Getting those feet wet and building a band…

It is time….

My band has taken a long time to incubate. In that time we’ve gone through 2 bassists and 2 drummers. Welcome to life in a band. I’m reasonably confident this line up will last a while, and depending on our success, could last a long time.

In setting up a band, you need to think about your repertoire. What is your target audience? If you are playing original music, perhaps you need to find a target audience. If you are going the old, established route and playing dance music, you need to consider again your audience. You need some slow songs too. Medium tempo songs tend to be hard to dance to. In fact, I recently suggested “Slow Ride” by Foghat as a tune everybody would enjoy, but after further examination, even though it would be fun to play, it’s not really a dance song.

We currently have about 20 songs on our list. That’s not enough to play 4 hours in a club. It’s about 2 hours worth of music. To play out, you need at least 40 songs and 60 is more like it.

So, with the starts, stops, and stalls of building this band, we only have 20 songs, but we plan to go to a local club here that has open jam nights on Wednesday. Babe’s Place in Livermore allows individuals or groups to sign up and go play 3 songs in front if a live audience. They have the equipment all in place and they are nice folks to boot.

I want to do this to maintain the fire in the band. After we play in front of some folks, the desire will be there to aggressively add the songs needed to get us some full gigs.

Another tip: get a deadline. I learned this from managing programmers in software companies. No deadline, no drive. Get a gig on July 21st and people start to panic: “Oh my god, we’re not ready!”, “We need to practice twice a week!”, “What other songs can we add here in a hurry?”.

We have begun to use Google’s online tools as a way to coordinate things. Google calendar to mark everybody’s availability, and Google’s documents to manager our song list and to rate our songs as good, ok, or needs work.

Pressure is good. It builds diamonds, pearls, and personal growth.

I’ll let you know how Wednesday goes….keep jammin’!

Welcome

My name is Spencer and I’ve been playing guitar for over 30 years, and almost half that time was spent teaching it, as well as playing in clubs, weddings, and parties.

I received an AA degree in Music and have taken years of private lessons myself. I present to my students the theory, chords and scales as well as playing the songs they enjoy. My ultimate goal, however, is to enable others to be able to express themselves with guitar by improvising and writing music.

I’m currently putting together a website and plan to teach again in San Francisco East Bay area. I’ll put the link up when it goes live.

I’m also putting a band together and we have over an hour’s worth of music together so far. Band dynamics will probably be in this blog too, as there are good times and bad times with bands. But more on this later.

If you have a question or an idea for some new topic, please email me at fastfingers76@gmail.com or leave a comment here.

Happy Picking!

Spencer

In home guitar lessons in the Tri-Valley area of California. This includes Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, and Livermore. Other arrangements negotiable.