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How to Start a Band in NYC: From Members to Gigs


It’s no coincidence that so many aspiring musicians live in New York City. The Big Apple is one of the best places in the world for any type of artist to be successful. If you’re already living in one of the five boroughs, you’re on the road to making your musical dreams come true… but you still need to get your act together. Here’s our advice for how to start a band and set yourself up for success.

How to Find Band Members in NYC

Even if you already know some people that you like to jam with, it’s likely that you’ll need to audition at least a few strangers to fill out your roster. Finding people that you click with can be tricky, so it’s best to cast a wide net at first. Check the musicians classified ads in the newspaper first — yes, they’re still a thing, but you’ll want to post an ad on Craigslist for NYC musicians, too.

Your most-used social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a great resource as well. You might never know what distant member of your social circle has recently started learning the bass, or what friend of yours might know a killer drummer that you haven’t met yet. Finding as many people as you possibly can means that you’ll get to be choosy about who makes the cut.

Finding the Right Fit for Your Band

Once you’ve got some people interested in auditioning for your band, there are lots of factors to take into account when it comes to selecting your lineup. Skill and talent are crucial, of course, but they may not be the most important points in the end. A hard-working newbie to the instrument who is dedicated to improving and has a personality that jives with the rest of your band will likely be a much better asset than an egotistical prodigy who can’t compromise on anything.

You’ll also need to make sure that everyone shares the same vision for the group. If you want to play covers, you’ll have to agree on what those covers should be. If you’re going to write songs together, you’ll need to work out the breakdown of who will write what parts. Get potential bandmates to compile playlists of the songs they like to play the best, and practice jamming to see how well you can improvise together.

Get a Rehearsal Space

Sure, a living room or bedroom could be all the space you need to finalize your band’s roster. But once you start dedicating your time to rehearsal and songwriting, a studio apartment isn’t going to cut it. NYC bands often have to get a little creative when it comes to finding a practice space, since roomy apartments and finished basements aren’t exactly easy to come by. Luckily, the city is full of practice studios and practice rooms available to rent out, so shop around and find a space that’s a good fit for your band’s needs.

Once you’ve got the people, the place and the inspiration, you’re ready to rock!

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