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5 Types of People You Don't Want in Your Band

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Bands are delicate ecosystems, even when there are only two members. The weirdness that exists between members can be the trigger for really special music, the little pocket out of which a very specific kind of creativity grows. That weirdness can also be the reason a band doesn’t last very long, or makes bad music, or lasts too long when nothing satisfying to any of the members is happening... or something even worse.

For this reason, it’s helpful to be selective when forming your band and to be able to spot red flags in potential bandmates. It may sound like a sterile, uncreative approach, but at the end of the day, your band is like a business. You may appreciate someone’s creative genius, but if his/her personality or habits don’t align with yours, it’s unlikely it’ll be a sustainable partnership.

4 Awesome Nonprofits That Are Saving Music Education

The Pink Slips performing at the Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls, a member of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance. Photo credit: Roger Kisby.

As a kid in elementary school, I absolutely hated music class. When I got to middle school and the option to take band came along, I didn’t think twice about passing it up. It wasn’t even the least bit appealing, even though I was learning how to play instruments at home. Something about the formalism and the structure was just an absolute turnoff. In my mid-20s, I realized that I knew woefully little about music on any kind of technical theory level and that I really, really wished that I did. While trying to teach myself basic theory, it occurred to me that I’d passed up a very basic and easy step to understanding it all: taking band and paying more attention in elementary music classes.

Music programs are frequently on the chopping block in underfunded and struggling public schools. They’re among the first (if not the first) to be cut when things get tight. Fortunately, there are a few nonprofit programs out there attempting to paper up these widening cracks, varying in scope and focus. Some are corporate in origin, while some come from more of a DIY/punk ethos. All operate on the theory that music is ineffably important and can change – and even save – lives. Here are four of our favorites:

Touring on the Cheap: 5 Ways to ‘Jam Econo’

In the life of most bands, touring begins well before the financial ability to do so comfortably – never mind glamorously. The cushy guarantees that enable Sprinter vans and separate rooms at a 3-star hotel are a ways off, at least. But touring is fun, and even if it weren’t, it’s necessary to spread the word. The Minutemen knew this, and famously determined to “jam econo” on the road. To them, this wasn’t an ascetic self-denial; it was a way of doing what they loved in a way that was appropriate to their station as a weirdo post-punk band without a lot of resources. It was doing what they could with what they had. And no matter how un-weird or destined for the mainstream you are (or think you are), to jam econo is to place your music at the center of touring, and that should always be the point. Here are five easy ways to jam thusly.