Starting The Band! (A Quick Guide)

Starting a band can feel like the mountain peeking from the clouds. You can see where you want to go but the path is not exactly clear and it looks a long way off. Today this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are more ways than ever both physically and digitally to meet birds of a musical feather and playing your instrument with others is the best way to further your craft. The most important part has already happened: you have a desire to create music so strong that it conquerors all hesitation and personal sensitivities.

Emphasis on "hesitation and personal sensitivities"

Emphasis on “hesitation and personal sensitivities”

Online there are many ways to connect with others both on social media and static sites. You can find numerous groups on places like Facebook for every single genre of music you can imagine and people post band needs in these groups all the time. Just join them. Want to play mandolin but fear there’s no scene for it? Search for your preferred genre and you will find the group. If anything it will be a refreshing change for your feed to fill up with local music stuff instead of your buddy’s wife’s latest batch of cupcakes (which are wonderful by the way).

In the US Craigslist is also a great place to find musicians but can be a wild ride. You’ll find fellow musicians in the community section of your metro area (community>musicians). If you visit Craigslist it will automatically find the closest city to you based on your IP address. Even if you don’t see something of interest today check back daily. There’s also a whole industry forming involving websites specifically for matching musicians. BandMix is a good example. So is BandFinder. These new websites also allow people to upload music and video to the postings so you can get an easier feel beforehand. But don’t limit yourself by this impression alone. When you join a band you add to it and the music most likely will improve for the better.

But really…there’s no substitute for just putting yourself out there the oldschool analog way. Go to your local record stores and haunt them for an hour. Find the section with the music that inspires you and when someone comes along to browse strike up a conversation. Don’t worry, if they weren’t into talking they’d be purchasing online. Also always talk to the guys and gals at the register for they are the living nexus of the store. They will remember you from this the next time a local band is in the store and lamenting about their tuba player self-destructing on stage.

"If I can't see you, you can't see me, which means I don't have to listen to your mix tape, DJ Tuba Trackz."

“If I can’t see you, you can’t see me, which means I don’t have to listen to your mix tape, DJ Tuba Trackz.”

Also visit the bars most bands play outside of normal show times. Musicians are humans first and need to just hang, talk, and meet new people outside of stages and vans. You’d be surprised who you meet just by living in the world and rubbing actual elbows with it. If that’s not your thing just make sure your circle of friends know you want to play with others and share your music and playing with them. They may be blow away by it and mention it to their girlfriend later, who then remembers her friend’s boyfriend who’s in a band and needs a bass player.

Which leads me to my last point: do not limit yourself. Sign your instrument up for everything you can. Think you don’t like country? You’d be amazed at the crowd engagement and money to be made. Don’t like metal? Again, the crowd and power of the music once you get inside of it is like nothing else. Use the experiences to build not only your skill but your experience and local presence. Joining or starting a band seem like a mission to the Himalayas but once you throw your pack on you’ll be amazed at what you will find and how much harder it is to convince yourself you aren’t ready than it is to take any port in a storm of creative desire.

By Guest Blogger Bradford Wolfenden II