Congratulations on learning the fundamentals of playing the guitar!
Now, it’s time for you to start a band.
While it is indeed fun to play at your own leisure, it’s a lot more exciting to share your music with others who have the same passion.
Performing in a band also keeps you motivated in honing your craft. Band members need to agree on songs they play, which means you’ll have to practice and work hard to keep up with the rest of the band. More than that, you can get your band’s help in perfecting your instrument in a synchronized manner.
Besides learning how to play an instrument, read music, hit the right notes, or use a wide array of guitar accessories, you need the right mindset to begin your own musical group. It doesn’t matter how old or how skilled you think you are. You can form a band with strangers having the same love for music or friends for weekly jam sessions.
Don’t know how to begin? Here are five steps on how you can start a band:
Step #1: Gather the Members of the Band
Before you can even begin to think about performing, you must first gather members of your band together. You would need a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and a singer in a traditional band. However, many modern bands today can comprise just about any type of musician.
Pianists, horn players, synth-players, and even multi-instrumentalists can complete a musical group. You may not even need someone who plays the guitar anymore. Of course, if you have a couple of popular acoustic guitars and electric guitars and play them well, it would be a waste not to use them.
While you can have just about any instrument, there are two types that are essential to a musical group: a drum set (either electronic or acoustic) and an instrument that can hold down the low end of the music. The latter can be a synthesizer, an upright bass, a bass guitar, or even a piano.
After deciding on the musicians you want to play with, it’s time to scour your neighborhood for the right people. Make posters that describe the sound and instruments you need in your band, with strips containing your name and contact information that can be torn off by those who are interested.
Social media can also be useful in this step. You can reach a lot of new people via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Of course, the simplest way to start a band is to bring your friends together and see what you can come up with the talent and interest everyone in your group has. If they can’t join themselves, they might know someone who’s interested in joining and would be a good fit.
Step #2: Find (or Create) a Rehearsal Space
If you are fortunate enough to live in a place with rehearsal spaces for rent, you can skip this step. But if not, you may need to bring out your tools and start soundproofing a room.
Besides music studios, many musicians have started their journey rehearsing in garages, basements, apartment clubhouses, storage spaces, and church recreation centers. Finding a space to practice in is not the issue; keeping it is the challenging part.
If you’re eyeing a spot with neighbors that can be disturbed and may call the police on you for being too loud, you must soundproof your rehearsal space. Pro soundproofing can be expensive, so you might need to improvise.
Carpets are your best option in DIY soundproofing. You can buy from a thrift shop or even get them for free from previous installations.
You can also buy remnants or carpet scraps. These may not look great, but they’re cheap.
To start the project, you must create a room inside another room as air space – like carpets – between divided spaces effectively deadens the reverberation. This will reduce the sound that comes off from the property while allowing you to hear each instrument clearly.
Step #3: Figure Out Your Sound
While your sound is something that pops up naturally over time, you can get a good idea of what it might be earlier if you look for it intentionally.
During your first band meeting, discuss your musical influences, favorite artists, and common genres. It is highly likely that the sound you’re looking for is somewhere within the lines of your musical inspirations.
Don’t forget to ask members for any songs they’ve already written and figure out the genre they usually write in.
After that, hold a jam session and note the sounds that come up organically. These genres are what feel most natural for all the members of the band.
Another crucial thing to remember is to choose a genre that your singer can perform well. Keep in mind that while instrumentalists can change their gear, singers only have one: their voices.
Since singers lend the most important element of a song, instrumentalists should adjust accordingly.
Step #4: Start Writing Your Songs
Writing songs is arguably the most exciting part of forming a band. After all, there’s nothing better than expressing your passion, going wild, and allowing your creativity to flow.
But before you begin, you must first learn to perform a few covers. Though it may sound boring, playing cover songs is necessary as it allows your group to practice playing together before you invest more time and creative juices in making originals.
Plus, doing this will make the entire process of writing original songs so much easier. Once you’ve established harmony across the band, you can already dive into the writing process, beginning with 12 songs.
Of course, quality should always be prioritized over quantity. It’s better to have six awesome songs than 12 mediocre ones. Just take your time and play some covers until you’ve written enough.
Don’t forget to have each song copyrighted.
Step #5: Choose a Band Name
Naming your band is crucial if you’re planning to perform in shows. Fortunately, brainstorming a name can also be done while you write songs.
One excellent technique you can try is the stream-of-consciousness-style word combos. Gather all the members of the band and ask them for word combinations that they can think of. Within an hour, you’ll have tons of potential band names, with at least ten to 15 good ones.
Ready for the Stage?
Before you can be ready to hit the stage, you must prepare your band to jive well. Besides the steps listed in this article, you’ll need lots and lots of practice until you can attract and hold an audience from the stage.
Amrit Shivlani is the Founder and CEO at Music Majlis, a community-driven e-commerce platform that offers a wide variety of musical instruments and equipment for every musician and sound professional. The company’s goal is to make music-making, recording, producing and mixing accessible and available to everyone.