Start a Band

Tips, trials and thoughts about starting and building a band in Australia

Finding Band Members

There are many different ways of finding band members. You might find them through friends, social networks, using online musician classifieds or printing an ad in the classifieds section of a magazine.

I recommend using a combination of the above because the more people you can choose from, the better chance you have of finding the right band member. If you can’t afford to place ads you can often advertise online for free.

If you aren’t ready to start a band that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be meeting musicians. If you don’t have any muso friends, consider placing a musician classifieds ad seeking people to jam with. The reason for this is that you should be networking. Musicians usually have more musician friends and the more musos you know, the better chance you have of finding people when you start a band.

Side note: You might not find a full band to jam with straight away and that’s fine. If you only have a guitarist and bassist available, do an acoustic jam or use a drum machine.  If you’ve only got a drummer and a vocalist in your jam sessions, consider learning another instrument just for jamming or experiment with electronic drum melodies (obviously this could get tricky but might be fun). Don’t be afraid to swap instruments for your jam, you’re just supposed to be having fun.

In my first band, we only had 2 guitarists and a bassist initially. We found a drummer in the local musician classifieds and eventually lost our first bassist. Both of our singers and our second bassist in that band came through the drummer. The vocalists were friends of his and he met the bassist in music classes.

In fact, my current band only came about because we were jamming with the old singer and drummer from my first band. The guitarist and I thought we’d take another stab at it and went about writing songs all the while keeping an eye out for band members.

Side note 2: While we were on the lookout for band members we realised that many of the musician classifieds sites online weren’t up to scratch and often they didn’t encourage their users to advertise important information about themselves. Things as simple as the user’s experience and whether or not a band played originals or covers were hard to determine in many ads. As such we worked on the musician classifieds site linked to above so that in the event we didn’t have a full band by the time we’d finished, we’d use it to find a band. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait that long to find a band but the site played a big part in us getting our first round of gigs.

We actually found our current singer during a party when a bunch of musically-minded people were passing around a guitar and playing various covers and originals. It might’ve been an impromptu jam but it was a jam. The great thing about musicians is that they’re usually drawn to music and musical discussion.

Long story short: don’t just look for band members in one place. Advertise online, chat with musos, jam with musos and whatever you do, don’t stop doing it lest there come a day you need a new band member.