So you wanna start a band! Lots of great people had the same idea from Johnny Ramone to John Lennon. But there's a lot of work ahead before you can sell out Madison Square Garden. Aside from picking out your kickass band name and working on your guitar windmills, you'll have to create and define your sound, write an album and recruit a group of likeminded people to join you.
Maybe you'd rather do a solo project. Audio recording programs like ProTools and GarageBand allow you to record, mix and loop your own samples. When you have a proper at-home recording setup that includes a microphone, studio monitors, headphones and a computer with all the corresponding audio channels and cables, at-home recording is easy.
However, music is meant to be shared. And as much fun as it is to record yourself looped over a tambourine beat, it might be an even greater adventure to find your future band mates. Why not start by searching at local shows and gigs around town? You can even advertise who you're looking for (and what you'd like to sound like) at your local music and record stores. By being engaged with your local community, you can get to know the scene. Radiohead met at Oxford University where they were originally called "On A Friday." Duff McKagan met Guns N' Roses member Slash when he placed an ad in the local paper. There is no right or wrong way to form a band.
Once you corral your members together, make sure that everyone is on the same page about the specific sound and feeling your band should embody. While lots of groups slowly change their style over time, you want to be clear so you can start writing music. There are all kinds of processes and yet again, there is no right or wrong way. Whether you come up with a song fully formed or just the lyrics, allow room for artistic experimentation. You'll also need to secure a practice space. Whether it's a pal's garage or a rented studio, make a weekly commitment with your fellow members to practice and work on songs. When all of you are focused and determined, that's how any group goes from good to great.
Soon enough, you'll be ready to play your first gig, which means you're also steps away from recording a demo and heading out on your first tour. Take your time to enjoy these milestones and keep developing your sound and taking risks. When you're finally ready to stock up on gear and connect with tons of potential band mates, head to Long & McQuade. This store is known as the largest music chain in Canada with 63 stores coast to coast. Many stores offer special events, such as free intensive guitar clinics or even specialized classes like hand drumming. Not only are there great opportunities to build on your skillset,but you may find someone you connect with. This chain can also be a godsend when you're touring across Canada and all your gear gets stolen. It's nice to know that wherever you go, there's a rock shop a few miles away.
You're about to embark on your first adventure! Whether you end up with a killer garage two-piece or a giant collective like the Polyponic Spree, you're steps ahead of everyone else. You're a person with a plan and the desire to rock. So head out into the world and go forth and prosper. By keeping your eyes (and ears) open, your future sound awaits.