When you think about starting a band, you might wonder how many members or what variety of instruments you will need. This can change as you gain experience or adapt your performance set to different crowds and venues.
As a general rule, a band refers to a variety of instruments needed to perform a set of music. If one man plays more than one instrument plus vocals, it’s also called a band. It is your choice to add more members to your band if your music needs it.
Here are a few scenarios to guide you in making informed decisions.
The One-man-band as a Street Busker
This is a great route to go when you are a street busker and thinking about adding to your sound. Adding a kick drum to your setup will not only add extra rhythm, but it will also fill up your sound. More pros to this are that you carry on to keep your profit to yourself plus you simplified practices when it’s only you. I have seen excellent artists starting and boosting their careers like this. A wonderful way to make new fans!
Must-Know Tips for a Street Busker:
- When planning your set, focus on popular and familiar music above your own. People will turn their heads and smile when they hear music that they know, and perhaps stand still and listen.
- Only play originals when you are running out of music. It is risky to play your own since people are walking by and our goal is to convince them to stand and listen for a while.
- Have a QR code presented for people to follow you. People are in a rush when they are in the city, and we still want to make fans on the go.
- Include songs for the whole family. If you can get kids entertained, you will have the adults open their wallets. 😉
- Include music specific for the dads or men. When families go shopping, the males are usually the ones standing outside of the shops, observing the traffic.
- Have a unique image to be remembered by. If you make good music and look like Jack Sparrow, you will definitely not be forgotten.
- Make sure you are registered and licensed. You don’t want to be doing anything illegal here.
- Have enough water plus a snack. You will need to stay hydrated and not interrupt your set when you need to look around for water or food.
- Don’t think about the money. Keep reminding yourself that this is a charity event or that you are doing a promotion for yourself. The money will come in when you are entertaining and show that you are having fun.
A two-man Band
A two-man band is called a duo. This is the place where a band starts to develop because you integrate the style of music from another musician with that of your own. I would recommend the addition of a second guitarist, a bassist, or a keyboard player with a strong backup vocal, but usually still excludes a drummer. Of course, a violin or classical instrument would be a bonus, but then you take the risk of losing the option of a backup vocal.
In this phase, you will be looking for gigs at restaurants and pubs, while still promoting yourself either via social media or busking in town. Performances are key since you start to create a following. Focus on sing-along music and oldies to balance your set and be prepared to spontaneously adapt to the audience as your show continues.
The ideal goal during this stage would be to get a permanent slot at a local pub where you will start performing to the regular guests and then start to fill more people into the venue during time. This method will grow your fan base organically.
Three-piece Band Setup
There’s unlimited versatility that a three-piece or a “trio” band can achieve musically, including being able to adapt your set between plugged or unplugged. The most popular three-piece setups are guitar, bass, and drums with a frontman plus backup vocals.
The cons of the new addition are arrangements with one more person, finding the right person for the job, and sharing the profit. If this is no stumbling stone for you, it will be worth it. The experience of being part of a three-piece band is special and it becomes like a brotherhood (or sisterhood 🙂 ).
Making space for another member will need approximately 8 practices to gel and integrate the various styles of the members, depending on the set length.
I hope this gives you some direction. I definitely plan to expand on the various band numbers in the near future, so visit soon again.
Till next time, Rock On!