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How To Start a Band

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Starting a band is both really easy and really hard. But if you practice hard and set your mind to rocking out, you're likely to do just fine. Here are some tips on how to get a band started on the right foot.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: A couple of minutes to a couple of hours

Here's How:

  1. Find some other people who make music -- or want to. Most bands have a guitar player, a bassist, a drummer and a singer of some sort, but you don't have to follow that formula. You can have two bass players, a keyboardist, even a tuba or a computer DJ.
  2. Decide together what style of music you want to play. You don't have to stick to one style, but it's helpful to agree upon what kind of music you're going to make when you get things started.
  3. Alternatively, you may want to pick the style of music first and then find other people who are into that style. Know a bunch of people who are into emo or punk but don't play instruments? Here's a great opportunity to learn. In fact, lots of famous bands have done it this way.
  4. Find a place to practice. (This is a biggie.) Does someone have a soundproof garage or parents who are hard of hearing? Can you practice at your school or at a local youth center, church or YMCA? Get creative.
  5. If you don't have instruments already, you'll need to buy or rent 'em. Same goes for pedals, amps and other necessities. See if you can get your parents to pitch in or consider pooling money with your bandmates to buy items that you can all share.
  6. Start playing music together. A little jam session can go a long way, even if you're not a superstar yet. Use your first few get-togethers to come up with some song ideas and be sure to write them down.
  7. Write some music. Use your ideas from the jam sessions to help you get started. Find someone who's great at writing lyrics, too. Get together at somebody's house or the local coffee shop and work out your ideas. Then pick a few songs to try out at the next band practice.
  8. Set a regular time to practice. Once you've got some material to practice, get everyone to agree to a regular time to get together.
  9. Write, write, write. Practice, practice, practice.
  10. When your band can play a few songs, spread the word. Tell people at school about it, as well as people you know from other places (work, church, the neighborhood, etc.).
  11. When everyone in the band feels ready, let your music be heard. Enter a battle of the bands contest, rock the cafeteria after school's out (with permission, of course) or play a friend's birthday party.
  12. When you have a good roster of tunes, record some of your favorites. Make them into mp3s and/or put them on a CD, upload some samples on MySpace or another website that lets bands promote themselves, then encourage your friends to check it out. Consider handing out copies of your music at your live shows, too.
  13. Don't forget to keep practicing and coming up with new material. Your fans will thank you for it!

Tips:

  1. Try to make band decisions based on consensus. If some members feel their voices aren't being heard or that their opinions don't matter, things can get ugly.
  2. It's usually easiest to choose one leader for the band. Make sure everyone knows how to get in touch with this person.
  3. In fact, it's good for everyone to exchange contact information in case practice gets rescheduled or you have ideas you want to share.
  4. Deal with ego problems early on: It's no fun if someone is a drama queen, a stage hog or a self-centered jerk. If someone is behaving this way, find a tactful way of mentioning that everyone needs to work together.
  5. Awesome bands don't just happen overnight. The more you practice, the better you're likely to be.

What You Need:

  • instruments and sound equipment
  • other people who love music as much as you do
  • a place to practice
  • a way of getting your gear to practice and gigs
  • lots of ideas for songs and lyrics
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