Starting a band has its challenges, and it’s good to be aware of possible stumbling stones that you could expect. After reading this article, you will feel well-informed about all the important factors to look out for and to start your journey being prepared and ready.
Starting a Band Takes Time and Patience
The dream is big, and passion and motivation are driving you to get the most out of the start. A productive and quick start is great, but I want you to also pack in your patience and understand that it might take a bit of time.
Once you have your band together, decide to make it a 3-5 year project. Most bands only reach success after approximately 3 years, which is standard. This gives you time to produce enough material, perform regularly, build a following, record and release music, and market it with videos and performances.
Facing Challenging Characters
Within a band, you are dealing with multiple personalities. Each of these individuals shares the same passion (hopefully). You will certainly encounter situations where you disagree with how things are done in your band. People have different ideas of how goals should be reached.
The first solution to this is to keep the best interest of the band at the centre of the discussions and make sure all members feel that their contributions are valued and taken seriously.
If you are currently dealing with conflict in your band, the article I wrote about How To Deal With Conflict in your Band will certainly guide you to finding various fair solutions.
Playing at Empty Venues During the First Phase
Your first gig is booked, and you have invited all your friends and family to come and watch. The crowd is gathering nicely, and you feel excited and confident about the prospects and future of the band. The first concert is a success, and you are confident in filling each venue.
When the 5th, 6th, or 7th gig comes around, a bit further away from home where it’s a bit too far for your friends and family to drive, or they have seen you perform multiple times, you start to play at emptier venues.
This is a challenging and lonely phase for many musicians since you hardly make any income from these gigs and you feel like it’s only you and the barman.
My solution would be to be in contact with other bands and perform shorter shows together so that fans can be shared and venues can be filled.
Another option might be to contact a Successful Musician and try to organise an opening performance for them if you are already confident.
Always Carrying Around Heavy Equipment
Depending on how your practice setup might work, carrying around plenty of equipment around is something you get used to. Walking 2-3 times to your car and offloading all your gear is pretty normal. Not even to mention that some pieces would weigh quite heavy. The good news is that they keep developing the newest gear to be smaller and lighter, with the same effect as the bigger, heavier ones.
A solution would be to stabilise yourself in a routine between practices and concerts. This could be that you can leave your gear at the practice venue and only take your guitar or hardware to the performance venue. Be sure to also ask about mics, stands, extra cables and monitors.
I wrote a post about How to Prepare for Band Practice which could guide you to finding a good routine with your band and optimise time and space. Balancing out the responsibilities in your band helps a lot.
Finding a Good Band Practice Etiquette
When you start to practice, everyone will start to slowly play what they know and the phase of gelling together will start. This is an important phase and should happen. At least for a start…
After a couple of practices, you might feel that the routine and etiquette might be missing. Band members arrive late, there’s no real plan, random smoke breaks and telephone calls disrupt the group and your goals for the practices can’t be reached.
In this case, I would recommend that it’s time to set up a Band Practice Etiquette that all the members agree on and can follow. This will let all the members feel valued and respected, and you will feel like you are reaching the objectives you planned beforehand. If this applies to you, don’t miss the article I wrote about it in the link above.
Be Ready and Open to Receive Critics
When you make music, you expose a part of yourself to people. You showcase your talent on stage and want to impress the audience. In the audience, there will not only be happy folk but also people who are jealous of your talent and would like to see you suffer from self-doubt.
This will be a continuous challenge throughout your career. You should focus on the 95% of the people that adores you, and show empathy toward the 5%. Staying kind, polite and friendly has the power to convince more people that you are worthy of your talent.
It is a Financial Expense
You will start off playing in a band as a hobby, and all hobbies cost money. You need cash for:
- Service of equipment
- Practice rooms
- Travelling to practice and gigs
Try to budget and optimise your cash. Sell the things you don’t use anymore and budget for the gas and practice rooms. Use the income you get to cover things like printing merchandise or buying gear that the whole band needs, like a PA or mixing desk.
This post was written and published by De Wet from startingmyband.com on 25.06.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.
Get Used to Self-Promoting Yourself
This is the one thing most people get tired of the quickest: trying to convince others to listen to your music, attend your shows, and buy your merch. All these things cost time and effort because it’s recurring and needs your attention each week.
My solution would be to share the workload within the band. Give each member a responsibility to help with promotion, social media, advertising, and managing merch. When it’s shared and everyone has input, then it becomes everyone’s job and responsibility to promote.
Working Hard and Not Getting Paid What you Deserve
You will put an incredible amount of work into this project. From practising and performing, to dealing with band members and promotion, and only at the far end of the line, you might take a small cut from the door fee from your shows.
This is not an ideal situation for people that put in so much work in reaching their goals. You will need to sell tickets, organise a doorman, and share your profit with the sound engineer. All of these things are demotivating and frustrating.
My solution would be to be mentally prepared in not to make much and to focus on networking well. Go to gigs, and organise with the venue manager that you would like to play for a bar tab tonight instead of expecting a fee, but in exchange, you would like regular bookings. Then you use the chance to create a following of fans that will come out every week or month to see you perform.
Set up posters and use this chance firstly to focus on a very small area of fans. Once this is established you can expand your area and do the same. This will help you with micro-managing your fanbase and grow from there.
I would like you to not give up. Being aware of these factors only places you in a stronger position to succeed. There are only solutions to the challenges, even if one solution didn’t work, think of a different one. Only you can do best at what you are busy doing.