Being in a band is a great way to get to play your instrument. You can enjoy the full range of sounds offered by an ensemble of instruments, and performing live is always good fun. I'm a fairly new member, tho' I've been using this site as a guest for some time now, but I thought I would put together some useful advice about starting and running a band.
Firstly, Who To Get:You want people who are a similar age to you. If you are under 18 look at maximum 3 years age difference, if you are 18 - 25 maximum 5 years and 25+... well, anyone over 25 I guess.Find people who enjoy the same music as you. If you all want to play different styles it could become very tricky. Having said that, it is nice to have some variety - you don't want to sound too samey - so you can be flexible.Find people with the same musical talent as you. That way you can develop at the same rate - you don't want to be a pro stuck with a bunch of noobs, or visa-versa (I never worked out how to spell that).At least two of you should be able to read and write music (this can include tab) and should be confident songwriters.If you go for a large band make sure everyone is going to be needed. There is probably no point in having 3 guitarists, for example.Try to find people who live nearby or who have easy access to transport. This makes things a lot easier.Finally, try to find people who are not too busy. It can be extremely frustrating having, say, a keyboardist who can never make the practises because he has work or exams or whatever.
Now you have your band members, You Need To Decide:Who is going to be your lead man (or woman). It is useful to have someone who takes charge a little bit. This does not have to be the singer. It could be the sax player, the drummer, the tambourineist if you want. The lead man should be someone who is organised and fairly confident as well as talented.Who will write your songs. It is actually best if everyone contributes to song writing - it helps to bring in variety and if you ever sell a record it's the only way you'll all make some money - but sometimes only one or two people do. Song writing sessions should be seperate from practises - don't try to cram practising and song writing together because it will go horribly wrong.Who will organise your gigs. This should be a seperate person to the lead man, and should be confident, organised and a good communicator. You won't need to worry about this immediately, however - gigs normally won't start coming until at least 6 months of practise.Where you will practise. If someone has a fairly large house and a drum kit that will do fine, but if not try recording/rehearsal studios. Normally you should get a good deal - in Bristol, where I come from, Drumbank studios have some great practise rooms. If you go to a school/college with good music facilities then try them, but don't do lunchtime rehearsals. These will be rushed and normally disasterous, especially for a newly-born band. Oh yeah, practise times should never exceed two hours without a break until you have been together a long while or unless you are all very focused. Otherwise you will get very sick and tired of one another and of your music.What your band will be called. Try to avoid anything lame (words like dark, thunder, flash etc. make you sound like a bunch of... muppets).
Now get together for a trial run and see how it goes. For the first practise maybe play some covers that everyone knows instead of your own stuff. Make sure that your balance is good (very often singers are too quiet) and that everyone is fairly involved. A word of advice to all you "hardcore" rockers out there: it is not a good idea to bring alcohol to your band practises. Don't do it. If all goes well, try to meet up every 2-3 weeks and you will soon begin to sound great. Good luck!