How To Audition New Band Members

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When we were looking for new band members, whether they were singers, guitarists, or drummers, we would post notices at all the local music stores. You could also place an ad in the local paper, and use word of mouth through other musicians. But realize that everyone who thinks they can sing, or knows someone who sings, or thinks they are the best Crapioke singer in the world, will call. It’s sad, but true.

As people call, have a list of questions available.

“Have you ever sung/drummed/played with a band before?”
“What type of music do you like?”
“Have you ever been a part of a working band before?”
“Do you realize that you won’t make a lot of money doing this type of work?”
“Can you practice every week”?
“Can you help set up/break down at gigs?”
“Do you have reliable transportation?”
“Do you have a day job?”
“Does your Significant Other support you and your music?”
“What is your range?”

And other questions.

Then, if they sound like they have potential, (which a phone interview can give you a good idea of), invite them to see you play at an upcoming gig. When I offered these invitations and the potential new players accepted them, this showed me they were serious and wanted to make an extra effort.

If they don’t watch you play, or you don’t have any gigs coming up right away, have a four or five song “homework” list for them. This is what we did when we were looking for a drummer. I had a list of songs they were expected to know and play when they showed up to audition. Here are the songs:

Black Magic Woman/Oye Como Va
Wonderful Tonight
Radar Love
Sunshine Of Your Love

All these songs have different styles, tempos and use different techniques. We needed someone who could play them well. This is what you need to do for a lead singer or a guitarist. Give them a week or so to learn the songs and then have them perform for you. It is best if you can schedule more than one prospect, one after the other. That way, every prospect stays fresh in your mind.

Give them one hour to set up and play the “Homework” with you and the rest of the band. That should give you a few minutes for them to pack out and get ready for the next one. Take notes on all of them. It is easy to forget who did what or didn’t.

Also, take note on the appearance of their gear. Is it maintained well and in good working condition? Are they driving a car/truck/van that is not on its last legs? We hired someone years ago who showed up in a station wagon that looked like it had one more day to live. After we hired this guy, his car died and we had to give him rides to gigs and to practice. I’ll never do that again.

I wish you luck in finding that perfect new addition to your band. If you have any other questions, please drop me a line.

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