Top 4 Tips on How to Start a Band 101

Professional tips on starting a band from scratch, whether your band is a high school punk band, hip hop artists, or a group of seasoned jazzers. Starting a band may seem at first just a matter of getting a few dedicated musicians together for a few midnight band jam sessions. However, there are a few steps to making your amateur garage band into a successful professional music group, whether your band is a high school punk band, retired jazzers, heavy metal band rockers, or a world fusion music ensemble.


Talented Musicians
This may seem almost too basic to mention, but a good band needs good musicians. While each musician does not need to be a seasoned veteran, the more experience each band member has, the more likely the band's success. Why? An experience musician not only knows how to play their instruments well, they also know how to play as part of a band, how to improvise, how to be versatile, and how to adapt to changing situations in a live concert setting.
Almost every beginning band has at least one member that was "grandfathered" in (for example, the lead singer's latest flame, a poorly talented relative, or maybe the guy who owns all of the sound gear). If your band's goal is just to have a good time and do a few gigs for kicks, then the personnel problems may not get in the way. However, if your band's goal is to sell music albums and concertize around the U.S., then you might want to address the talent issue at the outset. There are lots of other jobs from stage manager to sound engineer to publicist that may better fit members of your burgeoning band.

Realize that over time your band will change members. In the end you want a band of talented musicians who work well together and create an amazing original sound.

A Music Style and a Look
Once you have your band members established, you want to get together for a brainstorm and jam session. What kind of music does your band enjoy playing? What kind of music does your band gravitate towards? What kind of music do you usually listen to? Establish your chosen music genre or genre hybrid, and work towards perfecting the band's sound in that music genre.
Just as important is the band's overall look and feel. Does your band dress like zombies and scream into the microphone while dumping fake blood on the audience, or are you a classy group that plays jazz standards dressed in tripped out tuxedos? Fans like some consistency in their music icons. Find a look and a sound and work on perfecting the show.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Develop original songs, work on covers, and experiment with different sounds. Practice until you can play your whole show in your sleep backwards. Keep on working on technique. Listen to new music all of the time to keep your ideas fresh and flowing. Keep working on original music hits.

If you can, try to get some professional band recordings together for a music demo. If a sound engineer is not part of your regular band crew, try to learn some sound engineering basics and record a few raw mixes. These mixes can be made during a jam session, a live concert, or in a controlled recording session.

Promos and Music Gigs
Half of a band's success is promotion. Pool together as many resources as you can. Get professional band photos, make posters and fliers, promote your music through My Space or Facebook, post a music video on You Tube, Twitter your band's latest activities, make a music demo or professional recording, make band business cards and start working on band merchandise to sell at live concerts (like t-shirts, flare, or CDs).

Once you have your first music gig, be sure to show up early, be professional, be prepared, and knock the socks off of your fans. Keep promoting and networking and booking gigs at local venues. Dance clubs, parties, music festivals, battle of the bands, the coffee shop, or even the local high school or university may be a great place to start a band fan base.
Keep working hard, creating good music, and cultivating a strong fan base, and you may find that your small garage band has blossomed into a successful music group.


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