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CONNECTING MUSICIANS

How To Start A Band

by | BandMix 101, Master Your Craft

The primary purpose of BandMix is to bring like-minded local musicians together to form bands. So whether you’re thinking of starting a new musical project or you’re an existing band looking for new members, this is the perfect place to start. We’ve put together a guide on creating a band, finding new members, and some top tips on what to do next, all with the assistance of BandMix.

First steps

Before you even start looking for other band members, you’ll need to think about a few key points:

  • Genre – your band format might change a lot depending on the genre you want to play. Think about your influences and the music you like to listen to, and if you write music, consider where your songs might fit in terms of genre. Your style and sound will determine what instruments you’ll need for your band and impact what band members you seek. 
  • Originals vs. covers – are you a strong songwriter wanting to unleash your songs to the world, or do you want to create a covers band? Be aware of your intentions as a band and ask yourself if you’re doing it for financial gain or not.
  • Purpose – is this band going to be a casual garage jam, or have you got long-term touring goals in sight? Figuring out your objective and some realistic aims is always a great starting point. 
  • Logistics – have you got somewhere to rehearse? If you lack a rehearsal space, you might want to think about this before you start auditioning for potential new bandmates.

How to find bandmates

A musician search can be frustrating at times and often very time-consuming. You could spend your entire weekend posting on several classifieds pages and social media sites to no avail, and that’s where BandMix comes in. Finding musicians in your local area is made much easier by BandMix as we have thousands of musos in one place, all of whom are already seeking bands or musical opportunities. 

To begin finding local musicians, simply login to your BandMix account and make sure your profile looks great. Add your profile picture, video, or audio clips and describe yourself, including your experience level, genre, and influences. With a strong profile, you’re more likely to get people responding to you once you reach out.

To start your search, use the search box at the top of the home page or click the ‘Advanced Search’ section to see a list of filters for a more precise search. You’ll be able to adjust the radius around your area or city, so you’re pinpointing local musicians, and you can sort the results to view them in an order that is preferable to you. You can also use the ‘Now Seeking’ section of your dashboard to input what instruments you’re searching for, which will help us match you with relevant musicians.

BandMix also offers a directory style format, showing results by state and city. An additional part of our service is our targeted Match Mailer feature, where you can receive a list of relevant musicians and band opportunities via email – make sure you’re signed up for it!

To go one step further, you can use our Digital Audition feature, which helps you reach up to 100 relevant musicians at the click of a button. You can put in your criteria for a potential bandmate available to our Premier members, including instrument, experience level, genre, location, gender, and age-range. BandMix processes the filtered search and will notify any relevant musicians of your audition. This is by far the easiest and quickest way to get responses to your ad, meaning you’re one step closer to forming your dream band.

What to look for in a band member

  • Experience level – is this person going to be able to play your material well? You don’t always need an expert player – a musician at an intermediate level may be good enough to play the parts. Weigh up what kind of experience you (and the other members, if you have any) have had in bands before and see what kind of skill level you seek from a new bandmate. 
  • Genre/style – have they played in this particular genre before? If someone only has experience being in metal bands, they might not be the best fit for a slow jazz group – but be sure to ask them; they may want to change up their skillset!
  • Equipment – what sort of equipment do they already have, and does it fit the requirements of the band? 
  • Commitment – do they have enough hours in their week to commit to the band? 
  • Long-term goals – discuss where the band is headed and see if their long-term vision matches yours. If you’re pining to be a touring band with hopes to travel the country every year, make sure your potential bandmate is on board with that dream too. 
  • Personality – a hugely important part of making a band fun is being friends with your teammates and making sure you’re like-minded. It might be an idea to get to know one another first and work out if there are any personality clashes before settling down on a massive project together.
  • Jam together – the best way to work out if there’s musical chemistry is to play together. You should figure out pretty quickly if you fit together well or need someone with slightly different experience/commitment/ethics. The right way of doing this is by holding an audition.

Auditioning new band members

You’ve got a few people in mind to join your band; the next step is setting up an audition. Perhaps agree on a couple of songs to jam together to start with, so you can grasp what skill set the musician has and what style they play in. They may not be note-perfect after only a few tunes, but you should be able to judge if they have potential in your group. Besides their musical ability, talk to your auditionee about their dreams, previous band experiences, and current commitments to gauge whether they’ll be a good fit. 

How do you tell if a musician is right for your band? Aside from the technical aspects discussed above, you might get a good gut feeling about them, and it’s always helpful if you get on with them as a person. Their personality might tell you a lot about whether they’ll fit in the band – if they’re a timid person and you’re seeking a confident frontman, you might want to keep searching.

Once you’ve found new band members, make sure you go through some ground rules and settle on when and where your regular rehearsals will occur. It might be worth mentioning finances and agreeing who pays for what, so there are no disputes as the band progresses.

What next?

Now you’ve found your team; you get to decide where to go with it. Being in a new band is always exciting and should be heaps of fun, but still have your collective goals in mind when making decisions about your future. Here are a few simple first steps to consider when moving forward as a new group to help you out.

  • Band name – a band name is for life, so choose one that you won’t hate by next year, and that will stand the test of time.
  • Rehearsal space – having a room or area to rehearse in is a must. It could be a bedroom or a friend’s shed to start with, but you’ll want to improve your rehearsal space as you progress as a band over time.
  • Material – putting together some solid material is crucial. Work together to improve your songs and song arrangements, and if you’re working your way up to a gig, make sure you’ve got enough material for a decent setlist. Think about how you might record your songs, so you have audio to show off to anyone in the industry.
  • Realistic goals – agreeing on some long-term goals will help to guide the band in the right direction. However, be real – it’s unlikely that you’ll sign a record deal or do a full US tour in your first few months as a new band.
  • Image – talk to each other about your overall look and how you will portray your image through band photos, branding, stage presence, or gig costumes.
  • Online presence – get some strong profiles on social media and start to get a buzz going around the band. Don’t forget to update your current BandMix profile or sign up for a new account for your brand new band.
  • Website – to look even more professional, you might want to create a band website. If you become a BandMix Elite member, there’s a website option to help you create a personalized www. domain name for your band via BandVista.
  • Book a gig (if you haven’t already!) – if in doubt, get playing. Actively booking gigs is a great way to start building a fanbase and help you get some perspective on where you want to head as a band.
  • Network – use your gigs to network with industry people and spend time talking to fans. You never really know who will turn up to a gig, and networking after a show might open up some incredible opportunities for the band.
  • PR and publicity – consider how much to hype a new album release or tour and discuss whether you want to spend money investing in any PR or publicity.
  • Building a team – you may have also thought about getting a manager, live agent, publishing deal, or reaching out to record labels. Depending on your goals as a band, it may vary whether you want to build up a team around you or if you want to keep it DIY.
  • Band agreement – if things are likely to get serious for you as a band, you may want to sign a contract or band agreement so that you all acknowledge the ground rules and responsibilities required. Many bands break up due to disagreements, so having something on paper should rule out any disputes in the future.
  • Be business smart – many musicians don’t realize that starting a band is pretty much like starting a business. Especially if you’re looking into royalties, copyrights, publishing, and distribution, you’ll need to take some time to research the music business before jumping into anything. 
  • Keep going – in a world where new bands are forming every day, it can be difficult and frustrating when you feel like you’re getting nowhere. Stick at it and don’t give up – if you’ve got a great sound, a strong intention, and you’re realistic with your aims, it shouldn’t be long before you start progressing.

For more information about how to search for musicians or bands in your area, head over to our FAQ’s: https://www.bandmix.com/support/faq/#faq-2

Don’t forget to keep your BandMix profile up to date when you’ve formed your band, as your availability and calendar will change over time. Best of luck with your new band! 

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