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How to Start a Band

Forming a Band  



How To Start A Band | Forming A Band

Page updated 3/1/2016


How To Start A Band  What do you need to start a band in your area? We offer tips on band creation opportunities for young musicians.  So how do I start a band?  Typically that is the first question that pops up if you have been playing a musical instrument for a while.  If you feel like you have the drive and talent to start a band, start talking to friends at school or work to see if anyone in the area plays an instrument.  You may need several musicians for any rock band, garage band, or local band.  Networking is the key.  In order to survive in a band you need to have a love of music.  Whether you are playing cover songs or original music it takes hard work and long hours to successfully play gigs or shows. 

While some musicians can get rich playing music, the reality is that local musicians rarely make a lot of money at first.  Recruit some quality musicians and find some rehearsal space to get a band started.  You really have to love music and playing live.  If you feel you have the intensity and drive, here are the steps to help you start a band or form a music group.  This article assumes that you already know how to play and instrument or sing at a quality level.

  • Recruiting Musicians For Your Band - If you are lucky you may know a few friends in the area or in your school or workplace.  That makes it a lot easier to rehearse since you are all local.  It can be a little harder if you have to recruit or find musicians.  Don’t get discouraged most times it is easier than you think.  There are many musicians out there looking to play gigs and shows.  Some of the easiest ways to recruit musicians are to place classified ads with Craigslist, local newspapers (they may charge fees), or putting up flyers at your local music store.  Many music stores have bulletin boards where you can post advertisements.  The flyer can be as simple word document or can be professionally done.  Basically, just include the pertinent information in a simple straight forward manner.  For example, Local Guitarist in search of Drummer, Bass Player, and Singer to start Hard Rock Band.  Covers and Original music in the style of Van Halen or AC/DC.  At the bottom of the page make about 6 to 10 tear offs with your contact info.  This way the person looking at the ad can just tear off that small contact piece of paper and leave your musicians wanted flyer in tact.
  • Music Genre – Instrumentation – Original Music vs. Covers - While you may enjoy a certain genre of music like Grunge or Hard Rock, the musicians you recruit may have different music tastes.  It’s important that you get together with your fellow musicians and decide the direction of the band.  While the typical form of a rock band is guitarist, vocalist, bass, and drums there are many other instruments that may pertain to your style of music.  Do you need a keyboardist?  Can your musicians sing backup vocals?
  • Direction of the Band - Usually someone in the band starts to take charge of decisions on music genre or instrumentation.  The more seasoned or experienced musicians, may have a good idea of the direction they would like to take with the band.  Are there more opportunities to make money as a wedding band playing top 40 or oldies tunes?  Tribute bands tend to do well in certain markets as well, but do you want to play cover songs all your life.  Has your band written some good original music?  If that’s the case, try to hit the local music venues, pubs, or bars in your area that cater to live music.  Sit down early in the band formation process and decide the direction for the band.  That’s not to say you can’t change your music genre later, but it’s good to at least have a goal to work towards.
  • Songwriting / Original Music - As a serious musician you may get sick of playing cover tunes at some point in your career.  When forming a band decide if you want to play original music.  Usually someone in the band takes a lead and presents ideas to the band.  The creative process is great in this respect.  The songwriter may have an idea in mind that turns into something totally different than what they expected.  The bass player may add a walking bass line or the drummer could add a rock beat that makes the song pop.  Keep track of who writes the songs and contributes to each song.  You will need to use this info when you get your music copyrighted.  It’s important to copyright your music especially if you start recording.  Many social media websites would like you to only post music that is copyrighted as well.  For example, MySpace for bands may ask you if the material is copyrighted before they let you post songs.  Also if your band starts to take off and you will want to join a Performance Rights Organization.  They will help your band to collect Royalties if your original music is ever used publically.
  • Band Promotion - Promoting your band is probably one of the things least talked about when starting a band.  There are certain materials that you absolutely need to book shows, promote your music, and eventually gain a fan base.  Bands need to make music promotion and band promotion a priority.


Band Promotion Materials

What every band needs to do to get gigs (shows) and gain a fan base

  • Band Press Kit – Your band needs a press kit to send to booking agents for venues who offer live music.  Most band media kits include a band bio, type of music, song list, demo CD, and other pertinent band info. 
  • Band Demo – A three to four song demo of the music you will play at the venue, pub, or open microphone night.  Choose your three best songs.  If you have not recorded a demo visit our home recording page for tips on recording a professional demo.  These are DIY (do it yourself tips) that may save you money in the long run. 
  • Band Website – Many bands have their own domain name for their band website.  Search for open domain names through this link to Ipower. Host your Web site with IPOWER! Ipower also has tools to develop a website as well.  Social Media websites work as well, it’s just more professional to have your own official website.   If you are a band on a budget try these Social Media Websites for bands.  Many offer free band pages.
  • Social Media Band Websites - Below is a list of Social media websites for bands.  Many are free, but please research them to see which ones work best for your band.  Many of these sites offer the ability to upload your songs for free.  Visitors to you page can actually listen to your music, learn about the band, and possibly buy your music if it’s available for sale.  These social media band websites can offer cost effective ways to promote your music. 

Starting A Band - Resources