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How To Form A New Band

- January 17, 2019

how to form a new band

Starting a band can be super tough, as you may know. And if you do it the wrong way, it can make things even more difficult. It’s crucial to know how to form a new band the right way.

So here are the basic steps to starting a band.

Know What Type Of Band You Want

This is a super important first step. You have to know what kind of group you want to start.

What’s the general genre you want to play? What instruments will you need? Will you primarily be gigging or recording, or both?

Knowing what you need ahead of time will help you find the right people for your band.

Find Musicians

Now that you have a basic vision, it’s time to find band members. You’ll need them to be talented (obviously), reliable, and easy to get along with.

Here are some ways to connect with other musicians:

  • Visit parts of your city where buskers play — maybe you’ll hear someone playing on the street who would be interested in joining a band
  • Join Facebook groups for musicians in your area and post a “wanted ad”
  • Go to local songwriters or musician groups that meet in your city on a regular basis
  • Use the old fashioned “poster on a telephone pole” method with tear-off tabs that list your number or email

Then interview potential members like it’s a job interview. Come up with a set of questions to ask each person and try to get a feel for their vibe.

Could you be in a band with this person long-term?

Create Band Rules

Even Coldplay, one of the biggest and most successful bands today, has a list of band rules. It’s basically a number of things that each member agrees to do or not do, and rules for the group as a whole.

You should have something like this.

I’m not saying you should be fighting about recording or songwriting royalty splits (if you are, that might be a sign that it’s not going to work). You have to have a joint mission, a common vision, a passion for the same things.

So a simple list of rules for every band member to follow is a great idea. That way, everyone is on the same page.

This could include things like:

  • When and how often will you practice?
  • Where will you practice?
  • Where and how often will you play shows?
  • Who does what in preparation for shows (booking, merch, setup, teardown, etc.)?
  • How do you make decisions as a band? Is someone “the boss” or will you vote on it?

Start Playing Gigs

This one is obvious. The only way to get better as a band is to play together as much as possible. Practicing together is the first step, but playing for a live audience is a whole new thing.

The more you perform together, the better you’ll understand how each member handles their instrument, what their onstage demeanor is like, and whether or not you’ll bond in the process. This is where you’ll really see if this group of people can make this band work.

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Caleb J. Murphy is a songwriter and producer based in Austin, TX. He’s also the founder of Musician With A Day Job, a blog that helps part-time musicians succeed.