How to start a teen rock band
By LESLIE A. PANFIL
My daughter Amanda was in her first rock band at the age of 11. NADA (Nick, Amanda, Dylan and Anthony) became a tight and talented rock group that gained considerable notoriety is their brief time together. Amanda, now 13, has since gone solo. She still flirts from time to time with the idea of being in a band again.
Like any new enterprise, the learning curve is great. So, here are 9 tips that will help you along the way to forming your own rock group.
1. Parental Help. From keeping the band on track to forking out the bucks for sound equipment, parental help is a must. Let the kids be kids and allow the parents to provide the structure that will keep the band moving forward.
2. Band Mates. You will need at least a lead singer, drummer and guitar player. For a fuller sound you will want a bass player and back-up vocals. Depending upon the range of your lead singer, you may consider two lead singers.
3. Practice. The band should practice as a band at least 1-1 ½ hours per week. Band mates should also commit to practicing 15 minutes – ½ hour on their own every day. Without this kind of dedication, the technical skill just won’t be there. Here is NADA practicing in our living room.
1. Compromise. Being part of a band requires compromise. You will have to be able to come to an agreement of everything from song choice to the band’s name. If you are uncompromising you will soon find yourself out on the curb.
2. Band Name. Your band’s name should be age appropriate and suite your musical style. If it is your goal to play gigs, you will want to choose a name that venues will be willing to promote. A name like “Slut Puppies” isn’t going to make it at a community home days or church event.
3. Similar Goals. Does your band want to play gigs or would you be happy playing in your basement forever. Maybe you just want to get together and write music. As long as everyone has similar goals, you will find playing in a band rewarding. After you have rehearsed for months is not the time to find out that your lead singer refuses to sing in front of anyone.
4. Develop a Set List. Chose 3 songs to work on for your first practice. If you can’t come up with 3 songs you can all agree on, you may have a number 3 problem – compromise. If you manage to come up with 3 songs, use them as your base and slowly add songs until you get to a set list of about 8 songs. This will give you about a ½ hour set, ideal for opening for another band. Again consider the fact that you will probably be playing family friendly events that no matter how good your rendition of “Highway to Hell” is, it isn’t going to be welcome.
5. Gigs. Booking gigs can help your band progress. The pressure of knowing you will soon have to fill the stage with 20 minutes of music can motivate your band to add a new song or tighten up something that you are working on. Think outside the box. In the link below NADA performs at a local candy shop. Not your typical venue. But, with some networking, you can find a myriad of conventional and unconventional venues.
Candy Store Gig
1. The Breakup. Like teen romances, teen bands are likely to be brief encounters. Ask most musicians and they can give a list a mile long of the bands they have been in. But, each experience moves you along the path.
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