The decision to start your music band is a fairly decisive and very responsible step for any musician. However, when you perform alone, you can count only on yourself, and all of your musical activity is based on your own internal beliefs and understanding of “how it should be.” But when you decide to work together with other musicians, the dynamic changes because a music group is, first of all, a collective. And in some cases, a conglomerate, especially when musicians, whose character and individual personality traits are opposite, perform together.
However, being in a band will take you on an excellent adventure. That means you get to make music, hang out with other musicians, and go to places you’ve never been.
It sounds incredibly romantic, especially during your years in college, where boring subjects are the last thing you are interested in. Your Google searches are “cheap essay writing services,” “samples of ready homework,” and chats with classmates consist of requests for help with assignments. But you are obsessed with creativity and style and have been passionate about music since childhood. Oftentimes, you would go to garage parties or music events after class. Sound familiar? You have so many great ideas and talents. But how can you put them into action? How can you follow your dreams and be like your idols?
There are several challenges that you’ll probably have to go through first. And how you overcome those hurdles will determine how long your band will last. There is a lot to worry about because some bands make foolish mistakes the first time they cross the threshold of a rehearsal studio. Also, it’s essential to understand that a band consists of several people. Besides the music itself, all of you will have to somehow coexist with each other, consider the interests of all, and be able to smooth out conflicts at the initial stage.
Here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid when you are starting a music band:
1) Too complicated or unoriginal name
If you have already come up with a name, immediately type it into a Google search to see if anything similar pops up. It’s often the case that a music band with that name (or an auto parts store) already exists. We all strive for individuality, so this coincidence will not suit you.
The name should not be too complicated and tricky, no matter how you do not want to stand out from the crowd. New listeners may not remember this complex combination of letters and not find you on the Internet.
Someone may argue that most famous bands have simple enough names. Still, you have to understand that they gained popularity quite a long time ago, even before the Internet became the primary means of music promotion.
2) Choosing band members solely based on musical skills
The search for future band members is the first and most essential step. And it is at this point many beginners make the mistake of emphasizing the wrong selection criteria.
Many try to focus on the musical skills of the potential participant, believing that this will guarantee the result. Indeed, technical skills are important, and in principle, it is not wrong to have a professional musical education in the group.
But education does not guarantee that anyone will fit perfectly into your band. Yes, they might be able to play the guitar well, but an obnoxious and toxic person might disrupt discipline and sow discord in your team.
In addition to talent, a potential band member must be responsible, active, and match with you in a purely human way. These qualities should be considered in the first place.
3) Bring people into your band who play much worse than you
This point can be considered a continuation of the previous one. We said that musical skills are not the main thing, but not taking them into account at all would be wrong. It does not mean that the other group members should be guaranteed “stronger” than you in terms of music, but your levels should be approximately the same.
Teaching someone, composing music, and rehearsing at the same time is a hell of a job. If the person is 100% suitable to you psychologically – but is a weak musician, consider spending some time searching for the right candidate. If this person suits you mentally, you don’t have to make him a member of your band – make him your friend! By the way, this is also very, very good.
4) The lack of a clear understanding of what music you are going to play
A music band is very cool. You can brag about being in a band to your friends and family, but you need to be clear about what you will be performing.
Creative freedom is great, but it’s just as important to be strategic. Even if you like different music, at least there should be some overlap in the artists that you all enjoy, to one degree or another.
No one says you have to copy someone else’s sound, but the general guidelines should be there. Moving in the same direction can be the key to the success that everyone wants to achieve.
5) Lack of leadership in the band
We are all individual, ambitious, and want to be at the forefront. But in any group, there must be a person who is the linchpin. He must be a kind of “lighter,” inspiring the other band members and making them do something necessary.
Some would say that all participants have 100% equal rights in a group, but it would not be entirely true. No matter how talented people are, sooner or later, they start to burn out, which breaks the rhythm of the work, rehearsals become irregular, and a kind of chaos ensues. At times like this, a person must show himself to someone who will unite the people around him and remind them why they are all here.
A leader is not someone who stands in the middle of the stage with a microphone. A leader is defined as a high degree of self-organization, someone who makes things happen and nothing stagnates.
6) Too much responsibility on the leader
Another mistake a young group makes is throwing all of the responsibilities on the leader. Oftentimes, the leader works hard, writes music, spends his own money on studio expenses, while everyone else is having a good time.
The responsibilities in a music band should be evenly distributed among the members. If the frontman is the only one who has big plans on developing the band, and everyone else perceives participation in the band as some form of entertainment, then it would be in your best interest to stop all relations with them.
7) Promotion of the band via social media
Social media is one of the most effective tools for promoting a band or music group. But it is wrong to assume that this will be enough. You will surely need your own website to help you control all of your activities: news updates, releases, videos from concerts, etc.
Having your own website means that you’re active and moving in the right direction. You don’t have to have programming skills because there are a lot of companies who will make you a website for quite adequate money. The advantage of having your site is that it’s an additional opportunity to generate income because you will be able to sell your merchandise there, which is something worth thinking about.
8) Spamming other musicians
Let’s say you’ve already recorded your first album, put it out on iTunes, created a social media page, etc. What do you do next?
You might get an idea to obtain even more attention by securing collaborations with other musicians. This is a good idea worth trying. However, don’t be too aggressive in your approach because some musicians might be cautious about collaborating with unknown musicians.
9) Excessive trust in the organizers
As soon as your successes become more or less visible, the organizers of various festivals will start to approach you. Oftentimes, their motive is elementary enrichment, so they will make every attempt to deceive young musicians somehow.
It is important to read the contract carefully, what conditions must be fulfilled by the organizer, etc. And the most important thing is the fee. Suppose it is specified in fine print in the contract that payment for the concert will be made only at a particular quantity of proceeds (any inadequate condition can be mentioned here). In that case, you may be startled when the time for payment arrives at the end of the performance.
10) Expectations are too high
You begin to perform actively, even inviting friends to your concerts because you are no longer ashamed. It’s truly empowering and inspiring. But remember, your friends and total strangers are two different categories of audience, so the second group of people may not like your performances. Therefore, it’s necessary to be prepared for criticism and empty halls, but it shouldn’t scare you off in any way. On the contrary, it is the strongest incentive to work even harder on your part.
Equally dangerous is the vertigo of success. You begin to think that you are the kings of the stage, so there is no need to listen to advice from the outside. Remember, you are just at the beginning of your journey and do not need to consider the momentary successes as a pattern that will last forever.
Contact us on social media via Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook, and let us know how you feel about starting a band. Also, tune in to our new music podcast, entitled, “Da Hot Spot,” which highlights tomorrow’s most promising stars and today’s mega superstars.