Starting a band in your 50’s may seem crazy to some, but there’s never the wrong time to start! AGE aint nothing but a number…That’s especially true when it comes to playing music! For proof, just look to the numerous artists that are still out there playing & touring the road well into their golden years. If you’re in your 50’s or older, you can still rock, or folk, or funk, or WHATEVER! If you’ve got the time to dedicate to it, the sky is the limit. Even if you’ve never picked up an instrument, it’s NEVER too late to get started! Starting a band can be one of the most rewarding experiences. The excitement that comes from getting together with a group of like-minded musicians, and really clicking together to create music is a feeling that has no match.
That’s okay! To become proficient at any instrument, it takes effort. It takes time to learn & practicing your instrument. (…unless you’re a singer. Hahah!) But seriously, if you’re going to be starting any sort of band, you’ll need to learn how to play some sort of instrument. Often, musicians will gravitate towards bandmates that have the same skill level. So if you’re just starting out on an instrument, maybe look to find others who are also just beginning to learn their skills. The good news is: It’s never been easier to learn how to play something. There are thousands of tutorials & lessons on youtube for nearly any instrument, and you can find instruction on almost any cover song you’d want to consider. AND you don’t need to be a virtuoso to play a few tunes, so even if you’re not the world’s best players you can still have a band that sounds good! And hell, you can even have a band that sounds crappy & still have great fun. That’s the beauty of music and starting a band.
Before you set out in the direction of finding bandmates, it may be a good idea to assess what your own goals are with starting a band.
Here are some questions to ask yourself….
– Are you starting a band for fun? How serious will you be?
– Do you hope to perform in front of people & get gigs?
– Will you limit your band to a specific genre or will you play whatever you want?
– Do you want to play original music or covers or both?
– How often do you want to get together as a band?
– Are you hoping to record your music?
The sky is the limit here, and there’s nobody telling you what to do…which can be another great thing about forming a band, actually. It’s recommended that you stick to playing types of music that you actually enjoy.
Open Mic nights are a fantastic place to meet local musicians. Check out your local arts newspaper, or use the old Google machine to find out where & when these open mics are. Open Mic nights are also great if you’re new to performing as they can help you get rid of any stage fright or jitters you may be feeling. Talk to people at open mics, and let them know you’re starting a new band & need members. By starting conversations with others, you’re opening your music world to new & exciting possiblities. Maybe they’ll be interested in joining your band, or maybe they’ll know somebody who’d be interested!
It’s never been easier to find like minded musicians. Sites like craigslist.org or oodle.com allow you to post classified ads! Facebook and twitter are other great tools to utilize. Check out reddit, local music blogs, or some local music forums. Nearly every publication has website that allows you to post classified ads.
old school flyers
Have you ever walked into a music store or coffee shop and seen one of these flyers?
Well there’s a reason these types of flyers have been around for so long – THEY WORK! Craft up one of these flyers with your “sales pitch” for your future bandmates, make some copies, and hang them up at music stores, coffee shops and anywhere you can find a community bulletin board. Hell, even stick a few around town in high traffic public spaces. If you’re worried or nervous about putting your phone number or contact information on something like this, I recommend setting up a free email account through gmail or yahoo specifically to use on these flyers.
For somebody in their 50’s looking to start up a band, newspaper classified ads can really be effective. Classified ads are an old school method of finding bandmates, and while younger generations may not be reading newspapers as much these days, people in their 50’s still do. Think of whatever different publications exist in your town, and check out what kind of classified ads they have. Classified ads are usually pretty affordable, and you can get really get specific on what kind of bandmates you’re looking for. For example: “LOOKING FOR BANDMATES – 52 year old novice guitarist looking for other musicians to start a blues band for fun & friendship! Call me today!”
Word of mouth
This is the most simple method to find bandmates in your 50s. Talk to people you know, and let them know you’re starting up a band that’s looking to find members! Ask your family & friends, coworkers, neighbors…whoever! Maybe even some strangers if you’re out somewhere. And if they give you a potential contact, be sure to follow up right away with that person.
If you’re in your 50s, starting a band doesn’t need to be challenging. Again, age is only a number. Music doesn’t see boundaries. In my current band, I play with someone who is nearly 15 years younger than me. I hope that with some of the resources and recommendations above, you’re able to start something up and experience the great fun & joy that can come from making music with others!