How do you organize a band?
Let's say you want to start a band, get some friends, get the equipment you need, rehearse some songs and maybe play a few backyard parties or club gigs. How do you go about it?
First, decide what style of music you'll be into, so that when you recruit band members, you can see if the music excites them. If you know a good musician and he doesn't respond enthusiastically to your ideas for the music, move on to another person. There will be plenty of time in your musical life to play under protest, and it is NO FUN. Don't start your first band with any band members who don't enjoy it! Even if they are still learning their instrument, a person who is into it will be a better companion. Get the word out that you are organizing a band, and specify which instruments you're looking for. Start with friends, but also search for strangers, musicians tend to become good friends in a short time. It's one of the great attributes of music makers.
Don't be afraid to include instruments that might be a little less obvious! Almost every band has two guitars, bass and drums. A band that has a trumpet, sax, keyboards, accordion, exotic percussion or anything else will stand out amidst the crowd of bands. Experiment! Give yourself a six month time window to audition band members, and if you go over that, you will be having a good time and learning a thousand things about keeping musicians organized... so none of the effort is wasted.
The Noise Problem, it won't go away
You'll need a place to make noise. Look in the paper for band rehearsal places, they rent for a weekly night (example: four Tuesdays, 8pm to midnight, paid in advance)The price is usually from 40. to 80. per night. All the bandmembers kick in. Too steep? Try looking for other ways...an extra room in a house? A warehouse? Or go for the old suburban standby: the garage.
A garage is fine, but you may need to do some soundproofing in any residential area. Heavy blankets, sheetrock or dry wall, old mattresses, carpet on the walls and anything absorbent will do the job in a pinch. I've played in lots of cheaply outfitted garages and they work great, they quickly become clubhouses with a comfy atmosphere. Invest in good locks.
If the sound travels to neighbors, you'll need to adjust. Schedule your rehearsals/auditions in the daytime or on weekends or anytime that will cut you some slack with neighbors. Also, talk to the neighbors, tell them you are starting up a band and ask for their feedback. Tell them that you'll respond immediately to complaints. If they get used to calling the cops on you for disturbing the peace, your fun will end QUICKLY. Be mature about it, designate a band spokesman for talking to irate neighbors... pick a guy who can charm and calm down people. You will be surprised how much you can enjoy a garage, especially if you act responsibly with the neighbors.
HINT: This helps: play music for 45 minutes, then take a 20 minute break to talk or listen to CDs. This will let neighbors calm down. Keep up that schedule, 45 on, 20 off , 45 on - and you'll have a better chance of keeping the party going. Communicate , that's the key. Realize that you ARE disturbing their peace, and do your best to be empathetic. If you turn people against you, you probably did it to yourself.
Consider finding a warehouse or a room in an industrial area. Strike a deal with the leaseholder or owner for access to the place. Pay him ontime and keep the place clean. Barter for time or access. Get creative. Playing music with buddies is a great experience, and finding a place without noise concerns or cost concerns can be a godsend. You can relax and really create music.
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