Audition safety & etiquette for female musicians

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by pocketgroove, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    Hello everyone,

    After a long-time stint with the same band, I'm ready to expand outwards and possibly pick up a second group. I've never done this before, so as a female musician, I'm not sure on some of the rules, etiquette, and precautions one might take.

    Assuming that I'm going to be looking via Craigslist or something along those lines, should I disclose that I'm a female, and when? I know it seems like a stupid question, but I have a lot of anxiety about being a situation where that fact hasn't already been established, and the potential awkwardness that could result, especially if it's not what the band holding auditions had in mind.

    Is it okay (for anyone, really) to ask for help loading gear into the audition space? I always carry my fair share, and I'll take as much as I possibly can, but I can't lift my cabs solo. At the same time, depending on the people in the band, I see where that could be questionable.

    Finally, what are some generally good safety tips/precautions for everyone, but for females in particular? Anything else to watch out for or keep in mind?

    Thanks and best wishes
  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Hi I'm in Toledo so we are almost neighbors. I think it sucks that you have to "inform" the people that you are auditioning for that you are female but I agree with you about getting that face when you show up no one deserves that. I would ask the potential band if you could see them perform before you audition putting them on notice that you aren't desparate to join just any band. I would never go to an audition alone always take a friend and let people know where you are going and at what time and when you arrive take your phone out and make a phone call so the folks there know you have informed someone of your whereabouts. I also don't think it's not a big deal about asking for help loading your gear the men do and to counter that you can offer to help someone with some of their smaller items. I wish you good luck I know you will be successful.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are.

    For safety, always take someone with you to auditions.

    What type of band/music are you looking for?

    You also may want to check out my >500
    TB links below. There's a section on Being in Band that includes info on auditioning and more.
  4. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    The only thing that should matter is that you can play. Male or female shouldn't be an issue. However, if you disclose the fact that you are a female, you will probably experience one of the following: either guys in bands will not take you seriously or they will ask you to audition because they think they can "hook up" with you. I wouldn't disclosed the fact that you are female. Just go to the audition and play your butt off. If they say that they didn't know you are female, all you have to say is that you didn't know that they were male and the only thing that matters is that everyone gets along and plays well together. Nothing wrong with asking for help moving gear. Most people, I've played with have offered to help.
  5. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    One way you could inform people of your gender without making a big deal about it is to make a video of yourself showing off your chops. Two birds with one stone. Or three, since it shows that you're serious.
  6. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    Thanks so far, everyone. See, that's exactly why I'm asking...both perspectives are valid. I'm considering advertising myself normally, then maybe just adding in a single line at the end disclosing it, so it's just fine print, there for people who would have a problem playing with a female musician.

    I'm looking to play covers, probably, and classic rock/blues, and maybe some prog stuff.

    That's a good idea about bringing someone along...I just wasn't sure if it was acceptable or not, but it seems to be.

    Thanks for the links Stumbo, I'll check them out when I get a chance. Big thanks to mjac28 for the positivity and encouragement!
  7. Corbeau


    Dec 14, 2011
    I've auditioned for bands in the past and never had an issue with being female. I never disclosed to the bands that I was female and it didn't matter. I'm sure there are slimebags out there who do want to get into your pants, but fortunately I've been able to avoid them.

    Also, when you are unloading equipment, it's etiquette [at least here] to help out. So, if the rest of the band just stands around while you unload your equipment, then to me, it's a good sign they're not that good.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I'd mention being female in the ad. There's no sense in wasting your time on chauvinist pigs. If I were female, I'd bring along a burly stud or two.

  9. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Insert cool nickname? Nobody's given me one yet. Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2006
    Twin Cities - MN
    I’m not exactly in the same situation (for I am male), but I believe it is close enough to be acceptable. So I hope you don’t mind me chiming in.

    I am blind. Upon first meeting me, folks are often stymied into confusion as to how to fully accept that and move on. Also, I generally have one hand on a white cane, or someone’s shoulder; which adds a challenge to me carrying large/heavy gear.

    Not that long ago, I had applied (via email) to four different bands, where I disclosed that I was blind. I received not one response from any of them.

    When I next ‘applied’, I chose not to disclose my blindness. For obvious reasons, I brought another (the ‘burliest’ looking of my buds) with me to the audition. Those waiting for me were suitably perplexed when I arrived, but after showing off a bit, I was accepted into the fold on the spot.

    I say, if they don’t specify gender in the ad, just arrive on time and give them your best. What more should they expect, eh?
  10. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    All opinions are valid here. Me??? There are a few turn offs.

    1. Bringing friends to audition/rehearsal can be a distraction.

    2. Females in band. I know a bunch of female musicians. A common complaint (from the guys) is girls bring another level of drama. Not better or worse just different. Guys have plenty of drama without any help.

    3. Everyone needs to pull their own weight. Packing all that stuff while a team mate watches is unacceptable.

    4. Hormones do frequently get in the way. Ask Jefferson Airplane, or Fleetwood Mac etc what happened to their bands.

    I frequently share a stage with a female as a duo or sit in or jam etc but I will not be in a band with a girl. Please disclose at first opportunity.

    You guys can flame away at my honesty but then "you asked". I've never been good at "political correctness".

    Really good news!!! Girls bring a level of vocals that guys can't get. There are girls that play circles around me. There are bands that specifically want a girl on bass.

    Good luck with your search.
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Well there you go. You are exactly the reason she should mention that she's female in her ad. No sense in wasting time on folks sharing that perspective.

    As far as bringing someone along to the audition, I'll just say safety first.
  12. Hi.

    +1 for mentioning Your gender in the ad.

    For multitude of reasons.

    One of the biggest reasons IMHO/IMLE is that when on tour with a limited budget, one person being of the "opposite sex" (whichever that may be ;)), leads to effectively doubling the accomodation expenses, makes the back-stage requirements to raise onto a new level, and with the general stress on the road, causes the gender wars to surface.

    OTOH, if there already was a female member in the band that's seeking another member, including Your gender in the ad would definitely raise your chances.
    Not to mention if it's an all female band looking for a bassplayer.

    As You probably guessed, I've been in a similarish situation, but as personnel, not as a musician. Enough to make me reject very tempting ofer for an relatively long European tour back in the 90's.

    I have also been in a band where the drummers wife replaced the flaky male lead singer, and while she was enthusiastic but inexperienced, she really got our popularity into a whole new level. And she was more than OK with that.

    For those of You who say that the gender doesn't matter, perhaps that's true in your neck of woods, but in the real world it IME sure does. For good as well as bad I may add.

    As for the safety, that should be obviously everyones first priority in everything, but if an able adult would bring a chaperone onto an audition, that'd be a huge red flag for me. Especially if that chaperone is their husband or wife.
    That spells jealosy disasters on tours and on private gigs.

  13. I think you should disclose it up front, just for the sake of honesty. If a band knows you're female, and it doesn't matter to them, they will ask you to audition. If they don't, it saves everyone's time, as opposed to only finding out when you show up. Not all bands want to be of a mixed gender, for a variety of reasons. Others don't care. But theyshould have the chance to know up front,IMO.

    On safety, bringing someone else could be a distraction, but at minimum, make sure someone does know where you are going, why, and how long you expect to be gone. Always sound advice in any situation, but especially for women.

    Mixed gender bands do have different dynamics than other bands, and other potential problems. If you got into such a band, I think it would be best to work certain things out up front, and have some serious discussions about how to deal with and/or avoid certain problems.

    Other than that, best of luck.:)
  14. i think there's a lot of great advice here, the only thing i would add is to "audition" the band you are auditioning for too. in other words, see if they have a website/facebook/recordings/etc. see how professional they are before you get there. maybe even a phone call and establish what their maturity level is before you waste your time. possibly good advice regardless of gender.....
  15. On the equipment front, we all know some of this stuff, especially bass cabs, are heavy. If it comes to it, see if you can work out an arrangement whereby you get the help you need with your big stuff while you do something else that is of value. I really don't think most men will mind helping, or doing it for you if you willing to do something else of value which eases the rest of the bands burden, and shows that you are contributing everywhere else that you can. That's one of those details best worked out early on, just so it doesn't cause trouble later.
  16. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    I would think that most people have no problem playing with a female musician. As mentioned, if you can sing, it adds another level to the vocals.

    In every band I've ever been in, everyone lugs gear, theirs and others, until it's done. As long as you pitch in and help with everything else, carrying a heavy cab would be a non-issue for most people.

    As to bringing someone to audition...probably not the best idea, but it wouldn't hurt to make a quick phone call or send a text when you arrive so that it's obvious to the band that someone is aware of where you are.
  17. i've never thought it was in poor taste for a woman to bring a friend to an audition, especially when referring to a craigslist ad.
  18. I would disclose your gender in pre-audition communication. I disclose my age, even though I know it could potentially be a discriminating factor to younger musicians. But if it's going to be an issue, you might as well weed it out before you do any homework. In general I like being in bands with females for reasons of vocals and image as long as they can play, but as has been mentioned it can present some interesting challenges when in touring situations. I've been in more than one touring band that came apart at the seams when male/female personal relationships got involved.

    If it were me judging applicants, showing up at an audition with someone to bodyguard would be a negative. So would not being able to move your own gear - I always figure if you can't lift it you shouldn't be playing it. That said, if you showed up with a buddy who helped you load in, made sure it was a safe situation and then left, you could kill 2 birds with one stone that way. If you nail the audition you can always work out a gear moving assistance agreement for future rehearsals / gigs.
  19. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    Thanks everyone for the responses...I think I've decided on disclosure, though not making it the main focus of either an ad, or correspondences with the band. That's a very interesting story, , and I think you get exactly where I'm coming from and what the concern is.

    So far as lifting and moving equipment goes, I'm capable. I work as an auto parts delivery driver. I can lift 60 to 70 pounds by myself, though it's not easy and I'd rather not. That being said, the gear moving arrangements would be more like, "I'll grab one side, you get the other". But I'm glad to hear that shouldn't be a's just common courtesy.

    I'm still divided so far as bringing someone...maybe bring someone along to help me load everything, then they can hang out in the car and wait for the audition to end, just so that presence is there?
  20. That may be the best way. It gives you some help, lets people know you're not alone, but doesn't give the direct impression that you have a bodyguard because you don't trust them, which is an implication some might get, or choose to perceive. And if any of them DID turn out to be creeps, they would know you're not alone.