How to start an original band
Well, I'm 17, and I know this may be late in my life because I'm going to college next year but I want to start a band. I'm not expecting to get big, but I do want to have fun and advance my skills. I just would like advice and words of encouragement. My friend and I just started writing a song together and I actually wrote another today by myself. If you have anything to say I'd love to hear it!
Dude, there is no "late in life" when it comes to music but even if there was 17 is not "late in life".
Write more songs. Rewrite them. Record them, tweak them, rearrange them. Perform them and gauge audience reaction.
Then write more songs, rewrite, etc. for the rest of your life.
Its hard to get started. To find the right mix of guys with commitment, with the right musical skills, and to accumulate all the right equipment.
I am not sure what kind of music you are playing, but I would start small. For example, guitar and two voices if that fits your music. Or a keyboard player and drummer (since keyboard players can handle the bass). Or do a keyboard singer arrangement.
Find some places to play so people can hear you, and get a feel for whether the music is good enough to interest people. If its encouraging, consider expanding the band.
Another alternative is to start with a recording. Make a good recording with musicians who will come in and play, or contribute something to the quality of the music. Record it, and get your friends to listen to it, put it here and get opinions, and if it's pretty good, consider expanding the band.
I have found the hardest bands are the ones where there is no set leader and everyone has a say. It takes forever to make decisions, and a lot of your ideas get quashed by others who may nor may not have an informed opinion.
IN short = figure out a way of testing the musical quality of your work before you make a huge investment (time, or otherwise) in putting together a band.
You're 17 and you think that it's late in life?
I started playing guitar at 16, bass at 18 and keys at 40. Since then I have toured, played with and opened for many well known classic rock artists.
I also started playing ice hockey at 13 and played varsity at the age of 14 then went on to play in "A" level and Pro-Am leagues and also competed in tournaments in the United States and Canada.
If you really enjoy it, there is no such thing as late in life to do anything.
Thank you very much, it means a lot. And I was aiming for more punk rock if you were wondering. I guess it feels late because all of my friends started learning guitar around 2nd grade and I never did. I got my bass for my 17th birthday and flipped ****. Best present ever. I'm going to take all of your advice and put it to good use. Thank you for the encouragement I'm glad I have found people who understand
Frst off it's alot of work starting any band so know that right away. Tell those trying out that you are an original band and if they are into covers this might not be where they want to go.
Work behind the scenes writing and working on the music so practices go smooth. Do not come to practices and say "let's jam and see if we can write something". If you do this don't expect people to hang long.
Know what you want to play and where the band is going. Being so young you will play parties and maybe a few clubs that cater to young bands. You will not get paid so don't say you will. Learn to work together and have fun.
It never hurts to do a few covers to break the ice or gain ideas and styles from them. Good Luck.
17 is not a late start, and college is a great place to meet other musicians. Besides, in a year or two your musical tastes will expand, shift or change, and it will be good to have a large pool of people to look to. Just remember to keep it fun. It can get serious, and even stressful, but if the sense of fun and accomplishment isn't there, it'll be hard to stay motivated.
I picked up the Bass at 44 & was in a band 2 1/2 monthes later, playing all originals.
2 1/2 years later we are performing as a lobby band in local hotels, doing dinner shows & playing coffee houses - still doing only our originals.
We are (finally) making enough money to afford recording time, scheduled in January.
It is a labor of Love, keep to it... Great things can happen!!
GOOD LUCK MAN!! ~Vanessa
I hate to say the same thing as everyone else, but...17? late in the game?!, not even close. I am 32 and started an original band last year. Being a musician, means that music is always a part of your life, no matter how old you are. I started playing bass at 10, and drums at 30, and I can tell you it only gets better with age :)
Now, as far as HOW to do it, here is my process:
1. Determine that you're going to do it no matter what. (persistence is gold)
2. Find creative individuals who can actually play their instruments. Especially a good drummer, and a guitar player that isn't all flash and no substance.
3. Make sure all individuals are on the same page. Define goals, set expectations, develop friendships, ensure all know how to communicate musical ideas. (Theory knowledge etc.)
4. Shut up and play. If you can get a drummer, guitarist, and/or keyboardist, vocalist, kazoo player, etc into a room, and you can just play skillfully, its a win.
5. Record your practices. Worst case scenerio, you end up having something "allright" to listen to later. Best case, you reverse-engineer a beautiful song or riff that came from pure creativity. Freely exchange ideas.
6. Get to know other bands, go to a bunch of local shows (as a band if possible), get to know the scene you'll be playing in, foster relationships with other bands, meet show promoters, owners,etc.
7. Set a firm goal for how many songs you want to do live, write & practice, deconstruct, let everyone have a chance to experiment with the songs.
8. Once you've got an hour worth of material, or whatever your goal is down SOLID, look for gigs.
9. Craft a set list of the songs, and put them in order for maximum crowd effect. Also think about what you will do between songs.
10. Be on time, and play them gigs!
Good luck to you.
Read my award winning thread here:
Take from it the things you want. The biggest thing when starting an original band, even at your age, is make it clear what your purpose is (just for fun, writing and performing together, get a major label contract, etc.) and also make it clear how someone comes and goes in the band and who gets the band/name if one leaves or you break up. Even at your age, ego and "Hey, that is mine, I did all that stuff" syndrome sets in quickly.
For the rest, just have fun.
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