Parents love the school year for a variety of reasons- there’s tons of structure, it’s filled with plenty of learning, and your child has the opportunity to be social. If you’re concerned that the solitary summer months will wreak havoc on your child’s music theory and social skills, think of summer as a unique opportunity for your child to try something new, like starting their very own band. Not only will a band occupy the long, summer days, but it’ll encourage your child to interact with their peers while taking an active part in music. From creating an awesome rehearsal space to finding the right members, here are some ways your child can have fun this summer by forming their own band.
Get Some Bandmates
Although every member of a band doesn’t have to be the exact same age, a good place to look for members is in your child’s circle of friends. If your child takes music lessons at school, or is a part of the orchestra or marching band, they probably already know a few musicians they’d want to include in their band. Keep in mind that it’s not always important to choose the “best” players. In many cases, a good-natured beginner will make a better addition to a band than an expert who is very difficult to work with. Since your child likely won’t be touring or putting on multiple performances, the goal of this band should be to have fun while learning and playing new songs. If you aren’t coming across any eligible bandmates in their social circle, consider posting an ad at your local teen or community center.
Decide on a Style or Genre
If your child’s band can’t all agree on one genre, it’s acceptable for them to mix two or three and create their own genre. If you’re not sure where to start, have everyone bring a CD of their favorite music to the first practice session. From there, the band should listen to each CD and get an idea of what everyone wants the band to sound like. Whether your child’s band writes their own songs or exclusively plays covers, they should try simple songs in the beginning and see what fits each musician’s abilities and preference. Deciding on a sound gives the band direction- something that’s especially important in the beginning. It’ll help with songwriting and make it easier for the band to enjoy their time together. The clearer the band is with how they’d like to sound, the greater their chance of success will be.
Create a Rehearsal Space
If you don’t already have a place to practice, find a rehearsal space as soon as possible. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a city that rents affordable rehearsal space by the hour, that’s the best option. If you don’t have access to a professional rehearsal space, or you don’t have the funds, you can always use a basement or spare room in a band member’s house. Many cities have noise restrictions, so make sure you aren’t practicing too loudly, too late at night, or too early in the morning. If you’d like to avoid any run-ins with the neighbors, soundproofing is always an option. While professional soundproofing is expensive, you can soundproof the space on your own by lining the walls of your practice space with carpet or old mattresses. Note: you may be able to get carpet scraps from your local carpet installer at a discounted rate or, in some cases, free of charge.
Pick a Name for Your Band
Although choosing a band name isn’t an essential part of the process, it’s definitely one of the most fun. While choosing a band name is important, don’t stress out too much about it. It’s okay to come up with a few ideas, choose one, and change it later on- tons of bands do that, even Pearl Jam. To get the process started, ask each band member to come up with a few ideas and hold a brainstorming session. Stay away from full sentences or something that would be too difficult for a potential fan to Google. Just make sure you have a name before your first show, as it’s more difficult to change your name once you’ve gone public with it. Once you’ve come up with a name, make sure another band isn’t already performing or creating music using that name. If it’s clear, you have your new band name! Congrats!
Once the group is formed and officially named, it’s time for the boring stuff. Responsibilities should be divided evenly among the group members, because one person handling all the serious stuff while the other members goof around can lead to explosive fights among band members. One person should be the bandleader, or the person who oversees the entire operation. Another person should be responsible for booking shows, as booking agents would rather deal with one person than an entire band. Other common band “positions” include a treasurer, and someone who maintains the website. If you want, one band member could even be in charge of bringing drinks and snacks to every rehearsal. As long as everyone is responsible for something, that’s what matters.
Most Importantly, Have Fun!
Last but not least, use this unique opportunity to have some fun with your friends this summer. It seems like a no-brainer that when people spend too much time together tensions can rise, so set a practice and/or performance schedule that everyone can agree on. Making music should be lots of fun, and don’t ever lose sight of why you started the band in the first place. If you aren’t having fun in your band, take some time to think about what could be going wrong. Whether you need a week off or want to try a different genre, make sure to have tons of fun with your new band.
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