As musicians, there are times when we want to meet and collaborate with other people. If you want to make music or start a music business, it is extremely difficult to do so on your own, so the most common solution is to form a band or look for a band with which you can collaborate.
There are 5 things in this blog that I want you to know before you start looking for a band or even preparing for it.
Finding a Band
Make an Image
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Try to get a good idea of what you want to play, but also try to learn songs that aren't directly related to your current interest. You're unlikely to find a band that always plays exactly what you want, so be prepared to compromise. It can be a rewarding experience to learn something new that you would not normally learn. If you want to be a gigging guitarist, you'll need to perform anywhere from cafes to bars to weddings to festivals. The more you know, the more appealing you will be. Many guitarists will have a basic understanding of hundreds of popular cover band songs. While you may be able to play Steve Vai's entire back catalog, you're much more likely to be asked to play Mustang Sally.
There is a distinction to be made between practicing, learning a song, and rehearsing. Take note of these.
Practicing is the tedious part where you do scales, arpeggios, and learn licks. It usually ends up, at least for me, with me noodling and having fun but not really improving. You must be committed to your practice schedule.
It's exactly as simple as it sounds to learn the song. It's something you do between rehearsals at home, not in a rehearsal room where you're paying for the time. Pay close attention to the music. Find the gaps, the annoyances, the quieter and louder sections. Play along with the recording, and try to use multiple resources to figure out what the guitarist(s) are playing. There are numerous TABs and YouTube videos, but many of them are incorrect, so be aware that they may not be accurate. What do you think about it? Do the tunings, arrangements, or methods differ between videos? Determine which one you believe will work best for you. If the song has multiple versions, make sure you're learning the same one as the rest of the band in the same key. If it's an original song, try to think of things other guitarists have done in songs and apply them to your own.
Rehearsal is the time when you and your band can put the song(s) together. Arrive on time and with all necessary equipment. Rehearsing can be enjoyable, but it necessitates some self-control. Neither alcohol nor marijuana will help. Set up, tune up, and get ready as soon as possible. Warm up and play a practice tune to get the band in the mood. Work out any kinks in the songs so that everyone knows which part goes where, and try to run them through professionally. You can focus on the parts that aren't working. You don't have to play the entire song every time.
Rehearsals are used to sort out the various parts and how they connect. Before going to rehearse, you should all know your parts, but you may find that the interplay within the band causes parts to meet to change. Don't be too concerned about it; it's how bands improve. After that, you can always get a beer. In fact, it's a good idea to get together and discuss how the rehearsal went, what you should do, how you should dress, and so on.
If the band spends the entire rehearsal arguing, messing around, showing off, or drinking/smoking/snorting, it could be a sign that the band isn't going anywhere, and you should jump ship. There will always be other bands. Rehearsals are a terrible place to go on a date. Don't bring your girlfriend/boyfriend, and don't bring anyone who isn't a member of the band.
Rehearsals are also an excellent opportunity to snap a few photos. It will benefit your band's social media.
Rehearsals are NOT the place to find out how loud you can play.
Finding a Band
Trying to find a band that plays the music you like is obvious, but also try to find a band whose members you like. You'll be spending a lot of time with them, possibly for several days.
While being at the same level of playing is beneficial, you never want to be the best instrumentalist in the band because playing with better people is what improves you as a player.
Remember that if you're a cover band, you may have to make some sacrifices in terms of song selection. Unless you have extremely diverse tastes or are a tribute act, chances are someone will want to perform a song you don't particularly care for sooner or later. It happens to everyone, so suck it up and do a couple of songs you don't like unless there are a lot of them. You might grow to like them, or you might change your role to something you prefer.
Playing live can be intimidating. It's supposed to get the adrenaline pumping, resulting in a better performance. But, while we're on the subject of adrenaline, keep in mind that it can interfere with your sense of time, so try to keep your pace slow. Nerves are not helped by alcohol or drugs. When the stones were falling, Hendrix could play brilliantly. You're not Jimi Hendrix!
Only a few people are so nervous that they can't play live. After a couple of years of playing, if you're literally throwing up before a pub gig, you might want to reconsider whether it's worth the pain.
You can calm your nerves by knowing your parts well, and if you make a mistake, just keep going. The majority of your audience will not notice a couple of bad notes.
Try to get in the habit of quickly turning your songs around. Nobody wants to wait a long time between songs. Take note of how quickly professional bands transition between songs. If you're the front person, keep a few jokes on hand for when things go wrong and you need to fill in.
No one is interested in your politics, religion, or social awareness unless you are a political or religious band.
If you appear to be having fun, your audience is more likely to do so as well.
Dress to the nines. Unless it is specifically your image, you should not wear the same clothes you wear every day to your gig.
Make an Image
Mention your act's name frequently. Acts are increasingly foregoing business cards in favor of a QR code that can be scanned directly onto a smartphone to display your act's information.
Make friends with any sound people you come across. They have the power to make you sound good or bad. In the set, thank them.
Engage your audience. Encourage them to sing along if a song has a sing-along section. If you're in a cover band and playing at a party, learn Happy Birthday.
Try to be courteous to other bands. If you play in a band in the area for a while, you'll meet a lot of the same people in different bands. So, before you trash another act, keep in mind that you might one day be auditioning for someone from that band.
The most important thing, of course, is to have fun.