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dsop

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I suggest creating a few videos showing you playing along to a few songs. That will go a long way. When replying to ads looking for a drummer, you can share the videos to start off with.
You should also ask for audio and/or video of the band you're auditioning for. If it's a new band, ask for samples of the individual members. In this day and age, if someone doesn't have samples to share, I suggest passing on it.

As for the eventual audition/jam session, research the location. If it's in a sketchy part of town, pass. If everything seems okay, be prepared, be on time, make sure you're not playing too loud or too soft and that you can hear everyone else, and don't let it take any longer than 30-45 minutes. That should be plenty of time to run through 3 or 4 tunes and see if there's any chemistry.
 

Tornado

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I suggest creating a few videos showing you playing along to a few songs. That will go a long way. When replying to ads looking for a drummer, you can share the videos to start off with.
You should also ask for audio and/or video of the band you're auditioning for. If it's a new band, ask for samples of the individual members. In this day and age, if someone doesn't have samples to share, I suggest passing on it.

As for the eventual audition/jam session, research the location. If it's in a sketchy part of town, pass. If everything seems okay, be prepared, be on time, make sure you're not playing too loud or too soft and that you can hear everyone else, and don't let it take any longer than 30-45 minutes. That should be plenty of time to run through 3 or 4 tunes and see if there's any chemistry.

Yep. Videos are kind of a must now. Huge time savers. I always start off a conversation with, here's a video of me playing live so you can get an idea of who I am. We move forward or part ways from there. Easy.
 

little rock

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I listened to a tape of a band I was auditioning for and had it down. Took an 18" bass drum, snare, hats, ride and crash to the audition. Nailed it! I was old enough to be the three players' father. When we finished, they helped me carry my gear out and load it in my pick-up. Then, one of them said, "Rocky, we have one more guy to audition, but if you'll play with us, we'll tell him we have someone." I said, "Man I'd love to." One of the best gigs I have ever had. Just go in and play it like you own it without being a dick about it. You'll get the gig. Good luck. Keep us posted.
 

BoomBoom

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I had a band instructor that used to say "if you make a mistake, do it twice". Same principle.

Here's another similar take:

“It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.”
-- Miles Davis

I'm not sure about sending a video out to someone too early. Good way to get pigeon hold back the video to 2nd or 3rd contact.

To the original poster: Maybe start your own band? I've done that a few times. Trying to get in a band and dealing with musicians can be tricky.
 

AnnBehr

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Here's another similar take:

“It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.”
-- Miles Davis

I'm not sure about sending a video out to someone too early. Good way to get pigeon hold back the video to 2nd or 3rd contact.

To the original poster: Maybe start your own band? I've done that a few times. Trying to get in a band and dealing with musicians can be tricky.
I've thought about starting my own band. But with no musician friends, I don't know if I'd really do well trying to set up a band on my own- setting up auditions and finding a rehearsal space and such.
I take lessons at a local music store and they also offer a 'build a band' program where they set you up with other musicians with your own space and instructor to help. It's something to think about, but I'm just trying to make myself audition ready rn. Thanks for the response!
 

EyeByTwoMuchGeer

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Assuming you live in an area with a decent music scene, the best way to “audition” when you’re new is to go to open mic nights and sit in. Then, stay around and hang. Any decent open mic is 90% amateurs and 10% working musicians hosting the open mic to make some extra bread. They’ll most likely be keeping an eye out for people that can play. They’ll always need new subs, etc.

Or, if there are bands that play bar gigs on a regular basis, go hang out and make friends. Eventually, the drummer will need a break and ask you to sit in, or it will come up organically.

Then, stay and hang out.

Never underestimate the hang, as people are much more likely to hire you if you’re fun to be around. A typical 4-hour bar gig is more like 6 hours when you factor in driving, setup, breaks, etc. You’ll be with the guys for a while. Might as well like them.

If you sit in, and you can play ok, and if you’re a good hang, people will offer you gigs, and you’ll never have to “audition” at all.

For a “proper” audition, learn the tunes, show up and crush it.
 
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Tornado

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I've thought about starting my own band. But with no musician friends, I don't know if I'd really do well trying to set up a band on my own- setting up auditions and finding a rehearsal space and such.
I take lessons at a local music store and they also offer a 'build a band' program where they set you up with other musicians with your own space and instructor to help. It's something to think about, but I'm just trying to make myself audition ready rn. Thanks for the response!

I would take them up on that 'build a band' program. That sounds like a safe way to get some playing experience, and having an instructor help you is really nice.
 

drummer5359

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I've been doing this a while, forty-some years. Others have given great advice.

You will be given a list of (usually) five or six songs. If you get to talk to the band leader, ask what their favorite song is of the ones that they've given you. Learn them all, but really focus on the favorite. Sometimes if you are being considered to replace a drummer in an existing band, you will be given five or so songs for the audition, but they'll also shoot you their whole set list. Don't try to learn it all, there will be time for that later if you get the gig. But do at least listen through the songs if you have time. It will give you an idea of what to expect musically in the future.

And always remember, you are auditioning them as well.
 

JazzAcolyte

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To the point that several people have made about you auditioning them as well… from your profile it looks like you’re a young woman. Make sure you feel safe, comfortable, and respected as a musician. If anyone creeps you out, move on.
 

Tornado

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To the point that several people have made about you auditioning them as well… from your profile it looks like you’re a young woman. Make sure you feel safe, comfortable, and respected as a musician. If anyone creeps you out, move on.

Thank you for saying that. I didn't look at her profile, but assumed the same.
 

AnnBehr

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To the point that several people have made about you auditioning them as well… from your profile it looks like you’re a young woman. Make sure you feel safe, comfortable, and respected as a musician. If anyone creeps you out, move on.
Yes, you are correct, I am a young female. Thank you for your response, and i'll make sure I don't land myself in an uncomfortable situation!
 

EyeByTwoMuchGeer

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If you’re especially young, like under the typical bar age (21) it might be helpful to find a good trustworthy teacher that is a regular working musician as well. Somebody that gigs a lot and maybe teaches as a secondary income (as many professionals will do). Explain your interest in getting out into the live gigging world and see if you can tag along on some gigs or sessions. You can sort of get your foot in the door by default, as your teacher will know what you’re capable of, and can vouch for your talents.

Even better, look for teachers that have jam sessions or camps for younger musicians.

There are places like the School of Rock that foster jamming and networking. Or if you’re in college, join any number of performance groups. I was a chemistry major back in the day, but I joined a jazz improv class and that led eventually to me playing 100 nights a year as a side gig to being a full time scientist. There’s nothing like rolling in from a fun gig at 4am just to wake up at 7am for a full day of organic chemistry…

Obviously, you’ll have more opportunities in a town like Nashville than Toledo Ohio. Nothing against Toledo btw….
 
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AnnBehr

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If you’re especially young, like under the typical bar age (21) it might be helpful to find a good trustworthy teacher that is a regular working musician as well. Somebody that gigs a lot and maybe teaches as a secondary income (as many professionals will do). Explain your interest in getting out into the live gigging world and see if you can tag along on some gigs or sessions. You can sort of get your foot in the door by default, as your teacher will know what you’re capable of, and can vouch for your talents.

Even better, look for teachers that have jam sessions or camps for younger musicians.

There are places like the School of Rock that foster jamming and networking. Or if you’re in college, join any number of performance groups. I was a chemistry major back in the day, but I joined a jazz improv class and that led eventually to me playing 100 nights a year as a side gig to being a full time scientist. There’s nothing like rolling in from a fun gig at 4am just to wake up at 7am for a full day of organic chemistry…

Obviously, you’ll have more opportunities in a town like Nashville than Toledo Ohio. Nothing against Toledo btw…
Unfortunately, I'm not old enough to go into bars, but I do take lessons at a really cool music store. My teacher is awesome, and I actually went to one of his gigs a few weeks back, but I hadn't thought about asking about his next gigs, I'll talk to him about that at my next class!
I'm not in college, but holy crap- the fact that you held steady gigs and became a full-time scientist is so cool
 
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Whitten

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Unfortunately, I'm not old enough to go into bars
Well that's going to limit the band's you can audition for isn't it?
When I was very young my main focus was playing with other people as much as possible.
I joined the local brass band. I played in the school orchestra. I jammed once a week with a kid at school who played organ. None of it was my cup of tea music wise, but I met a lot of other kids my age interested in music and I learned how to play as a team member, in an ensemble.
I went to music college as a 16 year old and I just spent every day playing in student bands, with kids older than me and better than me. We weren't gigging, just booking a practice room and playing our favourite music.
Bars, clubs and restaurants are the bread and butter of local bands I would think. So if you can't play in bars I would try and find rehearsal bands locally made up of young people of your age range, or organised ensembles, like amateur pit orchestras and show bands, again run by responsible adults but made up of young people.
A lot of theatre music is rock and pop these days.
Probably more important than auditioning for unknown quantities is building up a network of friends and contacts who have similar goals to you.
My first two professional gigs came from close friends I had done rehearsal bands with.
 

Tornado

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Back when I was under 21, we played in 18+ clubs and other all ages venues. The kinds of places you get a stamp or X on your hand at the door indicating that you are under 21. These places hosted mostly original bands. This is back in like 1995 though, and I doubt there are as many of those places as there used to be. Parties were the other gigs. Bar work was for grown adults getting paid to play covers. The young kids thought they'd get discovered playing originals for door money, ha!
 

Houndog

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I will suggest that you try and stay away from joining a bar band in the future :

4 sets of covers in a smoky bar for minimal pay just isn’t worth it in my opinion ..

There are other options , get involved in theatre work or something .
 

Tornado

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I will suggest that you try and stay away from joining a bar band in the future :

4 sets of covers in a smoky bar for minimal pay just isn’t worth it in my opinion ..

There are other options , get involved in theatre work or something .

A bar band is better than staying at home... Until it's not better than staying at home. Doesn't take very long.
 

Tony_H

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I will suggest that you try and stay away from joining a bar band in the future :

4 sets of covers in a smoky bar for minimal pay just isn’t worth it in my opinion ..

There are other options , get involved in theatre work or something .
Hmm, my bar band made 2K + tips last night. The venue was non-smoking and they fed us and covered any bar tab we had. It all depends on location I guess.

Of course we worked our way out of a couple smokey bars, but we only booked one show then realized that it wasn't our scene.
 

dsop

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Well that's going to limit the band's you can audition for isn't it?
Not necessarily. Many clubs/venues will permit underage performers and make sure that they don't consume any alcohol. I did my first touring gig as an 18-year-old when the drinking age was 19, although it was probably just because I appeared to be of-age.
 


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