How to Start a Band in High School

By Lee Johnson
Finding people to fill the roles in the band is often the most difficult part.

Starting a band is the first step on the journey towards rock superstardom. There is no better time to get your band together than in high school, because you are surrounded by a lot of people your age, and you can easily club together people with similar musical interests and some spare time on their hands. Getting a band together is generally easy, but may be more difficult if you can’t find anybody to fill certain roles.

Ask friends who you know play instruments. Generally, if your friends are interested in music, you will be able to find people who play guitar and bass easily. The harder roles to fill are the singer and drummer, but if you’re lucky, there will be someone you know who will be happy to do it.

Decide on a general style of music. Think about who influences you musically. List bands or artists that you’d like to sound like, and then get your initial band-mates to do the same. Have a chat about the direction you want the band to go in and decide on a genre or succinct list of influences.

Put up advertisements around school to fill any empty slots in the band. Remember to include your influences list on the advertisement, to avoid recruiting members who have different musical interests to you. Minor differences in taste can create interesting new styles of music, but larger ones can be disastrous and cause problems and divides in the band.

Find a rehearsal space. This can be anything from a sound-proofed garage to a more professional, rentable rehearsal space. If you don’t have equipment such as large amplifiers or drums, it may be better to find a rental space that includes equipment.

Get together and jam. A good way to see if things work out with your band is by picking a few songs to cover. Get your band mates to learn the songs, and play them when you get together. This will give you the opportunity to get used to playing with each other without the pressure of making your own song. The more you practice together, the tighter your sound will get.

Start to write music. This can be done in many different ways, but the main thing is to do what works for you. Some bands have one member that writes the songs and teaches them to everybody else, and some bands create songs through collaborative jams. Whichever method you use, check that everybody in the band is happy with the song, and allow them to have input. Poor communication can cause resentment and maybe cause band members to leave.

Find a live show. Ask at local music venues to see if you can get booked in for a support slot. If you have around six songs, you will be able to play a short set. Keep an eye out for high school talent competitions, and ask if you can play at any other school events. The idea is to get your band out there; perform where you can to drum up support.

About the Author

Lee Johnson has written for various publications and websites since 2005. His articles have appeared in "Sandman" magazine, the "Crewe Chronicle" and on the website Beyond Hollywood. He is primarily a music journalist but has written on many subjects. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Manchester Metropolitan University.