8/15/2009-BAND PRIMER-So You Want To Join a Band-Pt.1-Getting Prepared




-Hi there! I haven’t been fired yet so I must be doing OK right? (HA!). So let’s see, last issue I talked about practicing on your own & some tips on what to do. So after that, now what? Well, most people start playing an instrument with the idea of eventually being in a band. This leads to an interesting choice-do you join a band or start your own? I’ll address starting your own band in a future article-mainly because I feel that when you’re just starting out, you need to get some experience & the best way to do that is to join a band-either established or one forming.

-There are a number of things one should do before searching for a band to join. As mentioned in a previous article, have the proper equipment. For example, if you’re going to jam with a metal band and you’re a guitarist,you need something louder than a 30 watt amp. In CAROLINE BLUE, we actually did go thru some auditions for a 2nd guitarist at one time and this guy I knew sounded like he would work well with us. However at the audition, he brought this small 30 watt practice amp. The drums by themselves, without having microphones on them, were drowning him out. Plus he was next to my stuff-a 100 W. half stack. Needless to say, things didn’t work out. Now, you could mic the guitar amp thru the PA, but you’re still competing with a bassist (who can be VERY loud right Doc-HA!), a singer, and possibly other instruments. Plus you’re totally at the mercy of the monitors and I don’t know of any musician who didn’t play at least one show with a bad monitor mix-or even no monitors at all!

-You have to choose what style of music you want to play and focus on that. Now, I know there are musicians out there who can play multiple styles and play them well. But when you’re just starting out, trying to play several different styles at the same time can quickly overwhelm you. Stick with one style and get good at it. Then if you want to branch off, it’ll be easier cause you already have a firm foundation with the earlier style. This also applies to wanting to play different instruments as well. For example, I started out as a lead guitarist. Then I had an opportunity to play bass in a band so I did. While my guitar training helped me get a good start playing bass, I soon realized that I wasn’t sounding like a bassist. I was sounding like a guitarist who played bass. I could fake my way thru stuff, but I was thinking like a guitarist, not a bassist. The approaches are very different, but at least I had a head start.

-Once you know the style you want to go towards, learn some songs from that genre to have in your “repertoire” so to speak. We’ll discuss covers vs. originals in another article. For now, most beginners join up in cover bands. What songs to learn? I’d suggest songs that are “standards”-songs that most people know. Why? When you’re getting together with a bunch of musicians, after the talking is done, you want to jam. Now, you can do an instrumental jam and that’s OK (if there’s a singer there though, he or she will quickly get bored), but if you’re playing songs, it’s good that everyone has some common ground. In addition, if you really know the song well enough, it’s not only a case of them liking how you play, but you liking what they play. Course, you might learn some songs, only to find out the band doesn’t know any of them. That’s been true with me for almost every band I’ve ever joined. So what do you do? Well, you’ll have to read next month’s article cause I’m out of space. We’ll get a little more detailed as well. Keep rockin!


About Wayne W. Johnson

Hiya-this is Wayne W. Johnson (WWJ) & thanks for dropping by to my site! I hope you enjoy your visit to my home away from home online. If you have any questions, comments and /or concerns about this site, please let me know via the CONTACT page. Thanks & best wishes to you & yours!
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