How to advertise for Band Members
Finding talented people isn't as easy and people think
Since writing my popular article How to run a Band well (and keep it together) I've been asked the same question by many readers: how do I advertise for quality musicians for my band?
This is an issue that many bands and band Managers face at one time or another. You may well have the foundations for a great band but there's a chance you're missing someone. The problem is how to advertise in the right places for the right person.
This article provides some examples of where to look and where to go to find decent musicians whilst also outlining the pro's and con's of the process.
Design your advert
Before you decide where you're going to advertise, you need to decide on exactly what you are advertising for. You need to consider the following:
- sounds obvious, but be clear on the type of musician you need i.e. vocalist, drummer, lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist
- the experience level of the musician (there's no point is asking for a semi professional drummer if you're band is only just starting out and has no experience
- the contact details of the person who will deal with enquiries (someone who has the time)
- the contact methods for the enquirer to contact you on (i.e. email, home phone, mobile phone)
- closing date for applications
- if you're going to audition where will the audition be held
Online 'free ads'
When I was starting out in the music circuit (initially as a drummer and then later as a vocalist) I found my first few gigs from free online adverts. At the time the internet was still in it's infancy for consumers and Google hadn't even become mainstream. There was no such thing as Facebook or Twitter but some paper free advert newspapers had already started the move from paper to online publications.
As online sales become more prevalent some people argue that the day of the music shop is getting increasingly closer.
But there are still many music shops open and those that still are generally thrive and have decent foot-fall. Most music shops will also have an advertising board and allow you to put up an advert for free (or a nominal fee). Music shops are great because their customers are generally the people you want.
Beware though. Music shops can be a hive of activity for the failed musician. Make sure you ask all the right questions (see below section 'The Big Questions') before inviting someone to audition.
Word of mouth
This is probably the greatest option. If you're lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of super-sexy musicians then there chances are that one of your acquaintances will know someone who knows someone who is looking to play join a band.
Many rehearsal studios have advertising boards. Get permission and put a notice up.
Be clear and concise about who you are, what you intend to do and what you need. Make sure that you are clear if the musician needs to have their own equipment or transport.
If you're advertising for a singer do they need their own PA? Many won't have their own, especially if they're just starting out. That doesn't mean you should automatically discount them as there's a wealth of budding and young talent out their who might just be the person you're looking for.
Lots of musoe's hang around music venues and it's likely that many musicians in the venue might be into the same genre that you're interested in.
However, these venues can be loud and it's sometimes difficult to approach musicians.
You should also be prepared for a punch on the nose if you try to poach someone from the band gigging that night. It doesn't go down well as is considered the taboo way of getting new members!
Social networking sites
Social networking sites, in particular Facebook, can be a great place to find new talent or advertise for musicians. Many local areas have a dedicated forum or community for bands and musicians to share ideas and advertise for musicians and musical equipment for sale.
It may take a little searching, but you should quickly find something. Start by search for the work 'band' followed by your location i.e. 'band essex' or 'cover bands birmingham' and see what some up.
Visit Jam Nights
Jam night's are a fantastic way for like minded musician's to meet. The generally offer a relaxed atmosphere with novice musicians can play alongside professionals and socialise over music.
Many pubs and bars across the country host regular jam nights and in some cases even provide instruments for those who maybe don't have their own equipment.
If you're a jam night virgin I highly recommend that you try one out. You might even bump into someone famous. My local jam night in the village of Hatfield Peverel occasionally has a visit from the infamous leather jumpsuit wearing and bassist Suzi Quatro. See the video below (sadly no leather on this occasion but the drummer assures me she still has a great bum)!
The Big (interview) Questions
So you've had a response to your advert (hopefully more) and now it's time to ask some questions to ensure that this person is worth auditioning. Here's a list of questions to ask and an explanation as to why you're asking:
- Why did you leave your last band? This question is great for a number of reasons. It will help you fish out the person who can't take criticism or is egotistical and may point to someone who has issues committing to rehearsals
- What is your experience? There's no point in hiring a guy who spent 15 years on the road with Pearl Jam if you're a garage band with no experience. It's a waste of everyone's time and will only serve to piss that guy off. Not cool.
- How many bands have you been in over the past two years? A great way of identifying people with commitment issues.
- Do you have your own car? This may not be an issue but unless you're prepared to give lifts or run someone around you may need to check this.
- Do you have your own equipment? Sounds obvious but you'll be surprised by the number of people who turn up to an audition empty handed. Singers are a classic example. I can think of some many examples where singers have turned up to a rehearsal without so much as a £5 microphone. If they need to bring equipment you need to tell them.
This is important. There is absolutely no point whatsoever in asking someone to an audition who is either out of your league or who is well above yours. It will quickly become evidence who isn't being truthful and that's totally pointless.
In the same respect, don't keep people hanging. If you've got no intention of hiring them, tell them. Be straight - the music circuit is smaller than you think and you never know when your paths might cross again.
Take the vote!
Which musician is the most difficult to find?
Ready to start managing your band?
So you've got your musicians and it's time to get the band rolling. You're going to need someone to manage it and lots of hints. Fear not! My blog titled How to run a band well (and keep it together) had loads of free information, hints and advice.
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© 2015 Ritchie Hicks