates off the Internet). If one person writes it, it may seem like a power trip. If the members agree, you may choose a single person to write the contract, but have all members agree on the rules of the contract, and be in unanimous agreement before signing.

With Members at the Ready on How to Form a Band

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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.

With Members at the Ready on How to Form a Band

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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. As an artist, you're probably not made of money. A good work ethic is important to success. If someone is unwilling to practice, they may be dead weight that needs to be removed. Make practicing a routinely thing -- the band needs to be a priority if taken seriously.

With Members at the Ready on How to Form a Band

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Write as many as you can, without sacrificing quality for quantity. However, know that to have a headline at a show you'll need to have a repertoire of at least 11 or 12 songs to get through your time slot. 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 to ease into the scene. You also may want to copyright your work. You can copyright them at . It is a fairly simple process. All you need to do is fill out a PA (performing rights) form (not an RA (sound recording) form; that will come later, when you sign a record deal).

With Members at the Ready on How to Form a Band

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You could pick something meaningful...or just one that sounds cool. Typically the entire 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. Do research on other bands. If you're a band based out of Seattle by the name of "Hockey Scientists" and there's a band in Portland called "Golf Doctors," you may want to go another direction. 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.

With Members at the Ready on How to Form a Band

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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. As always, utilize Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, too. Consider recording a small snippet of a few songs to send to bar managers and the like. You'll be able to shoot them a short email telling them you'd love to play at their venue -- and for thirty seconds of their time and the click of a button, they can hear your sound. Foot in the door!

Part 3
Getting Ready to Live the Dream

Getting Ready to Live the Dream on How to Form a Band

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You'll probably 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. Playing live is the goal -- it will get you some cash, exposure, and it feels awesome. For your press kit, you'll need some graphics. Does any member have any experience in graphic design? If not, does a member have a connection? You don't need a logo by any means, but you do need images for your flyers, etc., that draw people to your events. Look into getting a photographer for a quick shoot either at rehearsal or at a gig. Your image is a quick and effective fix for a poster that has little to put on it in terms of graphics.

Getting Ready to Live the Dream on How to Form a Band

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There are bound to be a few places that say, "We'd love to have you -- but we don't have a working PA system." Well, guess what? You have your own. Problem solved. You can charge more that way, too! While you're at it, invest in some good recording equipment if you don't have it already. The less you're at some studio's beck and call, the better.

Getting Ready to Live the Dream on How to Form a Band

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Make flyers and take them to your work or school and paste them in places potential fans may be (and where you are allowed to). See if you can get friends to help you with this so the work goes faster. Look into general merchandise -- stickers, business cards, t-shirts/tank tops, decals, whatever your band might endorse. At your gigs, be sure to bring them along!

Getting Ready to Live the Dream on How to Form a Band

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Always promote your band online and in person. A Facebook 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. Do your research! You might also consider joining newer music communities, since it never hurts to get into a good site before a lot of other musicians join.

Getting Ready to Live the Dream on How to Form a Band

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People you may not even know will get exposure to you and, inevitably, leave their feedback. Use the best comments you receive in your advertising feeds. You'll get some naysayers. Ignore them. It's YouTube -- the cream of humanity is not overly present on this website.

Getting Ready to Live the Dream on How to Form a Band

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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. Considering hiring a consultant. They can point you in directions you may not have thought of and narrow down what's feasible and what's not. Look to friends and connections that have done it. They'll be full of invaluable price that you don't even have to pay for (well, maybe for the cost of a beer).

Getting Ready to Live the Dream on How to Form a Band

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It's a long way to the top if you want to rock 'n' roll. Obstacles will abound and the word "no" will be something you'll probably hear quite often. If you stay passionate, you'll stay happy and you'll stay going. Make sure your heart stays in the music. If you don't feel the music, you'll never be successful. Bands are never permanent; if you feel the need to part ways, recognize it.

Getting Ready to Live the Dream on How to Form a Band

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It will gain you experience and also let people see what kind and thoughtful people you are, which is what everybody wants from their idols.

Getting Ready to Live the Dream on How to Form a Band

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"If you don't ask, you don't get" is the simple way to put it. So why not look up festivals, give the manager a call or an email and say how you are really hoping to gain experience, that you'll do it for free and send him/ her a free CD. Be careful though, don't be pushy because the music scene is a very tight circle and everybody knows everybody so don't push anyone away. Other than that, go for it because you only live once and there's no harm in asking, they can only say no and if you play your cards right they might just say yes!