Home (or “project”) studios have become so common in today's music industry, that even well known artists with access to commercial studios have been known to do tracking and production from the comfort of their home. Whether you're looking for a place to explore your hobby and master your craft or you plan to build your career as an artist, producer or recording engineer, having a proper studio at your fingertips is of utmost importance. With the right space, materials, tools and budget, almost anyone can build a project studio.
Finding The Right Space
The first and most important aspect of building a studio is handling the acoustic space. If you just moved into a new home and have the option of choosing a room for your studio, you'll want to choose one that isn't a perfect square shape so as to avoid common reflection and frequency issues. Other ideal room characteristics may include odd and larger dimensions, a walk-in closet that could be used for a vocal/instrument booth, and room dimensions that are not divisible by each other or the same number as Home Studio Corner advises. Once you decide on a room, grab a tape measure and get ready to have some architectural fun!
Now you'll want to measure the dimensions of the walls and ceiling to determine what type of acoustical treatment will work best for your studio. Every room is different, so don't make the mistake of just buying a foam kit at a music shop without determining the proper set up. The RealTraps and Auralex websites provide great resources for the science of where to place acoustical treatment and what kind might be needed for your listening space and iso booth based on the room dimensions. There are also room measurement kits such as Room EQ Wizard, as well as special microphones that can record the frequencies of your room for honing in on specifics as to how to arrange your listening position.
Absorption and Diffusion Materials
As AudioRecording.me explains, sound absorption refers to removing sound from a room, while diffusion means to distribute the sound waves throughout the room. In a properly balanced studio, there should be a combination of both processes occurring. Perhaps one of the most important elements of absorption in your control room is reducing the buildup of low frequencies. You can either build or purchase bass traps that are typically placed in the corners of the room that will reduce the excess of these powerful low frequencies. Bass traps are most effective (and affordable) when you take the DIY route. Along with absorption panels for your walls, bass traps can be created using rock wool insulation (which you can purchase for cheap at Home Depot or Lowe's), wood slabs and linen. Absorption panels and foam wedges for walls and ceilings are also very important as they will reduce more mid-range and higher frequencies. Taking an extra step by installing plastic or wooden diffusors to evenly spread the sound waves also can't do you wrong.
Monitoring, DAWs and Recording Interfaces
The world of recording equipment can be overwhelming, as there is an endless supply of hardware and software options at your fingertips. Fortunately, sites like Sweetwater, Sound On Sound and Gearslutz provide great resources for reviews,ratings, how-to's and specs on a range of products. Studio beginners might start with basic but trusted studio monitors such as KRKs. However, if you have a heftier budget, opt for more professional caliber monitors, such as Adams or Dynaudios. When choosing a recording interface, you'll want to make sure you find one with the right amount of inputs and outputs for your tracking and routing needs. Focusrite, RME, Apogee and Digidesign all make solid quality interfaces. Your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is your recording and production software. There are many resources that will help you weigh the costs and benefits of DAW options, but the main contenders are Protools, Logic, Cubase and Ableton. There are versions of each DAW ranging in price depending on how deep your usage will be, so be sure to read the descriptions thoroughly.
Building a home studio is a learning process that involves everything from the science of sound waves to computer software knowledge. The learning will never stop as you will find yourself updating and maintaining your space and equipment to reflect the evolution of your craft and skill. However, once you have your initial studio set up, you can finally focus on what motivated you to build it in the the first place—the music!
While it's true some bands have a principle songwriter or source from an independent professional, some bands tackle songwriting as a team.
If you've ever endeavored such a feat, you're likely all too aware of the unique challenges posed by writing songs with a band. Between conflicting personalities to nailing down the most efficient songwriting process, it's not necessarily for the faint of heart.
But if you find your stride, writing songs together can help bolster your band in a big way. The following are a few sound strategies for approaching the process.
1. Establish a "leader"
If there are only two people in your band participating in the songwriting process, you can probably get away with approaching from a co-writing perspective. But if you have three or more members working on songwriting together, you're going to want to have a designated "lead." This person would be responsible for mediating in the event of creative disputes and, ultimately, making executive decisions should the group as a whole come to an impasse.
2. Be humble
Particularly if you're the quote-unquote leader or the person in the band who is considered the head songwriter, be humble. If you come at your band mates from a place of condescension or superiority, the process will be over before it ever really begins. For songwriting as a band to be successful, it has to be collaborative — and people are much less likely to communicate openly if they feel alienated.
3. Don't get defensive
When defenses go up, momentum goes down. Nobody likes to hear their work critiqued, but in a group setting it's highly unlikely everyone is always going to be on the same page. Besides, sometimes a suggestion or edit to an original idea leads to something even better. When bands write songs together, everyone has to be open to suggestion or you'll just end up butting heads non-stop.
4. Set aside the time
Songwriting is a creative process, sure, but it should also be treated like a job. If you commit to writing songs as a band, you should schedule time to devote your attention fully to doing so — your group isn't going to write the next lyrical masterpiece if half the band is too busy playing Titanfall 2. When you come together for a writing session, writing should be your top (read: only) priority.
5. Talk about logistics
Once your band's brainstorming yields some solid lyric and you've set those to music, you're probably going to be ready to hit the ground running. However, if it isn't a conversation you haven't already had, you need to talk about the technical and/or legal logistics. How much does a band member need to contribute to the songwriting process to get a byline? Will non-writing members of the band share any credit or income? How will revenue be divvied up? These are all crucial questions you'll need to answer before you ever begin recording or marketing the music you've just written. Decide as a group, and then put it in writing.
Imagine you're in the middle of an engaging conversation and the person you're speaking with simply stops talking or puts you on hold. Sure, it happens — we've all experienced awkward silences at some point — but that doesn't make them any less annoying.
For fans, that's essentially sums up what it's like when dead air strikes at a live show. And while audiences are willing to forgive minor inconveniences, we all know they can turn on you if you let dead air become the star of the show.
Onstage, silence isn't golden. If it does happen to befall you mid-show, don't beat yourself up for too long (it's likely a lot more common than you think). Instead, shift your focus to the following tips and tricks for avoiding dead air onstage.
1. Don't lead with silence.
Have you ever been to a show where there is no music playing as the stage is being set up? It can be painfully awkward for everyone to stand around in the venue making small talk while waiting for the talent to appear — not to mention the collective letdown every time a PA enters the stage from peripheral view and the audience realizes the show isn't about to start. Since a show can't happen without the setting up process, you can't avoid it. However, you can set the mood with pre-show music that'll take the audiences mind off of the fact they're waiting.
2. Keep the audience informed.
If you need an extra minute between songs, give the audience a heads up. If there's a miscommunication about your set list between band members and you need a second to sort it out, just be honest. The more authentic a musician or band is, the more relatable they are to their audience. Plus, it's far better than the alternative of letting fans sit in silence wondering what's going on.
3. Come prepared.
And not just to play . . . that much should be a given. Come prepared for as many contingencies as possible. Plan for the worst case scenarios. What if someone forgets the lyrics mid-song? What if the mic stops working? What if someone breaks a guitar string? Knowing what you'd do in the event these things happen will keep you level-headed when they actually do, and being level-headed will help you avoid the dreaded dead air that often accompanies stage disasters.
4. Don't underestimate the power of small talk.
Granted, you don't want to talk through half your set. However, strategic small talk can act as social camouflage when something goes wrong. If you hit a glitch and need a few minutes to get it squared away, engage the audience. For the most part, fans only get to see the performance version of musicians. When they feel like they're getting to see a more personal side of you onstage, it makes you more memorable. The more memorable you are, the more likely they'll look you up again.
5. Be on the same page before you start.
Chatter between band members should be minimal once you hit the stage. Why? Because you've already had the big discussions beforehand: exactly what songs are on your set list, what order you plan to play them, how you'll handle transitions, etc. When a lead singer covers the mic and turns away from the audience to discuss something at length with a band mate, it's a segue straight into dead air. Plus, it comes off as amateur, which is never a good message to send to your audience.
There's an expression that goes, "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it." Such may come to mind when someone tells you there are ways you, as a musician, could potentially be making money online. And, hey, that's understandable — you can't swing a stick these days without hitting a scam.
However, there really are tried-and-true ways to make a few extra bucks (and in some cases, a lot of extra bucks) online as a musician. Are they easy? Well, easy is a relative term but it's safe to say that anything worth doing requires a little effort.
But if you're willing to put in the effort, the following methods of making money online could give your bank account a boost.
1. Listing your goods and services on online classifieds.
People are always, always looking for a good deal on great musicians to book for special events — whether that be a gala for work or to find a singer for their own wedding. Another idea? Music lessons! Most of us know at least one person who has expressed an interest in lessons, so why not capitalize on that interest? Offering music lessons for children and young adults may prove to be particularly popular. You can also try your hand at selling your music and merch through these sites (think Craigslist).
2. Searching the "gigs" section of online classifieds.
Another idea for Craigslist and other similar sites is to search the "gigs" section. Jobs for musicians are generally listed under the "talent" tab and vary in size and scope. In full disclosure, it's probably best to do a search in the gigs sections for "bands" or "musicians" — otherwise, you're going to have to sift through quite a few ads looking for "females interested in modeling" and "glamour models."
3. Sell directly through your website.
There are many benefits to selling your EP or album directly through your own website, namely that you don't have to shell out a big chunk of your revenue to a secondary seller. Stocking your online store with band merch like t-shirts and car decals also isn't a bad idea. Those sales won't make you rich, but they'll add up over time and aren't too cost-prohibitive to create.
4. Offering pre-order sales.
If you have an EP or full-length album in the works, offering pre-order sales accomplishes a few things. First, it obviously establishes a revenue stream for the release to build upon. Second, it hypes the release. There's hype inherent with pre-orders, because fans like feeling like they will hear the music they love before the proverbial masses. The more momentum you're able to build prior to release, the better yield you'll have once the album drops.
5. Auctioning gear and other music memorabilia.
There's a market for pretty much everything online, and music gear and memorabilia is no different. Is your band upgrading sound systems? Find an auction site that accepts used music gear (Google "auction music equipment") and list your old sound system. You can sell essentially anything this way, as long as you are willing to follow the rules of the auction site's reserve.
6. Blasting a flash sale.
Using your mailing list — if you don't have one, start building one now — send "flash sale" newsletters to your subscribers. Everyone loves a deal! By building special sale campaigns around special events (i.e. an upcoming show) or holidays (i.e. Christmas), you can unload everything from albums to merch to signed prints at a discounted rate. It's a smart way to move inventory that has been collecting dust.
7. Maintaining a YouTube presence.
While being discovered via YouTube and becoming a seeming overnight success isn't the most likely outcome, keeping your YouTube channel filled with fresh content will help you build a following. In turn, this drives traffic to your website, potentially boosting sales there as well as attendance at your shows. Just think of your YouTube channel as a living, breathing business card.
8. Submitting "bids" through online job sites.
As a musician, you are an expert in your field — you can levy that expertise on job sites like ODesk, Guru.com, Get a Freelancer, etc. The catch, of course, is that most of these sites are primarily a resource for writers. That can work in your favor for a few reasons, though. First and foremost, you are an actual musician who can generate music content based on personal experience. Second of all, the fact that you are a musician first could set you apart from the pack. At the very least, it's a great way to meet and make connections that could lead to gigs down the road.
9. Trying affiliate marketing.
This one definitely requires some thorough research and an understanding of what affiliate marketing is before you can determine if it's the right fit for you or your band. However, it goes without saying that there are plenty of bands who use affiliate marketing through their websites to generate income successfully. You can find a decent briefer from ProBlogger here.
Hey, don't feel bad — we all have habits we need to break. I bite my nails. My husband sometimes wears socks with sandals. But these things haven't affected our careers (at least not that we know of, although that socks-and-sandals business is pretty dicey). There are some bad habits that musicians are particularly prone to, though, that could very well curb a band's potential and growth. In other words, they need to go.
While it's never easy to admit you could be doing life a little better than you are, accepting that certain behaviors are problematic is the first step to fixing them. And fixing them? Well, that could be the first step toward putting your band on the map.
Check out the following issues bands often grapple with so you can be more mindful not to make them moving forward.
1. Not playing to your strengths
I love a good cover of "Simple Man" as much as the next person, but I'm also very aware that I don't have the vocal range of the late great Ronnie Van Zant (or Johnny Van Zant or Shinedown's Brent Smith, for that matter). I'm also not fronting a band trying to build its following, in which case I would want to downplay my weaknesses . Some songs just aren't a good fit for everyone. If your vocalist is struggling to hold onto long notes or your guitarist can't seem to master the riffs, don't include it in your set ... no matter how many times that one guy in the front row keeps yelling, "Play some Skynyrd!" The very best bands are the ones who know their strengths and highlight them.
2. Skipping out
Band practice may not be as exciting as standing on a stage pandering to a pumped up crowd, but skipping it is a bad idea. It'll essentially ensure you'll suffer some mortifying moment in your band's career that could very well have been prevented if you'd logged a bit more rehearsal time. A vocalist's voice is his or her instrument, and it must be trained. The other members of the band aren't off the hook, either — drums, guitar, and keyboard are all crafts that require practice if you expect those skills to stay sharp. Even worse than skipping out on practice, though? Bailing on a booked gig. Barring true emergency situations, you should never cancel a performance. It's a pain in the ass for the venue to find a replacement, and it could lead to bad word-of-mouth. You don't want to practice (and/or live, no judgment) in the basement forever, do you?
3. Trying to be something you're not (like, for instance, perfect)
I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: you're not perfect. You'll never be perfect. No amount of practice in the world will make you a perfect performer, because perfection is unattainable. It's like the horizon — an invisible line that recedes the closer you get to it. The most seasoned artists in the world with tell you the same, so stop wasting your time and energy trying to be a flawless version of yourself. Sure, keep striving to be the best version of you that you can be! But don't forget that it's human to err, and it's our self-perceived flaws that make us unique. In an industry as competitive as the music scene, you need something that makes you stand out. Your "flaws" can be your selling point if you simply learn to embrace them. Fans crave authenticity. Give them something authentic to remember you by.
4. Bailing on other bands
If you're booked to perform at a gig and two other bands are scheduled to come on after your set, try to stick around — especially if the bands are local. It's important to support your local music scene to cultivate interest and connections. It's also important not to seem like a bunch of dill-holes who think they are too good to stick around and listen to the quote-unquote competition. Granted, if you have a super early gig the next morning or have to hit the road early that night, by all means bow out. Do so gracefully, though, by telling the other bands booked that night to break a leg (and mean it only in the nicest sense of the expression).
5. Changing your band name
When it comes to a band's brand, it all starts with the name. Your band name is the first thing people see or hear about you. It's what is printed across the merch they buy when they become your biggest fans. It's the thing they scream when you come out on stage. In other words, a band's name is an integral part of their image. It's important, then, to pick a name and try to stick with it. Every time you change your band name, you risk losing the brand you've worked so hard to build. There are extenuating circumstances, of course, such as starting with name that lacks brandability or being forced by a larger band to change your name for infringement reasons. But if you've simply grown tired of your current name, think twice before making a change.
6. Expecting music writers to make the first move
Music writers and bloggers can be a band's best friend. You want them to take a vested interested in your story. You want them to promote your music. If a potential fan knows nothing about you and wants help deciding if your sound is worth pursuing, they turn to music writers to fill in the blanks for them. And, occasionally, you might hear from a music writer who came to one of your shows or whose curiosity was piqued by your buzz. But, as an entertainment writer, I can tell you there's not enough time in the day to pursue all of the pitches sent our way and still have time to reach out to every local band out there gigging. Don't expect coverage; work for it. If you were to email me and tell me I'd be missing a huge opportunity if I didn't interview a band as badass as yours, I'd email you back. Be respectful, but be persistent too. It could mean all the difference in the kind (and amount) of coverage you get.
7. Feeling bad about self-promotion
When asked about why they don't use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to promote their music, many bands will tell you they feel bad about barraging their friends, family, and fans with updates. In not doing so though, you're failing to capitalize on one of the easiest tools of self-promotion available that — bonus! — also happens to be free. The key is to find the right balance. If you under-post, you likely won't see much movement in your fan base or community involvement. If you over-post, you risk alienating your followers. Start by creating a few band-specific posts per day and work up or down from there. The people who dig what you're doing musically will want to hear what you have going on. Don't feel guilty! Get out there and get the good word out to the people.
There are many possible benefits of having a press kit accessible on your band’s website. It’s a section of your website that is dedicated to giving a professional snapshot full of useful information and images that people from the media can in various different ways. By putting this information together yourselves, you avoid the possibility that the media will use whatever photos or sound clips of your band that they can find online. It goes without saying that this has the potential to be very unflattering.
It’s best to take the whole situation into your own hands before this happens. Here is a list of some of the important things that you should be including in your band’s press kit:
Take the time to sit down together and write out a well organized biography for your band that really captures the image and purpose of your music. You should include different levels of information for those who might just need a quick bio and for those that might want to include more information. You can do this by writing a brief bio, one that is more descriptive, and then one that is your full complete biography.
High Quality Photos
Having photos that are professionally taken available on your band’s page is invaluable for preserving your public image. By having these available for the media to use for their blogs, events pages, and write-ups you can avoid having images put out there that are old, unprofessional, or unflattering. You should include several band photos and individual photos of each member of your band.
Make sure that you include a way for people to get in contact with your band whether that be an email that your band uses or the contact information of your booking manager. It’s important that the media can get ahold of your band in case they are interested in getting more information on a show, your band, or getting a quote for their article.
Links To Your Social Media Pages
Social Media is vital for bands in today’s cyberworld. It is an amazing tool for fans to stay connected with their favorite bands and stay up-to-date on tour information.It can be difficult to find your band’s page, however, especially if you have a name that doesn’t particularly stand out. Many people working in the media might not take the extra effort to try and look you up on their own, but, if you have links to all your pages on your media kit page, they will be just a quick click away.
You should include about three or four of your band’s best songs on your media press kit page for those wanting to write about your band. This is the perfect solution for those who might not be willing, or have the time, to make it out to your shows. This gives them an opportunity to hear a high quality recording of your music to get a good grasp of your sound. This also prevents them from having to resort to listening to fan recorded video on YouTube that might not be very representative.
A collection of your band’s previous interviews, reviews, and articles are a valuable asset to have on your press kit page so other writer can quote them, and get a good feel of the public opinion of your band. If your are using links from a news outlets page you should regularly check to make sure these links are still working as news outlets often take down older stories. You can avoid this by buying digital copies of interviews and stories from them for a small fee.
Starting a band in your hometown can be a lonely experience at first until you start to build up a dedicated fan base. The best way to fill that void and have a better experience as a band is to connect with your local music scene and really get involved. The benefits of surrounding yourself with others that are working towards the same goal as you are plenty. Here are just a few in case you need some persuading:
Connecting with other bands and those involved in the music scene in your town can provide and endless well of support for you in time of need. You never know when you are going to have an emergency like a busted amp or a broken down vehicle, but, if you make some meaningful connections within your local music scene, it is much less likely to be a serious problem.
There will also be times when you may not know exactly how to obtain the sound you are looking for or where to go with a song that you are stuck on. Having other musicians to call during these times can be a huge relief.
Trying to get your foot in the door at a venue or concert series can be near impossible if you live in an area that is already saturated with bands and musicians trying to make it. The best way to get your name out there is by knowing other people that are already connected with the venues, promoters, and community leaders. Networking is possible the best perk of being heavily involved in your local music scene and it invaluable to the up-and-coming band.
Do you need a new distortion pedal that will give you that sound you have been striving for, but don’t have the funds to head to the store to buy a brand new one? Being in contact with others that play the same instrument as you quickly pays off when you are able to buy off some of their old equipment that they don’t need anymore. You could even organize a swap meet for all the local musicians that you know in the area, and really score some great deals. You can also get rid of some of your own equipment that you have outgrown and make a few bucks!
In the beginning days of your band, you will have little to no fans that are interested in keeping up with your music. Other musicians, often times, will be your biggest fans starting out. Not only will they be regulars at your shows, but they will also tell their fans about you and tell them about your shows. Established fans are typically very open to the opinions of some of their favorite musicians on other music, so getting some more established musicians in your area to give you a shout out at their shows or on their social media goes a long way.
No matter how far your band goes, or doesn’t go, your hometown fans will always be the most loyal and the most enthusiastic about your music. They will always be the ones to buy your music first, and go to your shows every chance they get. That’s why the most important reason to build a strong connection to your local music scene is for these hometown fans. If you are good to them, they will be good for your and help spread your music far and wide.
It should come as no surprise that the number one reason we see when a band cancels their website is because the band broke up. Whether someone's ego gets out of check, creative differences build over time or drug abuse interrupts the band's schedule, there's a long list of reasons why bands break up and some probably should.
However, there are plenty of situations when the band should play on.
Being in a band requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Coordinating schedules for ample practice time, hammering out new songs, networking with promoters and booking agents for lucrative gigs, building a fanbase and selling merch are just a few of the tasks that make this industry truly a labor of love.
What if the majority of your band is on the same page, but you have that one "problem member" that just can't seem to get their act together? Why not consider finding a suitable replacement instead of starting a new band from scratch? Finding replacements can be easier than you think with musicians classifieds!
BandVista powered websites come with premium access to the leading musician classifieds site, BandMix.com. Search for local musicians, contact them individually or create online auditions, so the musicians come to you.
So how do you start using BandMix Premier Membership? If you don't already have a BandMix account, you'll need to sign up for one here or if you're outside of the United States, at the version of the site that serves your area. BandMix provides service to numerous countries across the globe!
Linking your BandMix site to your BandVista account is easy. Simply log in to your BandVista site builder, click the "Site" button at the top of your dashboard and select "Link BandMix". There you'll be able to log in and automatically upgrade services at no additional charge.
As far as band members go, you are already aware of the basics: guitarist, vocals, drums, bassist, ect., but if those are the only members of your band then you are really missing out on some opportunities. For example, who is taking your pictures while you are performing or rehearsing? All the selfie sticks in the world can’t help you out there. That’s when it is going to pay off to have a support system of people that are ready and willing to lend their talents to your band. Here are a few of positions that you should be trying to fill:
Photographer and Videographer
As mentioned above, you really need to have someone around that can take some high quality photos of you and your band in action. Most people have at least one friend that dabbles in some photography. Find that person and recruit them to take some quality pictures of your band. People are very visual and they want to see pictures of you on your website, social media, and even posters. Your band will look all the more professional if you are using images that are high resolution.
The same goes for video. A lot of people will look up a band that they are unfamiliar with before going to a show to see what they are getting into. If you don’t have any videos online of your band playing some songs then you could be missing out. Find someone that is interested in taking some video of your band at shows and post it on your website, Youtube channel, and social media pages; it will go a long way.
There is no limit to the potential that having an artist hanging around can have. You are going to need unique art for posters, album covers, t-shirts, and so much more. Find someone that will draw up some awesome art that really reflects what your band is about. That’s one of the pluses of recruiting someone that is close to you and your band, they are much more likely to produce art that will be representative of your band and your sound.
So, you have accumulated all this media from photographs to original art, but you need to make sure it ends up in the hands of your fans. Select someone to update your website frequently. You will need them to add your videos and pictures, update your calendar, and maybe even design your website. This is a non-negotiable thing in today’s world. If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist. The good news is, BandVista makes this easy to do with no web development experience needed.
A lot of bands staff their own merch tables before or after a show, but it is very beneficial to have someone that is willing to do that for you. That way you can spend the time before your show getting ready and pumped up and the time after your show meeting fans. You also want to have the merch table running during the show for anyone that comes in late, has to leave early, or just wants to grab a cd while the crowd is died down. It’s an easy job that anyone you know could probably do, and they would get in free!
This might just be the most important person on this list. You need to have a superfan that is always in your corner and spreading the word about your band. It’s like having a marketing team without having to hire one. This person will tweet and post about all your shows, bring friends into your fandom, and share pictures and video of your band. That is invaluable to you as you are starting up and trying to get the word out about your band. You can even bring this person in sometime to sample new songs of yours or even work your merch table. The possibilities are endless so keep this person around if you are fortunate enough to gain a megafan!
It can become repetitive playing the same clubs and bars in your area, especially if you live in a small area. It can also hinder you from getting your name out to people that are not interested in heading out to bars in their free time. One way to remedy all of this is by looking into different types of venues that your band can play. By doing this you will expand your fan base and show people that you can be versatile, opening up even more opportunities for your. Here are some suggestions that can get you started thinking outside the “normal” live music scene:
This may not seem obvious at first, but it is a great venue to get your music out to a new scene of people. I once arrived to a museum for their exhibits and found an amazing jazz band playing in the lounge area that was a perfect addition to my evening plans. Museums are all about the arts and culture; music has always been a huge contributing factor in both of these. Try reaching out to your cities museum to play a night that they highlight local artists.
You might have thought of this one, but performing live on local radio is a great way to get your music out to a lot of people at once while also having an opportunity to promote your band. Many colleges have radio stations that would be perfect for something like this. Many radio DJ’s are heavily involved in local music scenes anyways, whether that be performing or just attending, and are very interested in featuring new local talent.
Aside from appearing on their radio programs, many colleges look for local talent for events that they have on campus. It definitely pays to get in good with the event coordinator at your nearest colleges (and even high schools) to play at formals, events, and celebrations. This is also a great opportunity to play in front of a very influential demographic in the music scene.
A fan favorite, house parties are always fun and energetic. This is a perfect way to let people get familiar with your band on a very intimate level. This is also a great environment to test out some new material as well. Fans will love these shows because they will be able to get up close and personal with their favorite local band. All you need is some friends or contacts with a great, spacious house that they are willing to host your band in.
Here is a great opportunity to bring in some really good money for your band. Several corporations hire bands for events that they host to introduce a new product or program, and it could be a great chance for your band to introduce yourselves to a new group of people and network. Many companies also throw parties for their workers and families every year that would be another opportunity to work together.
Parks and Recreations
The Parks and Recreations Department in your town is another great outlet for shows that you could be using for your band. Many across the country host live music events showcasing local musicians during spring and summer. Get in contact with the event coordinator for your town and see what you can do about being added to the schedule. These events have huge potential for reaching a lot of people in your town that could start coming to your regular shows.
Everyone knows that, when it comes to forming a band, one bad apple really can spoil the whole bunch. That’s why you have to invest a significant amount of time in auditioning potential band members. Here are a few examples of the kind of people you should avoid in your band:
The No Show
Obviously, there are times when being late or absent cannot be avoided, but there is a big difference in those occasions and the ones that happen consistently. This isn’t only unprofessional, but it is also very unfair to the rest of your band. without everyone in attendance, you are not going to be able to practice to the fullest. Even if they are just late they will end up wasting a lot of your time. And you have to remember that if they are late or a “no show” for practice they will be late or absent to shows. Behavior like this can get your band a bad name very quickly.
Probably the most common personality on this list when it comes to musicians, the egotist can be discovered very easily. Is there one person speaking so loudly that no other member of the band can contribute to the discussion? Is someone’s instrument turned up so high that it drowns out all the others? That person is likely your egotist, and they can be very destructive to your band. If you are purposefully seeking out someone who will call all the shots for your band then go ahead and add the egotist to your lineup, otherwise, look the other direction.
They will have a difficult time taking any constructive criticism on their own performance or any advice on the direction of the band. The egotist is definitely not a team player, and will make it difficult for more mild-mannered band members to voice their opinions.
The Drama Queen
You know this one. The are the ones that burst into practice or a show in a blaze of emotions and drama. They have a hard time focusing because they just have too much going on at home. It could be anything: rent is due, they drank too much last night, their boyfriend/girlfriend broke up with them, ect. The list could go on and on, and it will hinder the productivity of your band. It is really important that your band knows how to leave it all at the door once it is time to participate. All the other stuff can be addressed after hours.
This person will also turn up to shows or practice totally drunk and/or high. That is unhealthy for them, and it’s unhealthy for your band image. Venues do not book sloppy bands for shows and you will quickly get blacklisted as soon as your bandmate does something crazy like throwing up on stage.
The Dangerously Shy One
This person has little to no self-confidence and that can hold you back your band in the long run. This person is crushed by constructive criticism and will take it personally most of the time. They will not be able to contribute during band discussions for fear of having their ideas rejected. This person may not seem that destructive to a band, but when you think about how you could have one more passionate, vocal member of your band instead it adds up.
This one could go by a few titles like “the lazy one” or “the shirker”. This person is magically never around when you are loading or unloading equipment. They are also not around when you are setting up, or doing any kind of grunt work. They are not willing to do any of the heavy lifting, but want all the glory of being on stage. This is a good way to piss off the rest of your band because if you are abdicating your duties then you are just creating more work for them to do. No one likes cramming drum sets into the back of someone’s hatchback, but someone has to do it. The abdicator does not carry their own weight and it gets old fast.
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Hitting a brick wall creatively can be one of the worst feelings as a musician. It’s something that we will all go through at one time or another, but it doesn’t have to be something insurmountable. There are several proven ways that you can confront a creative block to get you back on the right track for progress.
If you are working on songwriting, try actually writing out your lyrics and ideas on paper. There is just something about physically writing out your ideas that has a tendency to spark creativity more than just typing things out on a computer. It may be the feel of the pen in your hand or the smell of ink on fresh paper, but it’s been proven to get the creative juices going when you're in a slump.
Make sure that you are also practicing with the same drive and intensity that you would have during a show. Setting the stage in this way can really being all the passion and excitement of performing live into your rehearsal space to inpire some creative energy. You should never give your practice time a halfhearted effort.
Another easy thing you can do to promote creativity is to surround yourself with things that are inspiring to you. Try hanging up posters of bands, songwriters, and musicians that you look up to to keep your eye on the prize. It has also been shown that when people look at the colors blue and green they feel more creative than with any other colors; so maybe think about painting!
Speaking of blue, eating blue fruits like blueberries and acai does wonders for your brain activity. These and other dark fruits and vegetables are extremely rich in antioxidants that promote brain health and productivity. Try a handful of these for a snack with you are stuck in a creative rut.
While you are eating healthy, you should also get in some exercise. Going for a run, or riding your bike when you are having a hard time getting to the next step in your creative process will pump your body full of endorphins, the feel-good hormone, and promote plenty of great ideas along the way.
You also need to take care of your mental self when experiencing a creative block. It can be easy to get frustrated and put yourself down, or be overly critical of yourself during these times. You just need to stay positive because, as I mentioned earlier, we all go through it. Try to keep looking ahead and do more constructive things with your time than tearing yourself esteem down. Try doing some meditation when you are feeling like you are at the end of your rope. Studies have shown that participating in open meditation where you allow your find to explore anything that comes to mind generates more new ideas than other forms of meditation. It is also a definite way to relax and take things down a notch when the pressure is on.
Now that you have these tools in your belt, go into your next practice or brainstorming session with confedence that you will know what to do when that creative block comes on.
Everyone knows how vital great vocalists are to any band. They are on the forefront of the stage and are the face of your band. For all these reasons and more, it is absolutely imperative that vocalists take care of their voices before, after, and in between shows and rehearsals. In the event of an emergency, it is difficult to find a stand in for your vocalist that will give your audience the experience they are expecting, so follow these simple tips to keeping your vocals in top shape for every show.
Your voice is just like any muscle and you need to work it out regularly for it to be at it’s best. The saying goes that if you don’t use it you’ll lose it, and that is definitely the last thing you want for your singing voice. Set aside time where you don’t have anything else to do, and really focus on running through songs and exercises that challenge your abilities. You can find a lot of great workouts on Youtube or you can find numerous book that are specifically for vocal workouts.
Sauna For Your Voice
Humidity is the best environment for your voice. If you are fortunate enough to attend a gym that has a sauna, you should definitely take advantage of it for your vocal cords. If not, then there are several ways you can replicate it like standing over steaming water with a towel over your head or taking a really hot shower.
You can also purchase machines that do all the work for you like a humidifier or a steam inhaler. You will notice the soothing effects immediately and this will quickly become your favorite part of your routine.
Skip The Milk
Milk is a vocalists worst enemy. Avoid it at all costs. Drinking milk causes your saliva and mucus to thicken up to a point that become very difficult to sing or even speak clearly. This thick mucus covers your vocal cords, and makes them work even harder. If you can’t stay away from the stuff, just make sure to avoid it the day of your shows and rehearsals.
Eat Your Apples
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it will also help your voice. They have the magic amount of acid in them that is low enough to be safe, but high enough to blast mucus from your vocal cords. This makes apples the perfect snack to have before and during rehearsals and shows.
Drink The Good Stuff
Not the good stuff that you might be thinking...save that for after the show, but there are some things you need to be drinking beforehand that will help you out a lot. First of all is water. It is important for a number of reasons that you stay hydrated, but the one you should be focused on is that it keeps your vocal cords from drying out. As stated above, humid environments are the best for your voice. If you plan on smoking or drinking any alcohol, you will want to consume even more water as those things will dry out your vocal cords real quick.
Second, is hot tea. This is, by far, the most soothing thing you could drink for your voice. It really does wonders and should be a staple for you during and after shows. Make sure to drink decaf, though, as caffeinated tea will cause some dryness.
At this point we all know that practice makes perfect, and, if you want your band to have a really polished sound, you are going to have to practice a lot. What some people may not realize, though, is that there is a right and wrong way to go about band rehearsal. Here are just a few tips that everyone should be thinking about whenever they are setting up their next rehearsal.
Have A Plan
One of the worst things you can do going into a rehearsal is being completely blind about what you are going to be doing during that time. One of the ways you can accomplish this is by establishing some roles within your band. Who is going to be the one scheduling practice? Who will secure a location? Also, who will be the leader?
Now, you may be wary about establishing a leader in your band, but it is important to designate one person to be the one that says, “We really need to try that song again” or “Alright, let’s really crack down on this now.” It’s easy sometimes for practice to get derailed; having a leader can really help keep the practice progressing.
You should also have your songs planned out ahead of time. No one needs to come into practice without the slightest idea of what you are about to be doing. Get together and settle on the songs ahead of time, or designate a person to do this. In a band that I was in previously, our band leader would copy all the songs that we were going to do that week onto CDs for everyone to take home and practice with.
Set some goals for your practices as well like how many songs you want to work on or what plans you need to finalize. Make sure that you can check all your goals off by the end of rehearsal to keep your band moving forward.
Have Already Practiced Your Part A Lot
If you haven’t practiced your part of the songs about a thousand times before you get to rehearsal then you are doing something wrong. Everyone needs to have spent a lot of time on their individual parts before attempting them all together. Often times band members will assume that rehearsal is for practicing your parts, but it’s to bring together the already mastered parts of the songs into a complete work.
Create A Good Environment
Your living room isn’t good enough unless you’ve completely emptied it out. It’s really important to set up an environment that you can really focus in and be productive. It should be free of distractions, and should be a space where you aren’t concerned with being too loud.
Record Your Practice
You wouldn’t believe how helpful this can be. I’m sure you’ve experienced a practice where you know something is off ,but you can’t quite figure out what it is. Recording your practices can really help with this. You’ll be able to listen back on your sessions and pick it apart until you find out exactly where the problem is. You can also use these recordings to track the progress your band is making, which is always a confidence booster.
This may sound cheesy or obvious (or both), but it is easy to lose track of having fun when you are redoing the same song for the tenth time. Take a breather every now and then to ease the tension and remember that you are doing something that everyone in your band loves.