edit* Check my my new post, #12, this event has now taken place and I just listed the results.

Not bandleading per se, so if this could be better placed let me know, but I thought the same type of expertise applied:

I recently started going to a weekly songwriting circle, and the host of said circle wants to perform a set with his drummer buddy for some of his friends at my house (which has a lot more room than his and plenty of PA gear/seating/ etc.)

I've said yes, and I've said yes with the hope that this can become a regular thing where I welcome various local musicians into my home to share with small audiences what they have been working on.

My main questions are: what are some steps I can take to make everyone comfortable and still seem somewhat profesional? What can I do to encourage other musicians (I'm sure some will come to watch this presentation--plus I'll be meeting more and more at the songwriting circle) to come do the same thing?

Any other bits of advice are of course much appreciated too. Thanks!
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at Oct 26, 2008,
Noise is not an issue, especially with the music these folks will all be making. I have several roomates who are cool with the idea/would be gone whenever this goes on. But no, no neighbors are close enough to be bothered by the noise.

That's a good consideration though.

edit* and I just thought of one thing regarding accomodations: I have a lot of gear already, and I'll likely pick up a used electric organ over the next month or two, but adding a drum set to my house is out of my budget and too much for my space requirements--so that's one thing I can't provide in order to encourage people to come play.
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at Oct 12, 2008,
do you have enough room for people to perform to a small audience?
also i dunno the audience youll be having but if you dont know em itd be better with your roommates there just to keep an eye on them as you'll probably be too busy to
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How are people going to find out about this? Is it by invitation only (which I think is the only way you should do it, so it's kind of like a party in a way, and everyone who comes you either know or is a friend of a friend), or are you going to let the public come in?

Even though I believe in the inherent good of people, I think there is a lot that could go sour with this arrangement very quickly. Roommates, noise, traffic, insurance (who pays for a slip-up?), all kinds of stuff......I would say this is a bad ideal.

I say this because a close friend I knew used to do this kind of thing, where bands would come and play at his house as informal "gigs" and as part of a party. By the time the third one happened, word of mouth about what was going on had spread, and an undesirable element had come around to bite him for his good deed. Nearly 200 people showed up, a bunch of stuff was stolen and broken, it was hard to move in the house because it was so cramped, the road was clogged with cars so traffic (and thereby the neighbors) got PO'd, and suddenly the police came in force (multiple cars) and nearly took him to jail because they caught minors drinking and smoking pot on his front porch, so it looked like he was supplying them. Suffice it to say my friend had neither the patience, the insurance, or the desire to deal with the law again, and the house gigs ended as quickly as they had begun.
That's pretty extreme lol. I'm not terribly worried about management. Things will be smaller than my usual parties even, and I'm not the type of host that lets anyone walk all over me (or lets minors into my house--we had to quickly escort some young crashers off the premisis at a party last month )

Things at my house are always done by invite only--and I intend this performances to be more of closed screenings than gigs, if that makes any sense.

I also love some of my gear and know where to put it when unruley or unfamiliar guests are coming over, and at the same time have a set of gear for public use that is meant to get beaten up--though hopefully not stolen--.

Anyway, I'm really not at all worried about losing control and things getting out of hand--I'm much more concerned with creating a pleasant and creative atmosphere for these folks that will encourage them to open up to me and to return in the future. At the same time I don't want things to be party party to the point that I'm not taken seriously--tips on that kind of balance would help me out a lot.

Thanks for naming off those points though, they are certainly things that I will have to keep in mind.
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at Oct 12, 2008,
Well, that's a whole different ballgame, and it seems like you have this a lot better figured out than I first thought.

To make things a good atmosphere, I would say you'd probably want to provide some light refreshments, and maybe encourage people to debut new songs that may not be entirely ready to be played for a typical audience--more for constructive criticism and feedback. That would likely encourage people in the songwriters' circle to come forward and be active, both as players and audience members. You could also consider bringing in sofas and chairs so people have a place to sit, and that would make the atmosphere more intimate.

As for crossing into being a "party party"--maybe have it on a weeknight so it's less of a night out kind of thing. And then, as long as you don't have gratuitous supplies of alcohol out, I think people will kind of get that it's not really a party from the vibe they get, just from coming in the room and knowing why you're putting this on.
My old band threw a metal show at the drummers house... it was amazingb until the cops showed up and busted everyone that was.... not sober. $1,800 ticket too.
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Honestly i would say get one of your friends to be a bouncer. It may seem a little extreme, but if you have a big enough guy regulating who is alowed in, it would help save time against un wanted guests later. Of course try to get the biggest guy you can find lol. People don't want to F*** with them.

I would also suggest clearing out the area your using of anything valuable and put in behind a locked room, (i would honestly do that with anything valuable.) and lock the rooms in the house you don't want people going to, just make sure you have a key or something to unlock them later lol.

but yea, bouncers...thats the way to go.
ok, guys I appreciate the input everyone's giving, but for the last time, the behavior management end of things isn't what I'm at all concerned about. I've hosted my fair share of unruley parties, and I'm well aware just how shadey some of our fellow musicians can occasionally be--though I try to be optimistic when meeting new people. I also live in a slummy college house on a college street with several other college guys--and it's pretty safe to say that I'm not concerned about breaking anything nice. All that said, any guest in my house who is even on the fringe of being descructive would find himself no longer welcome.

I'm not a big fella, but I've never had an issue garnishing respect or throwing someone out when the situation called for it--and it has quite a few times.

To clarify, since I foolishly didn't specify: there will be around 15 guests at this initial set, and I'd like to shoot for around 10-15 in the future. For me this is a manageable number and I can casually keep an eye on everything without running around acting all nervous and throwing off the vibe for everyone.

Tell me: if you went to a listening session at a fellow musician's house and he had bouncers chilling by the front door, how confortable and welcome would you feel? I'm looking for tips on making people more comfortable as musicians and for ways to take full advantage of this networking opportunity or how to frame another session like this after the first one. I think there is a really neat opportunity for fostering a sense of community in all of this, I'm just not sure how to get ahold of it.

I appreciate everyone looking out for the wellbeing of me and my home, and really thoughtful points have been made--but let's put this end of the discussion to rest.
Well you seem ot have the gist of things worked out already.

What's the floor plan, what kind of refreshments and seating are there, and what is there to do afterwards?

Just wanted to share with anyone that remembers this thread. The show finished an hour and half ago and the last guests left about 40 minutes ago. This was the best thing ever, the whole performance was recorded and I really think everyone had an absolutely amazing time.

It's weird, but I actually felt more alive and excited hosting this event then I ever have performing myself. I'll definately be doing it again.

Thanks to everyone in the bandleading thread for their suggestions. I managed to keep everything in check and make everyone comfy with your help.
Congrats man. Any chance of posting any of it? I'd love to see some talent in the industry. I'm not feeling much music nowadays.
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