HOW TO START
YOUR OWN BAND (PART 1):
FORMATION & FOUNDATION
Bands are a prime source of
inspiration for many guitar players out there, both young and old.
As your guitar skills
progress, it is often a logical step to start thinking about forming a band,
especially if you know people who have some musical flair as well. So how does
one start a band?
There is no set way to start
a band, as bands like The Killers, U2, and Hanson, have all proved.
You can start a successful
band in a variety of different ways
- Putting an ad in a
- Playing with your
- Getting the family
However, all good bands have
one thing in common -- a solid foundation.
Creating a solid foundation
for your band is important to prevent structural failure (commonly known as
splitting up!) down the track.
Continual success for the
band (whether you judge that by the amount of gigs you play, the enjoyment you
get out of jam sessions, or the amount of hits on your website) is largely
dependent on getting all the components right from the start. This is the
Building on a faulty
foundation will produce a shaky structure at best. It is therefore wise to iron
out even the smallest issues in the band from the very beginning. Here are a few
tips to getting a band started and building a solid foundation.
The first components to
think about are the people, the music, and the instruments.
They all need to meld
together seamlessly for your band to get off the ground. Decide what music you
would like to play, decide on the people you would like in the band, and know
what instruments those people play. Difficulties will arise if the people in the
band don't want to play similar music, or you wind up with three drummers and no
vocalist, or if you all have different ideas.
Talk in depth with the
people you would like involved in the project. Once you have that sorted, do you
have the minimal instrumental requirements for a band? The basic band will have
a vocalist, a guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer. At the very least, do you
have these covered? When you have the right people, and have sorted out their
roles, it's time for a jam session.
The jam session is where
creative difference, individual playing styles, and personal thought processes
will become apparent. It will also be one of the most crucial times for the
band, as differences of opinion frequently arise. Be patient! Your first jam
session could be difficult as you learn each others styles and habits. Take
notes on the events of the jam session. Also allow solo time for each individual
member, letting them voice their thoughts as well.
Finally, you need to open up
channels of communication between band members now! Band members should have the
opportunity to express their thoughts on the other members playing styles, as
well as the general direction of the band, and the music that the band is
playing. It will be impossible to survive if you take each others advice and
suggestions as criticism. Don't site Oasis as a reason to continually feud. It
is only a very special kind of relationship that can turn feuding into
When the band feels
harmonious, and the jam sessions are going well, it is time to belt out some
Avoid doing original
material first! Producing original material is a complex task at the best of
times. It should not be attempted immediately by a fresh band. Instead, get a
list of five simple cover songs that everyone in the band likes. Get band
members to write a list of five simple songs on a piece of paper. From each
list, allow the band to vote on one song to play. Everyone will then have a song
from their list, and everyone will be happy with the songs chosen.
Finally, take it one song at
a time. Allow plenty of time to get a song right. If one is clearly not working,
move on or leave it for another day. But be prepared to put what you learnt in
your jam sessions to good use. Take notes, keep communication lines open, make
suggestions. You're band should now be well on it's way to belting out some
solid tunes… you're thinking about performing live now right?