Practice and experience are obviously two of the greatest teachers. Program offerings such as Mastering Mix and Singing Success, along with sessions with a certified Brett Manning Associate, will certainly get you on the right track for strengthening and developing the full potential of your voice.
But without practical performance experience you will likely stagnate emotionally or creatively. You need a practical place for testing, showcasing, and just plain showing-off your talent on a regular basis. Once you commit to seeking performance exposure, the experience you gain will season you as a performer as you become more comfortable and confident. Opportunities to gain experience include musical theatre auditions, house concerts, or joining a community, church, or school choir. And, of course, you can form your own band.
Your instincts will become more heightened as you discover what works and what doesn’t. You’ll learn how to adapt to different venues, settings, and audiences. The experience you gain through your pursuit of being seen, heard, and booked will also serve to sharpen your business savvy, you will learn about things like booking a gig to onstage rapport with accompanists and technicians.
Band Aids Communication
One of the best training grounds is having a band. The group setting is a great classroom for you in the sense that ideas are shared with fellow band members. Your preparation for a gig can be very much like cramming for finals, with each performance determining whether or not you move on to the next class or grade level.
Your communication skills are also taken to task through finding and developing material that showcases your vocal chops while bringing out the best in the musicians that accompany you. You learn how to adapt and be spontaneous in a live setting where Murphy’s Law is often the rule. By working through these challenges, you will become more thick-skinned while also deepening your sensitivity to what material works best for you. By learning how to emotionally commit to what you’re singing, your interpretive skills will mature as you become a better communicator and story teller.
Find Your Band Mates
Once you have a clear sense of the style and genre of music that best fits your voice, then consider what your band will look like. Ask yourself some obvious questions such as: what instruments are absolutely needed to give you the core of the group sound and look? What should the age range of the musicians be? Should they be adept at doing vocals for backup? What kind of experience is needed?
Team Is Family
Remember that even though the driving force of your primary goal is probably to showcase you as a singer, that band you form is a collaborative effort. It becomes a team or family that is committed to learning, growing, and working together. Again, it becomes a classroom for learning key people skills that will help you mature as an artist, performer, friend, and business associate.
You’ll hammer out differences in choices of material and in interpretive approaches to a song. So you need to be able to compromise and also to say no without throwing a fit. Sometimes you’ll sing a song that may showcase your voice, but you may not agree with its message. Still you might choose to sing the song because it showcases your singing in a positive light.
Find Your Band Mates
So how do you find players for your band? Of course the ideal situation would be having coworkers or friends from school or college to start with. In fact if you know someone that’s an accomplished guitar or keyboard player; and it’s someone that complements your voice and performance sense and style, this individual would be a great choice for helping you build your band. It also gives you an additional perspective on the candidates you consider for other positions in your group.
Where + How + Who
One of the simplest ways to recruit potential band members is to place classified ads with Craigslist, local newspapers, or any local entertainment print media such as magazines or community papers. You can put up flyers at your local music stores, book stores, college campuses, and community enters. You can post a request and info on any social media sites you use such as Facebook.
Let It Fly
If you have a friend that’s gifted with web design or photography, you could get them to help you design your flyer so that it’s eye catching, conveys the feel of the band you’re building, and looks professional. But the critical basic information needs to be clearly conveyed in bullet points or some simple straight forward way. Then, at the bottom of the page, make about 10 to 12 tabs with your contact info that can be easily torn off by those interested.
Check Them Out
You then want to hold an interview and audition. In the screening process you must determine the musical interests, styles, and strengths of each person interested. You also want to get a feel for temperament, creativity, adaptability, and availability. You might find someone that is the perfect fit, but they are not available as often as you’d like. This person may be considered as a guest member that comes in for special gigs. But if that’s the case, you run the risk of creating potential ego issues with other band members. It’s up to you. So, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of choosing the individuals who will create the core dynamic of the band that also serves to advance your career as a singer.
In the process of pulling your band together you might learn that the players you have chosen have a wider variety of musical tastes than originally uncovered. So, it’s important that you meet as a group a few times to fully explore the direction of the band. You might discover the need for another musician that can serve to more fully heighten or express the band’s image and also better showcase your singing.
Beyond The Typical
A typical band consists of a guitarist, vocalist, bass, and drums. But a keyboardist may be better suited for your style than a guitarist. Or, you might need both. You might learn that the bass player also plays saxophone or the guitarist plays the cello or trumpet.
The more accomplished or proficient your band members are in a variety of instruments, the more opportunities exist for finding the perfect feel and sound for each song. There are additional perks if your players are also great at singing harmony. That provides the potential for hooking an audience by keeping the sound fresh, interesting, varied, and surprising. And you, as the lead singer, will grow as an artist through adaptation as you feast on the buffet of sounds and interpretive spins.
So, begin by choosing the main style or genre that will best showcase you as a singer. Find a partner that is a musician that you are comfortable with and would like to have in your band or have on hand to help you build your band. Then, get the word out that you are seeking potential band members. Hold your interview-auditions to determine the final group of those you’re considering.
Screen + Screen Again
You can hold callbacks as often as needed before making your final decision. This can also serve as a screening tool. Those that lose interest in the audition process would likely lose interest in building your band. If there’s someone you’re interested in that has an emergency or commitment that keeps them from a callback, consider their situation carefully before dismissing or including them in the final cut.
Bond The Band
You can choose a band member after each callback, and then let those you’ve selected play a role in the remainder of the selection process. This is one way of helping to establish the collaborative nature of the band as team and family. It’s part of the bonding process and will also alert you to any potential clashes. It’s better to know this up front than to have it stifle growth, limit creativity, and fuzzy the focus of your band’s potential and promise.
Be One For All
Be clear in your needs and stand firm in your goals to showcase your singing. Let this be what drives you to succeed, and let that singer in you serve to support and showcase each of the other talented individuals in your band. Remember no one is in this alone. It’s important to find honorable ways to advance, engage, grow, and achieve on your journey to singing success.