Monday, May 16, 2011

Band = Team = Family

Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning the 5 stages:       Bruce Tuckmans Research
I am currently doing a Certificate 4 in Music.  It is very interesting and one of our first modules is related to performance and the creation of a band.  As a solo artist of minimal years this is a whole new area for me so I am indeed finding it quite interesting.
Looking for Members: Initial consideration for putting a band together would have to be “the what and who” we need to create the vibe.  We need to look for members that will take the chance to have fun with their music onstage.  We need people that we like, people that we have things in common with. Can we generate the good vibe as a TEAM in order to have fun with audiences?  We need to really consider the core factors.  Personalities and compatibility of personalities is a very important factor.  We will spend a fair bit of time together and we want a relationship that is cool and allows us all to be creative in this joint venture.

We need to seriously consider what it is we are looking to achieve with a band.  Is it just for kick about fun?  or do we want to become famous in our small towns and go from there?  All these things to consider.  I can’t go randomly and say to other players ” let’s do a band thing” and offer no other information.  I need to think about it.  When I approach the players to be I would like to have listed some information on what my ideas are.  As experienced Musicians they are going to ask questions.
I state that they will be “experienced muso’s”  because that is what I will need.  One of the first things to do:  honestly assess my abilities and be able to state and deliver the things I say I can and then seek players that will enhance my abilities and vice versa.

I am not a bad performer and can work with an audience, I can hold a tune, I can do some harmony with direction, I can play a bit of rhythm guitar, I have equipment etc etc.  If you are seeing where I am coming from you will note that there is now a starting point.  Recognising what my abilities would be in the band defines the “What I Will Need” list.  

Being just an average muso myself I will need to look for good players.  It would not be advisable for me to suggest to lead inexperienced players like myself.   The road to success would more than likely be a rough road if ever we were to make it to the stage.  So in saying this I will seek players that will offer direction to me and enhance the current skill level I have and vice a versa.
My list will look a little like this:
  • commitment and dedication to achieving a successful outcome
  • drummer
  • bassist
  • lead guitarist
  • any of the above should be keen to do vocals/harmony
  • any of the above should be keen to begin writing songs
  • any of the above should have an insight into the music industry
  • I will need players that do not have little children
  • I will need players that have supportive partners
  • I will need players that do not rely on alcohol or drugs in order to play music
  • everyone should have a driver’s license and a vehicle
As you can see the list could go on and on.  As the instigator of “The Band” concept I need to outline exactly what I am looking for in the beginning stages so as we do not begin with misconceptions.
It is a big decision to work with other people in a band situation.  It is a commitment to not only work at a goal together, it is a personal commitment to each other.  There needs to be mutual respect for each other at all times.  We need to make the scheduled rehearsals and we need to put the ground work in that makes the process of development run smoothly and advance quickly.  If we do not do this rehearsals become mere practices.
Practice is essential but rehearsal is all about the ironing out of formats and then establishing the songs for onstage success.  The wood shedding of practice needs to be the ground work we put in prior to rehearsals.
In our Certificate 4 class we had to submit an essay on getting a band together and I have tacked my submission on for a little light reading.  I have created an almost ideal situation in my assignment. An outcome like this may or may not exist but if the initial foundations are laid there is a possibility that it could be ideal.  Nothing is unachievable and only you can make it happen.
If you are considering a band do the homework and approach it in a professional manner in the beginning stages and I am sure it will be a success for you.
Limited Edition
We met in a class, all like minded, all looking to fulfill a part of us that was hiding somewhere in the memory of our youth. We had had a few jams, it sounded okay, okay for a start. Would this be enough to pull us together as a united sound?
Drummer, base, rhythm, lead and a couple of us could sing a few tunes. A couple of us were as green as grass and I suppose in hindsight a couple of us considered ourselves competent musician/entertainers. Could this combination be the demise of our fame?
Let’s have a go anyway, we get on okay and there are a few songs to start with. Where else to start?
The most important factor “what level of commitment”. Is everyone as passionate as the founders. Founders because one person can not start a band.
We didn’t realise how many facets have to be considered in the fledgling stages but to fly we must grow wings.
The first practice, a little tense and we are all offering our knowledge but nothing is falling into place. Oh the first practice! I felt a little out of my depth, will I crumble or will I adjust. Will it gel? To achieve I must adjust we all must adjust. So many considerations.
The first 4 hours we achieved little. Sort of structured jamming with no real beginnings and mostly messy endings. We need to brainstorm a little and get some creative ideas going. Put some goals and plans in place. Who will take the reins? Who will come next practice and start channeling our energies into creating the foundation of our show, our songs!
We go from there and make it a priority to focus on the music. By the time we get the first 6 songs sort of presentable we should know if we have a productively working team. It was looking good. No pressure! We need to keep it fun but dedicated, serious but not too serious. Music is to enjoy and all of us knew that if we maintain our fun factor without becoming to stiff our band idea could work.
So far so good, practice number 4, we have 3 songs really tight and everyone seems to be happy with what’s developing.
Someone did come with a list. Week 2 Pete came with a few great ideas and that sort of took the pressure off. His ideas created an opening for all of us to inject some direction. For a drummer he was pretty switched on to organisational aspects so no one felt threatened It was all cool. It just all seemed to happen, felt great. Probably helps being of a mature age as we are seeking fun more so than stardom. Making a few dollars will be a bonus when we get going. Compromise is a marvelous way of getting things sorted.
First considerations on Pete’s list
  • choosing some songs – creating “The List”
  • sharpening the beginnings and the endings of the first 6 or songs
  • determining our roles in each of the songs
  • developing the delivery of the songs and working on getting them tight from beginning to end
We were all happy with the progress so chose another 6 songs. The idea of songwriting was discussed and together we decided that if any of us could make a start at writing why not have a go and see where it leads.
Week 8 and still all fired up. Out of our 12 song list we have 8.5 songs pretty tidy but Mike is pressuring about some real little bits, he is a super guitarist. None of us realised how pedantic he was until now. No one seems to be too bothered. We all know that he hears much more than any of us so his fancy bits are really fancy and sound so good when he shows us how to put them together. A unanimous decision is made that he can indeed take control of the musical delivery of our chosen songs. By adding choruses and extra bits the songs are coming together with a distinctive style of our own which is exactly what we are looking for. It still feels great and we are putting out some great sounds in practice!
Haven’t come up with a name yet and as for style well we are country rockers from the old school. We need to be cause within all of us country music is the spark that lights the fire within. Preferred style that each of us felt comfortable with was a priority when getting together.
No originals yet…
Where do we begin to write songs at our age. Mike and Pete have sort of taken control but that is not worrying Michelle and I. Hopefully we won’t overload them with our inexperience. We can be fairly good at following directions and offering a few good girly ideas .
I came across this great book online and hopefully it will give me some ideas to share with the band and together we can maybe brainstorm a couple of originals to kick off with.
We are all working as active contributors to the development of our band so it is smooth sailing.
Unbeknown to the rest of the band family I have been creating a some ideas for our bio and listing some marketing strategies. I have a couple of ideas and a few contacts within the hotel/restaurant industry so I will put it all into a little package to share at our next practice.
We have been spreading the word and generating a bit of interest on Facebook about our new band. It’s paid off because our local turf club has approached Mike on Facebook about doing a 2 hour stint at the Turf Club. Oh wow our first gig. Facebook what an excellent way to get the info out! We are more than ready for a 2 hour stint and in only 3 weeks we will be under the lights giving it all to the audience. So excited!! Our consistent efforts begin to pay off. Now we needed a name and together we decided on “Limited Edition” because we were not sure how long this “band idea” would go on for so it was appropriate and fitted us like a glove.
The gig was great and all we had practiced and rehearsed over those long hours was delivered with none of us jumping the boundaries of what we had developed. We were a tight “band unit” and had over the last few months established the who’s, what’s and how’s to deliver with professionalism and style. We got 3 bookings out of that one gig so we were away.
Our reputation was gathering speed and we began to get bookings for weddings, parties, pubs and clubs.

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