The Name Game

Ever had trouble coming up with the name for your band? Ever been stuck with an idea to develop for a song you’d like to write or sing if someone else would write it for you? I think we can help.

Several years ago I participated in a weekly writer’s group. It was a mix of singers, songwriters, musicians, lyricists, actors, playwrights, screenwriters and even production personnel. It actually became more of a creativity workshop, a group put together to engage and encourage each other to play with their craft in a safe place. We were like a backyard pick up game of hoops only the court was a carpet or tile floor and the ball was a pen or pencil smacked across blank sheets of paper on coffee table, kitchen table, or balcony café table.

I’m one of these goofballs who lives to play mind games. I love the idea of banging ideas together to see what dreams and thoughts catch fire. I like mixing characters and situations and what-if’s to see what kind of story might unfold. And I like banging words together to see what sounds and tones are required to bring them to life melodically.

Go Fishing

So I’d put out several bowls that would be filled with little scraps of paper. For a story idea one bowl may house a host of main character descriptions while another bowl would be crammed full of possible settings or locations, and yet another would hold a variety of situations or problems to solve. Many times we’d simply come up with titles of songs or stories; and yes, we even came up with unique names for bands.

So here’s my suggestion for finding an interesting name that’s unique and true to the things that wreck or rock you enough to be a believer in your gifts. Start simple. On a piece of paper, write down ten to fifteen specific things that move you to sing or perform. Let your mind be as wild and bold or as simple and timid as you wish. You want to come up with ten to fifteen things that get your creative juices flowing, things that move you and always trigger a powerful response. After you’ve written those down, divide what you’ve come up with into equal small pieces of paper to separate, fold up, and then place in a container of some sort.

Take a deep breath, and then come up with ten to fifteen descriptive words or phrases that reflect how you feel when you are in love, inspired, on fire for something or someone. You want it to be things that describe passionate feelings whether light or dark, positive or frightening, it’s up to you. Just let your heart explode with passion as you take notes. Once you have ten to fifteen phrases or words, separate them, fold them, and pop them into a container.

Flexible Concept

This process works for a single performer or a band of five to however many you want. The point is to have fun generating ideas for the name of your band as you draw pairs of items, one from each of the containers.
Whatever the outcome it will get your creative juices flowing, get you less self-conscious, more confident, and one step closer to defining and sharing that gift you own! This concept can also be used when you’re stuck on image ideas, wardrobe issues, pet names, whatever; the applications are only limited by time and your imagination.