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Being a musician is a rewarding career, whether you become famous or play small venues.
To find a band as a drummer you will need to:
- read through advertisements
- advertise yourself
Be aware of the nuances of your personality and how whether they coalesce with others. Music is a relationship profession and it’s important that your bandmates have a positive impression of you.
Music has deep roots in every society going back to man’s beginnings. Percussion instruments are an integral part of ceremonies in almost every culture. There is something primal about the drums, and no band is complete without them.
Before beginning your search for the perfect band, it is essential first to decide how much time you want to devote to your music. Do you want to work on weekends playing cover music or play original music, record, and tour?
In this article, I will give you steps to not only finding a band but how to audition, what makes a great drummer, and hopefully find the perfect fit.
Steps to Find a Band as a Drummer
1. Before answering an ad or placing one, get to know your local music scene. Making friends with other musicians in your area is one of the best ways to begin your search. Network, talk to band members, ask if they know of any bands looking for a drummer.
2. Listen to bands at all different venues as well as across multiple genres. You may discover you also enjoy jazz, blues, and perhaps even country. Keep in mind that rock has subgenres including, folk-rock, psychedelia, hard rock, heavy metal, glam rock, punk, and alternative.
3. Go to shows where more than one band is performing, like band showcases. Tickets are generally inexpensive and can save you time by seeing more than one group at a time.
4. A great place to go to meet other musicians is your local music stores. Most towns and cities have multiple music stores that offer lessons and sell various instruments. Many great musicians supplement their income by giving lessons.
5. While bands often post flyers and place ads on CraigsList, FaceBook, and trade publications, advertising yourself can be to your benefit.
6. Groups will search the ads looking for specific musicians that match their criteria. While you are looking at band advertisements, the perfect band may just find you!
Where to Post Ads and How to Write One as a Drummer
Social media, such as FaceBook, Craig’s List, and on-line trade publications, are where you should focus the bulk of your advertising.
When I lived in the S.F. Bay Area, I found multiple bands to play with by contacting them on Craigslist.
However, the old-fashioned method of posting flyers at clubs and music stores is also beneficial. When designing your ad and flyer, careful attention to the wording and pictures will make or break you.
You want your ad to be creative but professional. The reason for your advertisement is to sell yourself as a serious professional, but also an easy-going creative soul.
When using social media, post a demo of yourself playing the drums. The video doesn’t need to be professional but should showcase your talent and technique.
How to Write an Ad and How to Answer Ads as a Drummer
Social Media is a handy tool for finding a band. The most used sites are Craig’s List and Facebook. When creating your ad, it is essential to use wording that will make you stand out in a sea full of drummers.
Craig’s list is an excellent source to use. Many bands and musicians use this platform to post their needs. It is essential to talk about the genre or subgenre you play in the body of the ad. Niching down like this is good.
Your ad may not attract any traffic if you only write “Rock Drummer” without further clarification of the genre of rock you play.
Start with a generic title such as “Drummer” looking for Metalcore/PostHardcore Band (source). The body of the ad is where you specify the genre you play. For example:
Drummer looking for a band. I am a passionate and dedicated musician. Below I have listed some of my favorite bands to give you an idea of the type of music I play.
- Lincoln Park
- Three Days Grace
- Breaking Benjamin
- 3 Doors Down
- The Fray
Text or call if you are interested in giving me an audition. I look forward to hearing from you.
Do not forget to include your contact information. By incorporating more specific details on the type of music you play will eliminate the need to scroll through irrelevant replies, saving you time.
Setting up an advertisement on Facebook requires a little more work but has a wide-reaching audience. There are two ways to use Facebook to your advantage. Join multiple groups that play the type of music you play, or, design an ad.
If you are writing on the wall of one of the groups you belong to, a useful post uses a question format. For example, you could write: Hey, anyone out there looking for a drummer? Starting with a question allows individuals to respond and hopefully generate leads.
Another strategy to use in groups is to target members that you believe best align with your style and genre. Start a conversation by posting on their wall. You do not need to be clever; you just need to reach out.
For example, you could write: Hi, my name is _____. I saw your profile in the _____ group and thought you might be able to help me. I am a drummer looking for a band. Do you happen to know anyone who has an opening? While this is a general format, it has a personal touch.
Facebook also has a feature that enables you to create a business page, which will be your advertisement.
Facebook requires you to have a personal profile page; however, your personal profile is not accessible from your business page unless you give your permission. If you do not have a personal page, no worries, it is a quick and easy process.
You have your profile page; now, you need to create your business page. Use a generic title such as “Drummer” and then begin to build the ad. Once you get started, Facebook does most of the work and prompts you through the process.
To begin, click on “create a promotion,” then “reach” and choose your objective. Direct Contact would make the most sense since you are not selling products.
The next steps are: how you want to communicate, how to contact you, your interests (drums, rock bands), and subcategories where you can include information such as bands you like.
Now comes the most crucial piece, the actual ad. For example, you can begin with, “Drummer looking for Band based in Charlottesville, Virginia.” Bands that influence my musical style include Three Days Grace, The Fray, and Nickelback. Like or message if interested.
It is a good idea to include a picture of yourself playing but keep the size under 20% of your ad. Keep the ad family-friendly, Facebook will not approve ads with foul language or suggestive content.
Facebook is very good at choosing who to target with your ad giving you time to research responses, and narrow down those you will respond to. Keep in mind that Facebook charges for ads, but is well worth the time you will save in most cases.
There are numerous on-line trade magazines and websites where bands and single musicians post ads and form connections. For example; Music Connection, Sonic Bids, Music Radar, Bandmix, Join My Band, Gumtree, and The London Musicians Network, are just a small sampling of what you will find.
Is the Band the Right Fit for the Drummer?
Once you secure an audition, do your research by reading reviews and attending their show. This research allows you to see how they interact on stage and their musical style, so you know what they will expect from you at the audition.
Whether you are a musician or an executive, being prepared is the key to landing your dream job.
You are now at the interview, what next? Before you audition, there should be a “get to know you” session.
Keep the following questions in mind during the audition. Do the band members seem uptight? Easy-going? Friendly? How do they relate to each other? Is there a dictator, or is it more of a democracy?
If the band is a dictatorship ask yourself, will you be able to accept direction with no creative input? Are you someone who needs guidance and likes to take a back seat? Be honest with yourself, and it will save you a lot of time and heartache in the long run. I’ve been dishonest with myself about playing with specific groups when I should have avoided them initially after honest appraisal.
Dealing with Multiple Personalities Within a Group
Every person in a group brings with them certain personality traits that may be annoying. Individual personalities can make or break a group. If longevity is your goal, you will need to be flexible and accept the many quirks individuals bring to a group.
Is your guitarist a diva always wanting the spotlight? Is your keyboard player uber-talented but not much of a team player? Does your singer not take things seriously? Since you’re the drummer, do you enjoy playing with the bass player? Does the bass player like playing with you?
For instance, your band rehearses four nights a week, but your vocalist only comes once a week because they do not want to strain their voice.
It is not always easy to overlook a person’s quirks, especially if they conflict with your vision.
We are all guilty of stereotyping our fellow humans, and musicians are no different (source). There is a danger to believing people fit in neat little boxes. In reality, people fit into many categories, but we can still think stereotypes are accurate.
To help you get past this way of thinking, I have described a “typical” drummer.
Does this sound like you? A drummer is stereotyped as being the ones who get the girls, aware of being replaceable, sensitive, and makes their percussion arrangements complicated.
The goal is to make it difficult for the band to replace them. Follow the above source link if you are interested in reading more.
What Serious Bands Are Not looking for in a Drummer
Knowledge is power. What are serious bands looking for in a drummer? The drummer is a crucial position in any band, and they set the tempo and flow and direction of the music.
Someone who is always late, especially to the audition, is not going to be considered. Being late shows a lack of responsibility, respect, and professionalism.
A drummer with no sense of time, melody, and space is not a professional. A drummer needs to maintain a consistent tempo while compensating for musical breaks: (source).
Creating Longevity with Your New Band
Bands lose members, even famous ones. For example, Bon Jovi has two original members left. Life happens, and personalities clash. The group may disband, or a member may go for another opportunity. Sometimes the band fires a member for various reasons. That member may not be as serious about a career or is not trying to improve.
What Does a Successful Drummer Do Every Day?
No matter what instrument you play, some habits will set you apart from the crowd. There are ten habits of a successful drummer.
- A drummer practices the fundamentals even if they have mastered them. It never hurts to go back to the basics, such as rudiments
- Practices with a metronome. Time should be innate, a part of the drummer, internalized.
- Keep up on current trends to avoid becoming complacent or dated.
- Be detail-oriented and be prepared. The drummer steers the band and should have the musical path defined. Charts and click tracks should be ready.
- Is easy-going and able to work with many personalities.
- A good drummer is always learning and able to take suggestions from others.
- A drummer has a lot of responsibility and should be prepared to take the reins in terms of leadership when needed.
- Be present in every moment and pour your entire heart into your music.
- Great drummers are not divas. They don’t need to impress everyone with complicated rhythms. Simplicity is key and appreciated.
Tips from a Successful Drummer
I recently read an interview written by Daniel Carissimi (source), with one of the best drummers of all time, Frank Zummo. Carissimi asked Zummo what advice he could give aspiring drummers.
Zummo’s advice begins with, be employable, strive to learn, and gain competency in as many styles as possible.
Network by building friendships with other musicians, and do not be pushy. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want and share your interests.
Always be yourself and do things your way. Never try to be the drummer you are replacing, that is impossible.
Sometimes it is better to start your own band rather than wait to find one. This way, you can assemble the group you want rather than trying to fit into an already established group. I have found this especially true in competitive music scenes like Boston.
The most important piece of advice Zummer gave was to be humble and disregard your ego.
If you are serious about a career as a drummer, play anywhere you can even if it is not glamorous, such as a theme park.
By setting aside his ego and working where he could find jobs, Zummo pulled ahead of his peers and received the distinction of Best Drummer in the World for a time.
Joining or even starting a band is a process that takes time and effort. Take advantage of all that is available from bulletin boards to social media. Make connections, post ads, flyers, and stay positive. If you put in the work and the time you will be successful, your next band may be the last band you need to seek. Don’t forget, often, your close musical contacts will be the source of your next band.