Adult Guitar Lessons

Auditioning for a band can be a nerve racking, frustrating experience, but it's one of the necessary evils of the music business.

I once accompanied a close friend to a Nashville audition for a major label recording artist. This friend is a drummer that I had toured with for several years and he is an awesome player who could get on stage with anyone.

While waiting for his turn to go in we could hear another drummer auditioning that was nailing it. When my friend got in to take his turn, his nerves got the better of him and he fell apart. He didn't play anywhere close to the level he was capable of and, as a result, didn't get the gig.
lyrics 1There will surely come a time when you will face a "casting call" and be placed in the position of putting yourself out there in hopes of securing a gig. When that time comes there are some things you can do to ready yourself.

Be Prepared

This may sound like a "duh" statement, but I have seen musicians go into an audition with no clue as to  what they were going to play. Going in saying "let's just jam on some blues in E" is not going to impress anyone.

If you are auditioning for a cover band, try to secure a set list of the band's material, along with the keys the band plays the songs in. No one will expect you to know all the songs on the list, but if you have five or six songs ready to go in advance you will probably get their attention. A band wants to hire a good player, but they also want to hire someone who can slide right into the spot without a lot of effort and rehearsal.

When auditioning for an original band, make the effort to get recordings of their material and learn a handful of their songs. The safest bet is to learn their songs exactly like the recording. Avoid trying to show them how much "better" the songs can sound played "your" way. You will score more brownie points if you can fit right into what they already do.

Be Punctual

This might also sound like a no brainer, but some musicians can be notorious for a lack of time keeping.
clockBe mindful that they may be auditioning a number of guitar players and could be on a tight schedule. If you show up late that could put everyone, including other auditioners, behind schedule.

In addition, if you can't show up on time for an audition, how can they expect you to be puntual for rehearsals and gigs?

Be Considerate

It's always a good idea to mind your manners at an audition. Learn everyone's name and avoid talking too much about yourself.

In addition to looking for a guitar player, they will also be looking for someone who fits in, someone they can enjoy being around and making friends with.

Don't talk negatively about other players that may be auditioning or the musician in the band that is being replaced. "Down" talking anyone has a tendency to alienate people and may hurt your chances.

Check the Ego

You may be the hottest guitar player since sliced bread. The next Stevie Ray or Eddie Van Halen. Even so, a humble attitude will get you further than anything.

There is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of self confidence when getting on stage, but an out of control ego will do nothing for you.

A band is comprised of a number of people that make up the whole. Not one individual. A "look at me" or "listen to me" attitude is contrary to to the very concept of a "band". For those with a "me" attitude, a solo gig would probably more appropriate.
too old 2In my experience, the best and most talented musicians are the most humble. The ones that don't feel the need to "tell" you how good they are. Conversely, the players that go out of their way to inform you how great they are, are usually not.

Even if you really are the hottest thing since sliced bread, let your guitar do the talking.

When wrapping up an audition, make sure to thank everyone for the opportunity, even if you know that they are going to hire someone else.

The person they chose might have something more in common with them, they might work together in a day job, or they might go to the same church etc. It might be a very fine line between choosing them and choosing you.

The one they
choose may not work out so you want to leave in their good graces, and you might be on the top of their list if the new player doesn't work out. They might also refer you to another band that is in search of a guitar player.

Auditioning for a band can create a high level of stress, but preparation in advance can cut down greatly on the level of anxiety. Try to keep some of these things in mind on your next audition and you may just increase your odds of being picked for the gig!

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

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There may come a time in your guitar playing journey when thoughts turn to taking your guitar out and playing with other musicians.

Making music as a "group" is one of the most rewarding things a musician can experience. It can also be a challenge.
lesson 2As a beginning guitarist you will spend countless hours locked up in "practice" mode, with no one else around. No one to hear the blurbs and bloopers.

Just the thought of going from your safe cocoon of a practice room into a situation where other people will be listening, and yes, maybe even criticizing, can be nerve racking.

There are, however, some things you can do to minimize the pain, and ease into the world of playing guitar with a band.

Start Slow

Some people risk going into "musical shock" when transitioning straight from the practice room to a band rehearsal. It can be too much at one time, and what should have been an exciting new experience winds up on a sour note. (pun intended!)

It is sometimes better to just ease your toes in the water and get slowly acclimated before diving in.

A good first step to prepare for playing in a band would be to get together with a friend that plays an instrument. Even if it's another guitarist, the act of sitting in the same room with another player and playing songs together will begin to open some doors for you.
band 1It is also a good way to work on your improvisation skills in a low stress environment. Share some riffs and take turns playing some leads. Learn how to interact with another musician.

Once your confidence level has increased, check out some local music stores for impromptu jam sessions. Many stores will provide a place for musicians to gather play "in the round" with everyone taking a turn to play.

These jam sessions are often attended by players of various skill levels and you rarely find players intent on "out doing" each other. These are often nice social get together's where many long term friendships have been formed.

Plan Ahead

Many band relationships are formed on the spur of the moment. A chance run in with another musician and next thing you know, they are getting together to jam and talking about forming a band.

Even though "spur of the moment" is common in the music business you can still prepare yourself for when it hits.

You probably
have an idea of what kind of music you like playing and what type of band you want to play in. Prepare for that direction by learning every song you can that would be useful to a band of that  genre. Have a song list ready of songs you know and what key you play those songs in and only set your sights on playing in a band that has common musical goals.

If you are shooting to play in a blues band, don't waste your time, and everyone else's, by agreeing to try playing in a band that does 80's dance music.

Sit In

Go out to clubs and see if you can sit in with bands. Follow some rules of etiquette and don't be pushy or insistent. Some bands are receptive to other musicians sitting in, and others are not.
band 2If you are invited to sit in, only stay on stage for a song or two, and don't try to "take over the show". You want to be asked back and sometimes sitting in with a band can lead to a permanent gig if someone drops out. You want them to remember you, but in a good way.

Always take your own guitar. Most guitarists will let you use their amp, but may be reluctant to let a stranger play their guitar. And never change the amp settings if you are using someone else's rig.

Be Persistent

One of the bands I play in is a six piece band with a female lead singer. There was another female singer that used to come out and watch the band play. She had no experience playing with a band but occasionally we would invite her up to sing a song or two. She did a nice job and continued to come out and see the band. Sometimes we would get her up and other times we didn't, but she kept coming out, night after night, and quietly hoping for a chance to sit in. She made friends with everyone and was never pushy.

One day, without warning, our female singer decided to quit the band. We immediately called the singer who had been sitting in and asked if she wanted to fill in while we decided on a replacement singer. She happily agreed but within a few weeks she came out of her shell and knocked everyone's socks off. We never even thought about looking for another candidate.

Her persistence paid off and she is now living her dream on stage!


Playing in a band is a constant balancing act between personalities and egos. Musicians have a way of loving each other when things are going well - and lashing out at each other when things get tough.
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We are a different breed, and a good rule of thumb when playing in a band is to leave the ego at the door.

Just Do It

If you know you are ready to play in a band then there is really no substitute for getting out there and doing it. You will learn more about playing guitar from being on stage and playing in front of real people than you ever will playing in your practice room.

So if playing in a band is on your radar screen, then in the words of Nike, "just do it".

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

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