Use these 11 tips to track down band members who share your musical style, attitude, and work ethic — as well as similar short and long-term goals.
Unless you’re a solo artist or a songwriter shopping your material, a great melody and lyrics mean next to nothing if you don’t have a band to perform them with. If you are a singer, drummer, guitarist, or any other type of music artist who’s looking to find band members or fellow musicians to jam with, you’re in luck: there is an abundance of resources out there to help you do just that.
So, how do you find band members?
While some of these approaches will require you to be creative and expand your comfort zone, going the extra mile can be well worth it. After all, the goal is to find quality musicians who are compatible with your musical style, personality, and work ethic – and who share similar short and long-term goals of the band.
1. Advertise for band members locally
To find a potential band member who resonates with your musical tastes, consider advertising in places where they frequently gather, such as local music stores, record shops, and live music venues within your community.
Most times, all it takes is a quick chat with the store owner to get approval to hang your flyer on their bulletin board. You can also call around to local restaurants and coffee shops that have open mic nights to see if they’d be willing to let you advertise there. If possible, make a creative, eye-catching flyer that conveys your style. This can help you find a new band member, as well as speak to your professionalism.
2. Contact recording studios and rehearsal spaces
Calling every recording studio and rehearsal space in the area is a great way to find out about people who may be looking for band members, but it also extends a line of communication that could serve as a useful connection in the future. At the very least, you could also ask to advertise your flyers there as well.
3. Ask your friends
Never underestimate the power of Aunt Stacy’s connections in the next town over! Mentioning to family that you’re looking for a band member may spark an unexpected connection with someone you may not have met otherwise. Asking around your friend group can also be surprisingly fruitful, as even though you may not be friends with many local musicians, everybody seems to know one. Even if those talented musicians are already in a band, they may know someone to refer you to or they may be considering a new project, creating another opportunity to establish an unexpected connection.
4. Run a print ad for band members
When it comes to reaching a wide audience, placing an advertisement in the local newspaper can be highly effective; however, the crucial element lies in being specific. So, be sure to state what type of genre you play, how many bandmates you’re looking for, how they can best reach you, and perhaps your age or the age range you’re looking to connect with. Believe it or not, many people still look to the paper for “wanted” ads, and it’s a cheap way to get the word out. Try local papers that reach your target audience.
5. Post online
Perhaps the most common way to meet other bandmates is to look on sites like Craigslist. Sure, you’ll get a variety of people contacting you, but you can always filter interested applicants by asking them about their goals for the future of the band or if they could send you a sample of their sound. You want to be sure you’re getting the most qualified people to contact you, and you don’t want to waste your time with local musicians whose experience is wildly different from yours or whose goals are incompatible.
6. Join a musician finder site
There are a handful of websites specifically designed to connect solo musicians with interested band members. Sites like MusoFinder, Bandfinder, and Jamifind all can effectively help aspiring or solo musicians find fellow band members. Many times these services are free, and are as easy as creating a profile and searching for talented musicians in your area.
7. Join forums
Visiting sites like reddit.com/r/FindABand can help you to meet new people who are looking for a new band member. Joining in on the conversation can help you get specific questions answered and learn the ropes of the industry itself. The connections you make here can be as personal or as public as you’d like, and there’s no pressure if it ends up not working out.
8. Use social media
Expanding your reach and generating buzz can be effortlessly accomplished by using the power of social media platforms. If you don’t already have one, create a Twitter account or put your music on SoundCloud and encourage people to share it with others. Getting involved and building a legitimate following can help to solidify your place in the industry and among those in your local area.
Letting people know that you’re looking to start a band and looking for members can be as easy as a post on Facebook, joining a Facebook group, tweeting about it, or putting an Instagram post out that is tagged with your location. Try searching popular hashtags that are relevant to your search as well.
9. Create a website
If you have a website, advertise on there. If not, consider getting one! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but having a space for your music or even just an “About Me” section can help people to get to know you and see what you’re all about. It’s common for people to do an online search to validate the credibility of a band or artist they are interested in, so, it is important to ensure your online presence is easily discoverable and equipped with the right information they need. However, simply having a website isn’t enough. Direct people to that URL by putting it on your flyers, ads, and social media – and do the same with the SoundCloud URL or Facebook page you’ve created as well.
10. Record a demo
This one might be tricky, especially if you don’t have the means, opportunity, or equipment necessary to record. However, this is something that all solo artists should consider, as it’s a great way for people to hear exactly what you sound like, and can be easily shared and used to recruit fellow dedicated musicians. Having a sample of your music is like having a physical resume of your work – and just like a resume, it can help you “get the job.” And if you’ve played in a band (or two) with recorded material, make a “best of” with songs that highlight your playing or songwriting.
11. Play or attend open mic nights
Don’t just post a flyer and hope for the best, stake out open mic nights and meet people. If you can play, do it, and if you’re just there to try to make connections, be prepared to introduce yourself and have whatever items you can (demo on CD, business card, flyer) to exchange with interested parties you meet.
Hopefully these 11 tips will help you find new band members that are just as committed to music as you are. If you’re looking for session players for your studio recording instead, check out this article. Got any other ideas or great stories of how you met your band mates? Share them in the comment section.
If you’re an aspiring musician in the NYC area who’s in the process of creating a band or who needs space to rehearse, check out NYC’s The Music Building. The Music Building is NYC’s largest music rehearsal studio space, and can help you establish yourself as a musician by providing a professional space for you to practice or record music.
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