How To Start a Band Even If You’re A Complete Musical Beginner
Before jumping straight into picking your first venue or which iconic outfits you and your bandmates will wear, there are a few steps we need to cover before we get you headlining.
Here at WeJam we have compiled a list of five, sure-fire ways to start a band - even if you’re a complete musical beginner.
How Much Knowledge Do You Have?
What you should gauge at first is how much musical talent you have. Have you ever played an instrument before? If not, have you ever played guitar hero? That sort of thing. If you haven’t done either of those, that’s fine. I would direct you to my friend, the internet.
With the lockdown stopping many live gigs and other social events, this might be the best time to hop onto your chosen search engine and search ‘How to learn *insert instrument of choice here*’. Guaranteed, you’ll go from confused to promising in next to no time.
Finding Your Bandmates
Picture an iconic band like The Beatles or Guns n’ Roses and you’ll see that they’re made up of at least one singer, drummer, guitarist and a bassist.
Your band may not use some or any of these instruments depending on the type of music you want to create, but all that comes later. Firstly, you need to select your bandmates wisely as you’ll be spending a lot of time with them.
If you don’t know where to start with forming your own band, there is the possibility of joining an existing one. If there’s a local band that you’ve been following for a while and you think you can bring a new element to their band, audition yourself to them and see how it goes. Worst case scenario, they don’t accept you in but give you some pointers on what you’re missing to improve your sound.
If you decide to go the other way, forming your own band guarantees you’ll have control of the band as it develops into something you envision. You can recruit members through various social media platforms when you utilise the right hashtags. There are also websites dedicated to helping you find bandmates to join your band (if you want the internet to do the hard work for you).
Once you’ve got your bandmates, this is when ideas can really start to develop on the band’s style, time commitments, rehearsal schedule and of course the name.
One trick to figuring out if you have a good band name is to picture it being announced on stage. Something like…
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome to the stage…Ankle Weight!”
(I don’t think they’ll go very far…)
Now that we’ve got the band together, next on the agenda is finding your “sound”.
Finding, Then Refining Your “Sound”
Some bands go through many transformations in their life but when a band first starts out, they’re typically united and confident on what their “sound” is.
Figuring this out early keeps every member on the same page, but it also shows the world that your band is consistent.
To come up with your “sound”, ask yourself these questions: Which artists inspire you? What have you heard recently that you really enjoyed? What type of music fills the most space in your music library? If you brainstorm these questions between your bandmates and focus on which answers overlap, you won’t be far off finding your “sound”. Once you’ve got an idea of the kind of music you want to create, what better way to solidify these great ideas (and show off) than to jam for the first time.
Finding a Practise Area
As big as your bedroom might be, I don’t think it’ll be able to comfortably sit every member of your band plus their instruments.
Ideally you want a place that won’t disturb too many people and is big enough to fit everyone. Depending on the funding situation of your band, you can look at hiring a studio or rehearsal room to use. During the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s best to bear in mind that you might find a really good space to rehearse in but is it COVID compliant? Do other people use this space and how often? If we can all be safe while we’re having fun then that’s two birds with one stone.
Now that you’ve got a place to practise, everyone is on the same page about what kind of music they want to make and everyone has their roles, it is now time to start the songwriting process.
Time To Write Your First Song
While everyone may have a different approach to how they write music, the outcome is always the same. What’s important is that the creative juices run wild.
I’m sure everyone is eager to play their own original songs and show them to the world. Just for now, I beg you don’t do that. What will make people’s ears perk up is hearing their favourite songs reinvented by a great cover. A cover of a song executed well can almost reinvent the song with a new sense of appreciation that may have been forgotten over time, and even go as far as to make the original song even better. Try giving these songs a go first.
Once you get comfortable with covers, we can return to brainstorming your original songs. In this setting, no idea is a bad one and even the worst lyrics can make it into a good song. Even further, some bad songs can make it onto a great album. What’s important is the passion of the band and what each member brings to the stage. Over time, the mistakes that you make will teach you the greatest lessons.
If you follow all of this, the only thing left to do is get out of your garage/studio/parent’s basement and perform at your first venue.
The moment you step on stage, mics all prepped, guitars and drums are turned, and begin playing…congratulations you’re officially a band! This four-minute read condenses the hard work, hours of prep time and lack of appreciation but it will all be worth it in the long run.
Just take a moment to think of the band you like most at the moment. At one point they were doing exactly what you’re doing now: prepping themselves mentally to select their name and jam together like the people they admire. It’s a marvellous cycle of events.
Good Luck From WeJam
Any career choice is a difficult one but as long as you put in enough effort, passion and time you can create amazing things.
Hopefully forming a band leads you to gain some great experiences with talented individuals who one day you’ll be able to call friends. As well as the money and fame you’ll gain from starting a band there are also a great number of health benefits to joining one. Check out this WeJam article as we break down what those health benefits are! Take a look at them here!