Your First Gig: Steps to Starting a Rock Band


Some time ago, you ended up learning an instrument over the summer, either inspired by a song or experience you’ve gone through or forced by family and relatives. Whatever the cause, you’ve learned how to cover songs on the piano or make your own riff with a guitar. Regardless of the instrument and your skill level, you start playing for your personal enjoyment or having fun with friends. After some time, you feel like stepping up and maybe playing for a larger audience or finding more musicians who share the same passion for creating music. Enter a new group or rock band.

Even if you’re still unsure, starting a band even with a small group of people has its benefits. Plus, you meet new people and have a new set of friends. Who doesn’t want that?

  •  Playing alongside other musicians and instruments can inspire you to do better or even play another instrument. It also helps you find your sound.
  • Sharing interests and engaging in similar activities (such as playing music) will improve your social life. More people also means learning different perspectives and playing styles that make each member of the band unique.
  • The mere enjoyment of playing music alone is enough to start a band. Playing alongside people may help you become a better musician today than you were solo.

When you’ve been inspired already, here are some requirements before your first headlining show:

Putting the Band Together

While a one-person show is possible (you playing everything), having bandmates is the first and probably most difficult part of forming a band. If you’re a student, you’re in good chances of finding people with a similar drive — with a school or university and some spare time in your hands. You’ll find the right people in no time. If you’re not a student anymore, social media and word of mouth should be adequate. How did bands such as Queen manage? Yup, that was before the rise of social media. All it takes is a friend of a friend. There are many ways to do this, such as joining online groups, posters, and asking from mutual friends.

Choosing Your Band or Group Name

Depending on some groups, the name may be secondary to your group’s priorities. You may talk among yourselves experiences, interests, or anything under the sun about your band name. Enjoy the thinking process and make it memorable.

Searching for Practice Space

Your garage or any space is fine; note, however, that nothing beats a studio set up where you can crank up those guitars and unload on the drums (without disturbing your next-door neighbors, of course).

Finding Your Sound

It helps that you know how to write songs or have covered numerous music genres. Music (rock specifically) is extensive, so take the time to find your styles and practice honing your sound to perfect it. A large part of this includes your musical influences, favorite songs, and the skills each of you possesses. Do not be afraid to write songs, even if you think they “suck.” That’s how most (if not all) bands started. A fun way to start is covering favorite songs. Next, you’ll be adding variations and, eventually, writing and playing your own material.

Perfecting Your Sound and Style

playing bass

You’ve grown confident with your group and already recorded an EP or maybe even a recording of your first album. Learn more recording techniques, improvisations in your sound, and most importantly, perfect what you may want to perform on a live stage with an audience.

Putting Yourself on the Map

Looking for a first gig is much like how you found your loyal bandmates. Asking the online community, social media groups, and local bars or restaurants are good places to start. After completing your first gig, pat yourselves in the back and start marketing your brand and sound. Eventually, you’ll be touring around cities. A website with a good web design and promotional posters and materials, as well as spreading your demos around, will have you touring the country in no time.

Having Fun

For you, joining a band should be all about having fun or having a good time. If fame or touring doesn’t interest you, enjoy playing music together in your local scene or your parents’ basement.

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