Looking To Join A Band?
If you are looking to join a band, talent is just one element you want to concentrate on. You want to practice and refine your skills to the highest level possible, but most bands are looking for more than just talent.
Preparation and Organization
When you try out for a band, learn everything in advance. If you have access to a complete setlist, learn more than just the shortlist of songs they gave you for the audition. If you get the gig, know that rehearsal is a time for bands to work on putting everything together and practice how they want to present their stage show. Practice and learn your parts at home. You never want to waste other band members‘ time by showing up unprepared and unorganized.
Bands want someone who is pleasant to be around. Being in a band should be fun for everyone, so keep your ego in check and be a good teammate.
Be honest about how often you can practice or play out. Don’t over-promise and then not be able to deliver. Make sure your schedule matches what the band wants. If things click with you and the band, but rehearsal times are an issue, it does not hurt to ask if schedules are flexible enough to make it work for everyone. If not, keep looking. Working with people who disagree on how often you need to rehearse or how often you want to play out tends to end up in fights, making being in a band longer fun for anyone.
If you are looking to join a professional band, make sure you can take time away from work and still be able to make your bills.
What Other Skills Do You Bring To The Table
Some bands run like a well-oiled machine and just need a new member who only plays guitar. Most bands have at least one area where they can use some help. Are you able to make effective marketing materials? Are you a good salesman who can open doors and find new opportunities for the band? Do you have the gift of gab and would make a great MC for the night. Every band should have a person who can talk to the crowd, make them feel welcome, and help them have a great time. If you see a weakness in the organization, is it something you can learn how to do and help your other band members out?
Are you able to play a high-energy, entertaining show for one to four hours? You don’t want to be winded and tired halfway through any performance. If you drink, do so in moderation. Having to deal with a drunk bandmate is never a pleasant experience. Don’t do drugs. It does not make you sound better and, more often than not, makes you unreliable
If you are joining an original band, it is usually helpful if you can contribute songs or ideas for songs. However, not every band is looking for a songwriter, so if this is important to you, find out if your input is welcome before joining the band.
Creativity is also helpful in cover bands. Can you think of ways to make the stage show more entertaining? Can you think of ways to have songs run together, which helps keep people on the dance floor? Are you able to keep playing and keep a song together if something goes off the rails? All of these skills are helpful and desirable.
There is a lot more to being in a band than just your playing ability. The more assets you have, the more in demand you will be.
About the author: Brian Fish is a professional guitarist living in North East Ohio and is guitar instructor, trainer, and coach at Guitar Lessons Geauga.