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Tips For Auditioning For A Live Band

Kyle Johnson

Bill Barely Passed His Audition

   The other day I wrote a post about joining a band by answering Musician Wanted ads. Naturally the next step in the process is going to the audition so that’s what we’ll discuss today. I’ve played in a lot of live bands over the years and been to my share of live band auditions too. Auditions are always an interesting process and I’ve always learned something going through the band audition process. Today I’m going to give you a few tips on preparing to audition for a live band.

   The first thing you want to do is make sure you have the correct address for where the audition is going to be held. I remember once getting so lost going to an audition that I was an hour late. Needless to say, it didn’t make a good impression and I didn’t get the gig. Get directions and a phone number you can call in case you get lost or you get stuck in traffic.    

   Which brings me to my second tip, be on time. Showing up late to an audition is the ultimate way to show you don’t care about being a part of the band. If you have a lot of equipment to set up then you should ask if you can show up a few minutes early. Don’t just show up early because you’ll look a little too eager which isn’t cool for a musician. But if you let the people know you have extra equipment to set up then they’ll appreciate you asking if you can show up early to set up.

   The next tip is, don’t bring any unnecessary equipment. It’s a good idea to ask what equipment you should bring to the audition. Just bring along what you will need to complete the audition. Believe me, you don’t want to be stuck setting up and tearing down for an hour if everyone is uncomfortable with each other.

   Don’t bring your best equipment either, especially if you’re auditioning for people you’ve never met before. If you have a vintage collectors Les Paul, you should leave it home and just bring your Les Paul Studio guitar. You never know when you may run into some unscrupulous types that may want to relieve you of your best equipment.

   Make sure you know how to play the songs you are going to audition on. If you’ve been told “just come over and we’ll jam on something” I can guarantee you that the band is completely unorganized. If you just show up and jam on 12-bar blues for an hour, that’s not a lot to go on when choosing musicians to form a band. You have to remember that you’re auditioning the band as much as you are being auditioned. You’ll want to hear how the other musicians learn their individual parts and function together as a band. That’s why it’s a necessary to choose at least 3 songs that everyone will know  to have the audition.

   Remember to relax and have fun! Whether you get in the band or not, at least you’re getting the chance to play with some new musicians. It’s always a learning experience to get with some other musicians and see how they do things. It’s good to see how the members interact with each other. If you’re in a band, you will be spending a lot of time together so pay attention to how everyone is getting along.

   When the audition is over, ask them what they thought. They may tell you that they’ll call you and let you know. It’s a good idea to say something to the effect of “If I don’t hear from you in a week, can I call to find out if you’ve filled the position?”. Auditions are a lot like job interviews that way and it’s important that you follow up.

   Good luck out there, and keep on Rockin’! -Matt-


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