A buddy on private forum recently asked advice about meeting musicians to jam or start a band with and what internet sites anybody could recommend. His question got me thinking about my experiences over the 11-odd years I’ve been in Paris.
Certainly, there are is no shortage of websites for musicians in France with small ads and forums for selling gear and contacting other musicians. I can only imagine there are multitude of similar choices no matter where in the world you live. But in my experience, the internet thing or even posting ads in music stores/rehearsal studios, was a total waste of time. Even worse, it was a waste of money!
Of those who did see an ad somewhere and make contact, I guess only half ever actually turned up to rehearsal/audition. Of those who did bother to show up, many didn’t make an effort to learn the tunes we had already agreed on. Of those who did, about half simply fell short of the standard of playing we’d be looking for.
If it was an originals band, a surprising number of people wouldn’t have read the advert properly and thought it was a covers band. They’d turn up saying “listen, I really don’t have time to rehearse, I just want to make some extra cash on the weekends.“
There were some who were actually good players, who could read the most basic of chord charts and understand (musically) what was being asked of them. Even so, some of them decided they didn’t like our music so much or didn’t want to rehearse more than once a month. Despite our happiness with their performance, that was yet another body walking out the door of a rehearsal studio that we were paying for by the hour.
In my experience, all but one of the professional musicians I currently know and/or work with, who have lasted the course in any way at all over the years, are people I met through other professional musicians. A recommendation from a musician I trust and respect, who trusts and respects me, telling me of a musician he trusts and respects is worth it’s proverbial weight in gold.
So what should looking to meet musicians, actually do? The answer is simple – get out and meet musicians!
I’d check out local gigs, jam sessions, open mic nights. Not only do you get to feel embarrassed about your playing next to better musicians (which will make you practice harder at home and improve your playing), you get to hear new music, meet other musicians, and see them play before you approach them to start something up. You will also have fun, meet some nice people, make contacts that will help getting gigs and maybe you’ll even get laid, all of which which looking for musicians on the internet certainly will never offer you!
People are social animals. Get out and be social. In the long run, it’s the best and most rewarding way.