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.
Getting Off the Ground
Find musicians.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 (although a band can go without bass), 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.
- 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.
Pick your genre(s).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.
Nail down your look.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.
Method 1 Quiz
Where can you find musicians?
With Members at the Ready
Consider making an inter band 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.
- 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.
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.
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. 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.
Begin writing songs.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).
Come up with a name.Youcouldpick 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.
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.
- 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!
Method 2 Quiz
How many songs do you need in order to headline a show?
Getting Ready to Live the Dream
Start searching for gigs.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.
Buy equipment.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.
Spread the word.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!
Start a mailing list to reach other people.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.
Put a video of your band on YouTube.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.
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.
- 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).
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. 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.
Remember that publicity is a big thing in the music industry, and if you want to make yourselves look good, what better way to do that then through charity events.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.
Don't be afraid to ask."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!
Method 3 Quiz
True or False: Venues only need a demo before booking you.
Help Forming a Band
QuestionOnce I have formed a band, how do we work on getting a record deal?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPick a record label you like and record a demo. Send it in to them but don't be surprised if you get rejected; you will probably need to try many labels to begin with. If you are still not successful, then record some new songs and try again. There are also options for releasing your music online without getting a record deal, and these may be a great way to break into the market initially, and retain control over your label.Thanks!
QuestionDo you have any suggestions for a band whose members are too young to rent facilities?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMost schools can help if they have facilities. First, ask the music teachers as they could probably suggest which facilities can be used and might offer advice as to what is appropriate by way of holding a concert. Also check out community meeting places and community hubs which have spare rooms to rent out by the hour or even free for those in need. In terms of equipment, your school's music teacher is the best person to begin with.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I get members for my band?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAsk people that you know might want to be in it. If they say "no," then just move on and ask some other people. If you are popular on social media, you could also try promoting on there, and asking people to message you for a change to audition and join your band.Thanks!
QuestionHow old do I have to be to form a band?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can form a band at any age! As long as you have the talent, confidence, and interest, you're ready to start playing.Thanks!
QuestionWhere should my band perform?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt mostly depends on your genre, such as if you play classical music, then you could possibly play at a library. Or, if you play somewhere along the lines of rock music, you could play at clubs and bars, etc. Or, check into festivals, because some festivals have stages set up for local bands so that they gain recognition.Thanks!
QuestionCan a band have only two members?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can absolutely be a band with two members. Look at how successful Twenty One Pilots are and they are a two-man band. You can also be a band with only one person, like Panic! At The Disco.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I put on the band agreement?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhatever you guys agree on what should be in it. It depends on what everyone in the band thinks, and all of you should stay open minded about the potential changes and pathway into the future.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I fund my band's equipment?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could get a job. Not a permanent job, but something like a clerk at a local supermarket. Or, sell all the bits and pieces you no longer need, using eBay or similar.Thanks!
QuestionI want to start a band, but it's girls only. What if everyone laughs at us?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSome of the greatest bands ever are "girls only." Keep trying, and ignore people who make fun of you.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if I'm too young to play gigs and I'm scared to show anyone my music?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
To form a band, find other musicians who are interested in the same type of music as you. For instance, if you play guitar, you may want to find a drummer, a bassist, and a keyboardist. You should also decide who will be the lead singer and come up with a band name. Have band practice at least once a week, and record your songs when you feel like you’re good enough. Once you have a demo tape, use it to find venues in your area who are offering gigs, and always rock out for your fans!
- Never give a member music that is far below or above their level. They'll get bored.
- Don't be afraid to try new things! You don't have to follow the route of other bands and artists. Be yourselves! Be creative!
- Record your practices start to finish using a recorder, or your computer. If you have a great "jam session" and you want to turn it into a song, but have forgotten what you were doing, you can refer to the recorded practice. This also helps you copyright your music.
- When you start off, you may need to play covers. This is not selling out. This is doing what you have to do.
- Create a website for your band and put some of your music on there. It is a good way for people to find out who you are and what you sound like. It's great for reaching fans and making new ones.
- Be prepared to compromise. Multiple members mean multiple viewpoints and desires. Work together as a team, and don't fight over the small things.
- When searching for people to join your band, don't get desperate and just pick friends; find someone with a passion for music that is similar to yours.
- Make sure everyone has a say in decisions and don't let one person make all the decisions.
- If you can't find a paying gig at first, go to the park or find a local mall to play at. Free events are a great way to get your name in circulation.
- Try to see if a friend or anybody you know well can play an instrument (or is willing to start) and has similar music taste to yours. Starting a band with a friend often eliminates disagreements and keeps the band happy.
- Keep a band notebook. It will help you organize everything and note down ideas.
- Have an assistant. You should get an assistant if you learn that you can't manage the group on your own.
- Find bands to share gigs with. This will help you reach more fans and get more gigs. has a feature called "bandFIND | invites" that allows you to send Gig Share invites to other local bands. It's a great way to break the ice.
- Don't put people you can't get along with in your band. It might cause fights and make you unable to stay focused.
- Don't forget what started it. If you start to care about the money more than the music, your plan may fall apart.
- Make sure that the people you choose as band members like the same or very similar types of music. You don't want a drummer who wants to do heavy metal and a vocalist who wants to do pop; you will just be asking for turmoil within the band.
- Remember to check out local gigs/concerts and bands, especially in big cities and in the metros; that's where newcomers and unsigned bands are often discovered. Often major bands go there to look for a new member and/or hold tryouts.
- Be careful who you pick as band members. To help the band progress in as little time as possible, you're going to want to pick fast learners, people who have their act together, people who won't always disagree with you for entertainment, and people who are creative, but not too creative. Be wary of people who drag others down and sulk when asked to do things for others.
- Practice with a metronome (especially when you're alone) and do rhythmic exercises, to keep the band synchronized and avoid performance disasters.
- Find a real rehearsal spot. Not all real bands play in basements despite what you see on TV. You might not always be able to find a place that good when you're just starting off.
- No. 1 band rule: Have fun. Be spontaneous and fun with your music, and just have a great time doing it, even if you don't go too far.
- Include both males and females, this is an extremely common mistake in most bands by all the members being male. (e.g. a female could do the main vocals)
- If you don't have any musician friends, put an ad in the paper or at your local music store. Also try using Craigslist, Whosdoing, and BandFind.
- It will take a long time to find people to start a band with so try advertising it to your friends and maybe even your community.
- Take votes for major decisions so everyone feels like they have some sway in the group.
- Make sure your songs have messages to enlighten the world like John Lennon's "Imagine".
- Stealing someone else's music or name is illegal. Do your own thing.
- Don't let someone in your band just because they are your girlfriend or boyfriend. If you break up, a big mess will be left behind. Yoko Ono is infamous for a reason.
- Don't let any band member have control of the band to the point that all decisions are made by him/her.
- Don't put a person or people in your band who you can't get along with; the last thing you want is for there to be arguments.
- Stay away from drugs and alcohol as much as possible.
- Copyright your work and never show it to an agent or a label director before you do, to avoid having it stolen.
- Make sure everyone in the band is cool with the lead vocalist/frontman. No matter how much you may stress that everyone in the band creates one sound, or everyone has equal parts, nine times out of ten the lead vocalist will become the face of the band, and the one everyone will remember. If no one likes the vocalist as a person this can be a problem.
- Don't change your personality, but recognize when your ego is interfering with the goals of the band.
- Be okay with being shipped (paired romantically) with your band mates. Creepy fanfics insured.
- Don't name the band after a member - even the nicest people can get big egos and the result of being called 'John and the _________s' usually just makes everyone hate John when no one knows who the rest of them are.
Things You'll Need
A place to rehearse
Equipment (Guitars, Drums, Bass, Keyboard, Amplifiers, Microphones, Cables, etc.)
Good band members
Some recording equipment
A good genre of music that is mutually liked
A sound editing program on a well equipped Windows, Linux, or Mac computer with cables to connect the instrument to the Computer
A band adviser or a band manager (optional)
A good song writer
Sources and Citations
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