Forming A Band

Q: Afton from Mobile, AL asks: I am a singer/songwriter and interested in forming a band around my songs. Any suggestions on how to go about doing this?

A: Some say that a band is like a marriage between a group of people. In the beginning, when you’re a young solo artist, it’s more like dating, or perhaps even just going to the school dance.

Don’t seek out a band that you plan to marry and spend the rest of your life with. Date around first.

Start by asking friends. Just talk to people you like and respect. Good people tend to surround themselves with good people. Ask people you like if they know any musicians looking for a band.

Depending on what stage you are at in your career, you can go about this in different ways. If you’re just starting out without much of a following, plan on your band also performing with other bands. It’s rare to get a band to commit strictly to you, especially when you don’t have a lot to offer. But that’s okay. As you grow, hopefully they will grow with you.

If you’re an established solo artist, finding a band might come a little easier.

Don’t be afraid to post “wanted” ads on the Internet. My primary advice here is to be as specific as possible in your ad. Don’t take out an ad that says “Singer / Songwriter looking for a drummer.”  You’re going to get all sorts of unwanted responses with an ad like that.

Here are some guidelines for a good ad:

Specifically describe your music using as much detail as possible, or better yet offer a link for people to listen.

How often do you play out?  And do you want to play more than you do currently?

What are your short and long term goals?

Do you want musicians with a certain playing style, fashion style, or age-range?  If so, specifically describe each.

Do you want musicians that live in your area?  If so, talk about the area where you live, play out, and rehearse.

Do you make money?  How much do you plan to pay these musicians, if anything?  Discuss that topic in your ad.

Do you currently tour?  Some musicians can’t travel. And just because you one day hope to tour, don’t discount someone because they can’t travel. Almost everyone would happily quit their day job for the right tour. Worry about making great music first. Cover these things in your ad, and it will eliminate a lot of unwanted responses.

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