If you fancy your chances being in a band then here’s some advice to get you on your way.
Not got a band yet?
If you're not in a band yet, but are an aspiring musician or singer, then keep on practicing, and asking around. Often your friends, music teachers or tutors know about other people who love music and might want to join a band.
So once you’ve got yourself a band, it's all about the practice. Writing your own material also helps. You can write music individually, together as a band, or both. The more you write, the better you are going to get, and people are going to be even more impressed.
Thinking up a name can be tricky. Don’t fall out over it, but having a name for your band is pretty important if you want people to remember you. Changing your band’s name every week might seem like fun, but how are your fans supposed to keep track of what’s going on?
When you have a band name, do a bit of research on the Internet to check that someone else hasn’t already got it.
A lot of venues won’t have you play a gig with them until they’ve heard a demo, so it's often worth spending a bit of time on this.
Use your best songs for your demo – perhaps that sounds obvious, but not all bands do. You can use a digital multitrack, or if you have a bit of cash, book a day at a studio. If you’ve not done any studio stuff before, then make sure you’re going to get help from someone that knows what they’re doing.
You could also use free online sites to showcase your music. You could create your own Soundcloud or Facebook webpage for the band and upload some of your tracks. You could also use YouTube if you make any home-made videos to go with your songs.
To build up your confidence playing live try smaller venues around town, performing at open mic nights or get gigs playing for your family and friends’ birthdays, weddings, or at your school or youth club.
Get your friends and family to give you their honest opinion on your performances. Really push them to pick out your weaknesses, and don’t get annoyed if you don’t like the criticisms you might get.
Build up contacts at gigs. If there are people you don’t know, ask them if they saw your set. They probably won’t hesitate as much as your family to tell you exactly what you were like - good or bad.
If people come up and talk to you about your set, be friendly – they could turn out to be journalists or from a music label, but even if they’re not, it’s important to be nice to potential fans.
Advice from other bands
Get advice from other bands. No one knows better about what it’s like to be in a band than people who actually are or have been in one.
Ask them how they went about getting gigs, or how they write songs. If you know bands who have signed record deals or even just been in discussions with record labels, get all the gossip – it’s all useful to know.
When starting out, there often isn’t much need for a band to have a manager, and being able to afford to pay one seems pretty unlikely too. But there’s usually a band member willing to take up the role of booking gigs and being the point of contact for the band.
If you know bands that seem to have good management then use this connection and see if they’ll take you on as well. But don’t worry about not having a manager, because plenty of bands get signed without one.