Preparing Songs for Your Band

How can you as a musician or artist be heard above the static? How can you distinguish yourself so that you are the one that gets remembered, that gets the call for the next gig and the gig after that?
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Artists: How to Effectively Prepare a Band

There’s no one way to get your band together. Miles Davis, James Brown and The Beatles, for example, all had notoriously different ways of running their bands, of working together (or not working together), and all made excellent music.

The harder it is for your band to listen to your songs, the less likely they are to know them!

There are, however, several principles to follow that will ensure that everyone takes your music seriously and that result in a much tighter musical unit.

Preparing Songs for Your Band
Send a single demo of every song. Make sure that the demo is listenable, easy on the ears, and representative of how you want the song to sound. YouTube and other streaming media are a no-go– if your band is able to get it to work, they’ll likely only get to hear it once. Send mp3s, but not as attachments. My favorite way of transferring (and receiving) files is to put everything– mp3s, charts, and setlist– in a zip archive, and send a link to download that single file via Dropbox, YouSendIt or another file transfer service. That way, your band has everything they need in a single place, there are less chances for stuff to get lost or inundated in their inbox, and every moment saved by downloading a single file rather than 20 individual tracks is time that they can spend learning your music. If you send 5 versions of a tune, you will guarantee that no two members of the band hear the same version… so make a definitive demo that everyone can learn from.

Similarly, send a single email with all of the details on setlist, rehearsals and gig times. If there is once place to look, you increase the likelihood that everyone will know where to be when and what to play, without getting lost looking for the correct or most up-to-date email. Email is of course much better than text, as people can easily refer to it later. Send a text message the day of or night before a rehearsal to confirm timing. It’s simple: people will know what they need to know with minimum static.

Have more ideas about preparing songs for your band to play? Add your comments below, along with anything else you’d like to see on this blog!

Next week, we’ll examine how to find not just the best musicians, but the right musicians for your project. If you enjoy these posts, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss one!

Other posts in this series:
Finding the Right Musicians
Do I Need Charts?
Scheduling Rehearsals
How do I tell the band what I want?
Maintaining a Good Vibe

Justin Goldner is a bassist, guitarist, producer, songwriter, language junkie and lover of culture in all its manifestations. Follow him on Twitter @JusBass.

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