Do you spend hours of your time lying on your kitchen floor and wondering “What if I started a band?” Probably not, but starting a band is still a good idea. Whether you had no idea you wanted to start a band until right this instant, or you possess the motivation but lack knowledge on how to get started, you’ve stumbled upon the right article. It’s time to transform your dreams into a reality.
1 – PICK YOUR INSTRUMENT/PARTNER IN LIFE
Find an instrument you enjoy playing, then spend hours trying to teach it to yourself using YouTube videos. You could look around your local telephone pole and you’d probably find at least three broke college students offering cheap lessons on your instrument of choice, too. Practice makes perfect, so keep playing until you don’t sound quite so terrible. Spend time with that instrument. Fall in love with it, because you will spend the rest of your (hopefully long) band life with it by your side.
You could choose the instrument you took lessons with for 10 years, or a completely unfamiliar one. Tons of world-famous musicians had no idea how to play when they started bands. Why not you?
2 – FIND PEOPLE
Unless you’re striving to become a one-man band, you need like-minded individuals to join your ensemble. If you don’t have any friends with the same musical interests as you, socialize at concerts or find people through excessive Facebook mutual friend stalking. Look for commitment in these new band members, or your happy group will fracture before the 4th rehearsal. It’s hard to play music when every other member schedules their dentist appointments over your band meeting. Find dedicated musicians who are willing to put in time and effort into this endeavour. That means practicing on their own time as well as collectively with the rest of the band.
3 – FIND A SPACE
Try to find a space where your music won’t offend anyone. Garages are prime real estate, as are thick-walled basements. Semi-empty garages can be very inspiring, but make sure they aren’t messy to the point where you and your instruments are in danger of getting hurt. If you chose to play in a non-industrial area it is crucial to respect your neighbours and keep the noise level to a minimum. You probably don’t sound great; most of your musicians are likely still learning their instruments. Beware of midnight or early-morning band rehearsals unless you want very angry neighbours.
4 – CHOOSE A NAME
Human beings like to judge a book by its cover. In this case, you’re going to be judged by your band name. It’s important to make your name unique and fitting to the kind of music you play. There are many band name generators on the internet that can help you out if you’re really stuck. At same time, don’t spend too much time thinking about your band name. There doesn’t have to be a significant meaning behind it. Many bands just pick something because they think it sounds cool, which is totally fine. In the end, it’s the music that is going to create fans, not a name.
5 – COVER SONGS
Before you tackle any of your own songs, try a few covers. This way the parts are already figured out and you can focus instead on keeping the tempo, rhythm, and synchrony intact. Start out with simple songs and move on to more difficult ones. Just figuring out different parts to a song is great practice and understanding other peoples’ works will help when you start writing your own music.
6 – WRITE MUSIC
There are 2 ways you could go about doing this: either each band member can write music on their own time then bring it over during rehearsals, or you could write music collectively. Writing music comes naturally to some people, and for others it takes a whole lot of work. Try looking at a basic online course in musical theory to help you understand the basics of composition, and go from there.
7 – EQUIPMENT/RECORDING SOFTWARES
When you’re just starting to record, getting some cheap equipment and setting up studio in your rehearsal space is the least expensive way to go. There are tons of recording devices out there that beginners can use easily, such as the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder. If you have a Mac OS X or iOS computer, GarageBand is a pre installed software and can work magic once you get used to it. Like (arguably) most Mac products, it’s very user friendly. It includes guitar features, MIDI editing and software lessons. If you don’t have a Mac, Audacity is a free, open source software for editing and recording audio. It’s very basic but it does its job. If you’re rolling in the dough, you could splurge for some higher quality mixing software like Logic Pro.
8 – ADVERTISING, THE PUBLIC AND FAME
The Internet will be your agent. Your job is to generate a lot of hype. Make people WANT you. Make people KNOW about you. Make a Facebook page, upload your music to Bandcamp, and plaster links on every social network website you’re a part of, to the point where your friends will hate you for clogging their news feed. You know what? You don’t care, because now people know about your band.
9 – GIGS
Start out playing at local community events. They may not pay a lot, and maybe the Salmonberry Festival isn’t punk rock enough for your band, but they will make way for better gigs. Take any opportunity that you can to expose new people to your music. Look for restaurants that hold open mic nights, local talent shows, community festivals, and music showcases. Invite everyone you know. Some will show up, and they might bring friends.
10 – HAVE FUN