#5 Music In My Opinion: Starting Your First Band

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This is part of the “In My Opinion” blog is answering  a question from readers about starting their first band. I’m going to give my opinion on this subject from to points of view. 1..Forming my own band 2..Training students at schools to form a band.

1..Forming my own band as a collective (no leader). This has not worked for me, and this is partly my fault because I like to be in control and this way of foming a band was just chaos.

Here is an anecdote of the kind of things that can happen. We got a gig for a wedding and there was at least 300 people at this gig, and the keyboard player brought a guitarist/singer to do some numbers, no rehearsals, nothing. So he started of by just playing the guitar, you know! right chords in all the wrong! places, so we thought it might be a good idea do some songs he new and we would back him. He had no chord charts nothing, so I took him aside and worked out what he was doing, so at least the keyboard player and me had some idea of what he was trying to play. So off he goes not bad to start with, and he got a clap from the audience, so he went into the next song. Now he thought he was a rock star, singing flat and we couldn’t  follow the guitar because it was out of tune, so I stopped and went to the back of the hall, to listen. He started to jump up and down like a delusional child, the audience worked it out, and it became a joke.

I said to the other guy’s in the band either he goes I go home now, they agreed and it was left up to me to tell him how bad he was, and needed to practice more if he wanted to be in a band. Every band after this one it was me in charge, eventually I got an agent and the best offer I got was 2 year cruise as the musical director for the live band.

2..Training Students at school to form a band. I did this job for about 4 years and found it very rewarding, I travelled to three different secondary schools in Ayrshire Scotland. The young musicians were great to work with, always respectful and would have some good laugh’s together, and even listened to my story’s.

The difference is simple I was in charge, plus they were getting away from other subjects to come and play in the band. The highlight was a live gig for their school, I would grade the band’s as level..1 Level..2 Level ..3 according to their ability to play as a band and as individuals. I took a school term to get to each level starting at 1 and up to 3. The gigs for their year became the highlight at the end of term. One band played all the music for “Joseph’s Multi Coloured Dream Coat”.

The lesson is simple, you need to elect someone to take charge or simply decide who you think is the best musician in the group, it’s not that you can’t give an opinion but you need to let the person in charge decide what should be done or start your own band.

Think of it this way; every ship needs a captain, he has a second to keep the ship sailing but the buck stops with the captain, Look what happened to the Titanic.

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