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How to Start a Rock Band: A guide for beginners

Posted by on November 12, 2018

Photo: Heavymetalmediastudies

As a musician, it will doubtlessly be a goal of yours to start your very own band and experience the thrill of playing to a live audience. Whether your goal is to hit the big time or just to have fun, you need to make sure you are starting out on strong footing and covering all the bases. To get you started, this helpful guide has been put together to take you through the most important things you need to do in order to get started, including finding the right people to play with, the gear you will need, and how to afford the essentials you need to start playing those live gigs.

The dream team

With any good band, every musician involved should be at the top of their game and able to bring their own unique talents and vision to the table to help create a new sound. To achieve this, you need to know how to find the right people. If you’re young, messing about playing with your friends can be a lot of fun, but if you want to take things to the next level, you need to get serious about finding the best musicians for the type of music you want to create. You need to advertise for things such as:

  • A high quality of musicianship, ideally with experience of learning and perfecting their instrument or voice.
  • An interest in the same kind of music as you. When you advertise, be sure to list some of your greatest influences, so those that apply are already on the same page as you and ready to create a distinctive style of music in a genre you all love.
  • Ambition to be a professional musician, as this quality will mean the people you recruit will be eager to turn up on time, think of new song ideas, and actively contribute to both the creative and organizational vision you have going forward.

Once you have all this information locked down, you need to put your advertisements in places the people you want to recruit may hang out. Go to all your local live venues and music shops and ask if you can put your advert on their notice boards to get the word out about your auditions.

Your identity is everything

The name of a band is one of the most critical ways you can let an audience know the genre of music you play. If you’re looking to play death metal, calling yourselves ‘The Daisy Chain’ will not get your music out to the people who can truly appreciate it (unless you want to go for something punk and ironic perhaps, but you need to make this clear when advertising). While this may sound obvious, the point here is that it should not be something decided on quickly or, for a matter of fact, before you have the whole band together.

One of the best pieces of advice on how to name your new band is that it is a collective decision that every member has a say in as this will help them to feel part of something bigger than themselves and get fired up.

Getting the crowd going

Playing your own songs is an amazing experience, but in the early days, you will need to get the crowd fired up even if they have never heard your demos. One great way is to learn cover songs to help the crowd get in the mood to rock out. These choices can be narrowed down depending on the genre of rock you want to play. With a few covers rehearsed and ready to go for your first gigs, there is no way you can fail to get the crowd chanting for more.

The right gear

When you get your band together, it can be assumed everyone will be bringing their own instruments to the practices and performances, so this is a cost you don’t need to concern yourself with, but it is still worth looking at a checklist of what a new band needs to make sure all your hard work for the debut gig doesn’t fall flat because you forgot something important. Items you can’t do without include:

  • A PA system
  • Microphones – the one member of the band who may not have their ‘instrument’ is the singer, so making sure you get a microphone for them is essential (and getting more than one can ensure you amplify some awesome backing vocals too)
  • Branding

This last point might not seem as important but getting the branding right for your band is crucial to creating an image for yourselves, alongside choosing a dynamite name. Once you have your name, get in contact with local artists and commission them to make some logos and posters for your band that you can use to advertise the gigs and get a bass drum cover for so you are instantly recognizable on stage.

Show me the money

Finally, to afford these essentials, you need some start-up cash to get the ball rocking and rolling. The first premier bank offers credit cards that can help you to cover some of the up-front costs of starting a band, which you can then pay back in installments with the money you earn from your gigs so that you don’t have to wait around to get things off the ground.

Putting together a plan of what gigs you are going to play and when, taking notes about how much money you could earn (for example, will the venue pay you a flat fee or will you get a percentage of tickets sold for entry that night?) is crucial. Before you know it, you’ll be someone’s favorite band!

Categorised in: Branding