#1
Hello UG

So basically to paraphrase what's going to be said, how do you write music as a band? And I mean you and your band specifically. Once I finally get musicians in the practice room, we just kinda stand around and jam out the same stuff we've been individually practicing, but it's never towards a singular sound. I spend so much time trying to get four people in the same room, that when it finally happens, I no longer have a plan haha.

I've always had the typical problems of not being able to find members, then when you do they don't show up to practice, if they do show up to practice they can't stay focused, and after about a week they stop responding to your calls/texts/email/facebook messages even though they're updating their status every 15 ****ing minutes (sorry, side rant).

Anyway, every now and then I get some people together, we're all tuned up and warmed up, and then.........what? How do you start the music process of the band?

With one band I was in, the bassist wrote the bass line for the entire song and I would try to find some guitar riffs that complimented what he came up with. That worked really well because this guy had tons of material, but then he wanted to do Lordi and Nickelback covers so I left.

In another project I wrote lyrics, then guitar parts for the lyrics, and then threw away the lyrics so the vocalist could come up with something his own but the melody was there. Problem with that is I got burned out really quickly after about three songs.

In my current sorta-project the vocalist has a ton of material that I'm writing guitar parts to, which is working for now I guess, but it's just me and him. For a while we had a drummer, but he couldn't ever remember the transitions, and even had a bassist for a couple practices, but he had uber ADHD and got the entire band off track.

Anyway, I would appreciate any advice on this matter and some stories about your band practices and how to write music with people. Thanks so much for reading all this.
#2
I write every part for every instrument. Its the only way anything ever gets done. Everyone always just wants to jam which annoys the hell out of me, because even if they do play something good they don't remember what they did 5 seconds later.
#3
work out your influences, find what music you want to play and start with basic chords and beats, then work on melodies and finally do the lyrics
#4
Every band's different, so I can only tell you what works for me and the bands I've been in.

Me or the other guitarist in my band will write out song ideas (guitars, bass, drums, keys, sometimes even vocal melodies) on guitarpro and send them to everyone else. Anyone can add stuff to songs if they want, but its usually just me or my guitarist who messes around with guitarpro.

From there we go into practice with everyone already sorta knowing the basic idea of the song and we'll figure out things here and there to add to it. Usually everyone will take ideas that me or my guitar player made and change them around a bit (bassist will make a cooler bass line, drummer will figure out cooler fills, singer/keyboardist will figure out better ways to play parts). When we get the whole instrumental foundation of the song down, our singer writes the lyrics.

If you don't like guitarpro, another idea is to buy an interface and record your riffs and trade them back and forth with other members in your band. The main thing is to have a record of ideas so people don't forget them
#5
Quote by jfreyvogel
I write every part for every instrument. Its the only way anything ever gets done. Everyone always just wants to jam which annoys the hell out of me, because even if they do play something good they don't remember what they did 5 seconds later.

This.
If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself. I usually write the entire song myself, transcribe it on Guitar Pro, show the whole band and basically teach them how to play it since only 1 other member has Guitar Pro
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#6
Well it really depends on the band, and the members.
For the first bands I was in, someone would come to practice with a song idea, a melody, riff, bass line, drum beat etc. and we would build around that, each person expected to contribute to the process. This worked out well for us, and we did well on the local radio/shows.
The later bands I wrote all the parts for all the songs, and used Guitar Pro (like mentioned earlier) to send that to the others in the band. They would come and add their own flavor to it.
Recently, I’ve become a gun for hire, so I usually just sit down and add my own flavor to a songwriter/singer who writes ever part for the song, and then sends it to the musicians to add their own fills/riffs/tweaks.
It sounds like what you need the most is to get a group of dedicated people, and since you sound like the band leader, you have to be kind of a jerk sometimes. Don’t be afraid to say, “Here’s what we’re going to do today.” It’s better to have that than to stand around and stare at each other.
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#7
Different ways;

1. I write a song. I record it, write out chord sheets and email it to all members. They will have learnt it by next practice. That's the easiest way.

2. Someone at practice shows us the song they wrote, everyone learns. If a part is missing (bridge/chorus/whatever), a part will be written quickly, like within 5-6 minutes. After then it is not changed.

3. A get-together with another person in the band, separate from practice. Work on some songs together and bring them to practice next time.

4. Random jamming leading to defined song structure. Doesn't always work, it needs someone to go "that part sounded good here, that can be the verse etc" and arrange it into a structure. Otherwise it more often ends up as nothing.
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#8
Quote by QuantumMechanix
This.
If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself. I usually write the entire song myself, transcribe it on Guitar Pro, show the whole band and basically teach them how to play it since only 1 other member has Guitar Pro


Expprt as MIDI and PDF and send it to them . Its what I do to the members that dont have GP, or tell them to get TuxGuitar
#9
Everybody records, jesus. This is how my band does it.
Me (the guitarist) and our drummer jam for a bit. Once we get a part we like, we remember it, and jam with it for more related parts. Then we put the parts together. Our bassist makes his part. and then our vocalist does his. Pretty simple.

Except sometimes, I'll write a guitar part, and everybody will add theirs.
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#10
I've worked on both ends of the spectrum. I've been in bands where everyone brings what they can to the table and it eventually becomes a song and I've been in bands where one person brings something and everyone learns.

I prefer it when we start with something and build on it as a group rather than one person does everything. It lets the group become more of a group than one guy and his bitches playing stuff for him. Of course, its harder to find people that are good enough to do that.
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#11
In one band I was in as a bassist we jammed until we had a collection of parts then we would sit down and connect them altogether tweaking as we went while the vocalist would sit in the corner listening and coming up with ideas but we were a funk/rock band and that sort of thing worked well in that situation.

In another band I was in, again as a bassist, the guitarist would write a song then the drummer and i would come up with our individual parts and then we would all go home and have a bash at some lyrics around a theme that would have developed during the practise then decide on the best set.

The two piece acousticish band I was in consisted of me writing the music and me and the singer sharing vocal melody, lyric and arrangement duties.

The band I'm in now works (at the moment) with me recording quick instrumental demos consisting of rhythm guitar, bass and a rough lead part finished with midi drums then I email it to the rest of the band, then they edit and cut as they wish. But that band's still very much in the early stage so I'm hoping that as we progress and get to know each other better everyone will take a more equal role.
#12
I personally find it easier to write songs and make ideas outside of the band... obviously stuff can be done in the band but when its on my time I don't have pressure of 4 people staring at me waiting for me to make something to their part or to give them something to go off from.
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#13
With the band I'm in now I write about 80% of what we play by myself. When it's something that I've written this way I already know in my head how I want it to sound, so I describe that to the bassist, drummer, etc and let them run with it. They still get a chance to "flex their creative muscles" and I still get to chase after the sound I want.
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#14
Quote by QuantumMechanix
This.
If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself. I usually write the entire song myself, transcribe it on Guitar Pro, show the whole band and basically teach them how to play it since only 1 other member has Guitar Pro

While it's true that if you want something done right you gotta do it yourself, I would tell you to kindly go f*uck yourself if you tried to write my part for me.
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#15
For my band usually someone will have something that will be expanded upon. In some cases its an already complete/almost complete song that they've written independently which we adapt to a full band setting, sometimes its just a simple riff and whoever wrote the riff will just keep playing it over and over while everyone else works out a part to accompany it. From there you work out the rest of the song and transitions and such which is just pure theory