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Audition Songs

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by charliefreak, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. On to phase 2, if you were in on my thread about making a bandleading gameplan...

    I have a seasoned, motivated drummer. We have played for a couple of months now and we are definitely on the same page musically. We typically jam poly rhythmic grooves and hooks from popular rock/bluesy soul songs etc. Now we're wanting to Audition for singers and guit fiddlers.

    We are thinking of learning 5-6 songs that would be fun to learn for an audition, but enough of a challenge to show that they have motivation to work hard, with the benefit of it paying off ten fold in the end. We have thrown ideas around for doing a really progressive Toto song (not sure the name atm) and Dave Matthew Band So much to say.

    What songs cover a broad musical spectrum like these that you'd want to audition other players to? I understand songs aren't the best way to audition, but I can tell whether or not someone can play, I need to see if we're all motivated.

    My total gameplan thus far consists of a two-month (plenty long with the holiday season) rehearsal period where we'll focus on learning 2 sets worth of covers over about 12 rehearsals. From there we're going to hit the local bar/party scene hard just jamming these covers, retaining one night a week of a full band practice solely for orginal songs. From there it's just a matter of phasing out the cover songs and ultimately producing an album.

    Let me know what you think!
  2. First, I'd scrap auditions on songs other then fairly common, standard covers, other songs that are relatively simple, or improv jams. You should be able to get a handle on their abilities without the difficult songs. Getting musicians to spend time learning difficult songs before they audition that they 'might' play if they are maybe asked to join the band is setting yourself up for disappoinment in a number of ways.

    Be clear with the auditioners that you do want to play those difficult songs eventually and they'll need to learn them, but don't expect them to play them at the audition. Just by putting out the fact that you want to learn a certain difficult cover will automatically weed out a few players that may not be up to snuff for your band, which will save you the time of auditioning someone who won't likely work out anyway.

    Setting distinct goals with specific deadlines and mileposts is an excellent way of progressing the band. Few really successful bands get to where they are without specific planning, and making deadlines forces planning.

    I also think that starting out with mostly covers until you have a fanbase is a much better, overlooked method of getting yourself out there. Playing club gigs with 10 originals that no one has heard of is a tough, tough road. The business side of music is already incredibly tough. Smoothing out that path as much as possible is a good idea.
  3. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Keep the audition songs simple.

    Your a start up, chances are you might not get quite the level of players your looking for.

    Be flexible.

  4. puddin tame

    puddin tame

    Aug 14, 2010
    I really would not spend more than max a couple hours preparing for an audition. You can tell if someone can play by 5 minutes of jamming. Making them learn a whole lot of (or really complicated) songs just really judges their willingness to put a whole lot of effort into something that very well may not work out. I wouldn't go for a band that did that.

    If a band wants me to learn more than a few standard tunes that is just a sign to me that they can't jam, and I don't wanna be in a band that can't jam!
  5. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Respectfuly disagree, they are auditioning to play covers not jam.

    I thought this was a cover band, not a jam band.

    My opinion,the ability to jam is no indication you have the ability to learn and play covers.

    Me, I would never audition for a band that wanted me to jam. I jammed so much back in the 70s , I grew sick of it.

  6. At the same time, I wouldn't join a band that can't jam. I'm not saying that it's a good idea to do all jams all the time, or maybe even at all during a show or set. I think that a band that can jam really well usually are good at listening and reacting well to the other players.

    As such, even the covers can sound better, more distinctive, and less boring and generic then most cover bands. The same skills that allow a person to jam well also allow them to put that spark of feeling into a cover. Also, if a band's not good at jamming, they usually can't get those magical moments going that are tough to explain if you haven't had them before.
  7. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Seems like an OK plan to me, but I would think 2 or 3 songs would be enough.

    Why should someone "work hard" for an audition in a band that isn't even gigging yet? I agree that you want someone committed to the band, but what you want to judge at this point is whether or not they can play well. 3 covers should be enough.

    I would be careful about judging the work ethic of prospective musicians in your band. Some can do the job without much effort, some need to work hard just to keep up.

    What you need is someone who can play. Then see if they want to commit to your future.
  8. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I get where your coming from and I agree up to a point.

    I am looking at this as putting together and marketing a gigging product. Magical moments have value to the band and other musicians. However most crowds wouldn't recognize a " magical moment" if you hit them over the head with it.

  9. Fair enough!

    BTW, every time I see your screen name, I all I can think is:


    As such, I just think that you're an aging septuagenarian who likes to wrestle oiled up college girls.
  10. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    College girls, I wish :)

    View attachment 303566
  11. Hey - if you're wrestling her in oil, then I say "kudos," and also something about "dipping your pen in the company inkwell.." ;)
  12. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Yeah, live and learn.

  13. I also think 2 or 3 simple covers should be enough for a first audition. You'll probably know after the first song if you've found the right person.
  14. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    Like the others above, I think you need to make the songs simpler.

    It isn't like I/we don't understand what you are trying to do. Through the audition song requirements process, you are trying to weed out unmotivated people, then in the audition itself detirmine if the preson fits musically. In application, however, I think you run the real risk of having the exact right person never walk through the door in the first place because like others have said; why spend days rehearsing for an audition for a band with no gigs? Even a real motivated, but talented, person would probably not do that.

    Having said that, if you try your plan, the only thing you are wasting is time (and perhaps the enthusiasm you share with the drummer). You could try it your way, and then if it does not work admit it is time to change strategy.
  15. SO,
    The audition songs were a hoot! most of the people only learned 2 or 3 of them all the way- but I learned a lot about each musician by what songs they chose to learn and which parts they really excelled at. Especially which parts they didn't play the same for a reason. We had numerous guitarists, 5 singers, and 3 keyboard players throughout the day. And a few horn players who want to play live for the parts we write!

    My band consists of an R&B (neo soul) singer that wants to rap- which he's great at and a joy to listen. On youtube his name is Ceph Deesy, a keyboard player who produces hip hop and rap beats on the side, and a guitar player who went to Columbia university for jazz and is great to jam back and forth with.

    We're all going to take time exchanging files and charts for the next month or two until we have 18+ songs demo'd and we'll probably record 6 or 7 of them- depending on how many keepers we have. So far I've met with everybody together 4 times and everybody in smaller sections at least 3 times a week. We're all excited and everytime we meet up it's like a really really productive party. Definitely a great mix of people all 21-25 yo.

    Our goal is to tour on the studio album we release while we shop around for management and see where the music can take us. I'd like to see a full-length here in the next couple of years and at least some decent touring to make some cash. My guess at this point is that'll be a mix like the Roots and Karl Denson with more melodic aspects like Steely Dan.

    Very Exciting!