So, you’re planning on starting a band? Great! Having a band is an amazing experience and I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun playing, hanging out with your bandmates, and traveling to places you’ve never been before. But before you get all excited, you need to understand that you’ll be facing many challenges on your way towards becoming a quality band. A lot of bands make terrible mistakes right at the beginning, not knowing that these will backfire when they least expect it.
Music is art, but a band is an “organization” that consists of several people, and besides new ideas and creativity, you need to learn how to cooperate together and organize yourselves so you can work on your music and create something truly unique. Each of these things depends on the other, and you’ll need to pay attention to them in order to succeed. Here are some of the worst mistakes novice bands can make, and why you need to avoid them.
1. Choosing band members solely on their musical skills
When putting together a new band, finding band members is one of the first things you’ll have to do. This is where a lot of people make the most common mistake. They set the wrong criteria for choosing members. Most people set musical skills as the first and only criteria on which they base their decisions to include someone in their band – but this is wrong.
Yes, technical skills are important, and having a schooled musician is also good, but these things don’t make someone a perfect fit for your band. It’s important that he or she is creative, innovative, responsible, and that you can communicate both on a musical level and as people.
2. Not having a clear idea of the music you’re going to play
Yes, creative freedom is very important, but too much freedom can be just as bad as having none. You and your band members must be on the same page when it comes to what music you’re going to play. Not too strict, but just enough so that your music achieves a recognizable shape on which you can build.
3. Not having a bandleader
Like it or not, somebody needs to be the one who takes initiative and inspires others to keep moving forward. If you don’t have a leader in your band, people will forget what their “obligations” are and stop contributing to the band.
There’s always that one guy who books gigs, talks with promoters, and establishes connections with fans. When I say “bandleader,” I don’t mean your stereotypical lead-singer frontman, but a leader who inspires others to give it their best.
4. Thinking social media pages pass for an official website
There are many ways of promoting your band online, and social media sites are often some of the first that come to mind. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that social platforms can replace your band’s official website. Having your own website gives you full control over your content, branding, monetization, and makes you look much more professional.
There are plenty of free resources that will guide you through the process of creating your own website or blog step by step. You can even include an online shop with your band’s merchandise, which can be an additional source of income.
5. Expecting overnight success
No matter what your motives are for starting a new band, it’s important not to get caught up in the hype and expect to achieve your goals overnight. It takes a lot of time and hard work to create good material; practice it to perfection and invest money in recording it.
If your expectations are high from the very beginning and things don’t go as well as you’d hoped, you and your band members may lose motivation and simply stop working. If you’re tight on cash, you can try starting a music website or picking up any of these 15 awesome side jobs for musicians to make some money on the side while you continue working towards your band’s goals.
I hope this helps you through the early stages of starting a band. Play your music and enjoy it – and if nothing big happens, you’ll still have beautiful memories to remember. – Nick Colakovic