Bands/ Projects not working out


Junior Member
Hi, I'm a high school student who has jammed in about 4 projects/bands, all of which have gone under. I am wondering how many projects you guys have been in, and how many actually seem to work. Also, any tips on finding good mates, and anything else related to that. I'm at the point of just playing by myself, which I do like, but I would still like to play with other people. Thanks a lot.


Platinum Member
Be patient, You will be in many bands before one works out. When you find one that works, something will go wrong and that band will die also! Get used to it! It is a right or passage.
Meeting your wife will be easier than finding the right band!


Platinum Member
At the very real risk of sounding patronizing, I would say that as a high school student, perhaps your expectations are a little high at this point. I would take advantage of the fact that other than school and possibly a part-time job, you are not burdened with the hassles of adulthood, making a living so you can pay your bills, etc. Bands and musical experiences at that point are supposed to be fun and instructional, not necessarily perfection.

Very few musicians in high school are in great bands or successful projects. Your pool of fellow musicians to play with is probably somewhat limited right now, you may not be exposed to a lot of different musical styles or genres, and quite honestly, it's a lot to expect of a group of teenagers to be focused and success-oriented on something that to them may just be fun, or a hobby, to them.

I played in several bands in high school, with varying degrees of seriousness, and we had very modest goals - a talent show here and there, and to have fun. We recorded songs on a crappy little tape recorder (this was probably 20 years before ProTools). We learned our instruments, and made decisions on how much music would be an ongoing part of our lives.

It wasn't until nearly 20 years after graduating high school when I began to get serious enough about the instrument to join a success-oriented band that played shows at venues, recorded CDs, and the whole nine yards. Thereafter I decided to play some paying sessions and gigs around town.

Whether you've been playing for one year or one hundred, first and foremost have fun. Don't obsess about "success" at this point is my recommendation.

Last point: Should you crave personal challenges or recognition that you feel aren't attainable with a band outside of school, look into your school's music program, if it has one, and if you haven't done so already. Not only will an exposure to music theory and composition be beneficial, but there are other possibilities (jazz band, pep band, chamber music, summer concerts) depending on the size and motivation of the program. Despite not playing percussion in the school bands, I was able to play in the pep band and summer concert series for years, stuff that really helped me mature as a player, and appealed to my sense of direction and success.


Platinum Member
I think when you're our age or a little older, you have to take the initiative yourself by learning how to stand out in a crowd. I truly believe that 90% of all drummers think that marketing themselves is beneath them. OK, more for me and thank you for that POV. There's also nothing wrong with defending your marketing and point of view as aggressively as possible. Usually when you do this some guy who doesn't participate in projects is going to tell you how you're overly sensitive. Just ignore all that. It's only a gimmick because I personally think that most of the real marketing is part of a bigger picture that makes you a better musician anyway.

Hook up with a serious teacher early who will become your mentor and if you're an American join your high school band program. As well as the obvious result of getting better, one of the things you learn from mentors is the business of music. Even in high school band you can learn about the pecking order and false belief stuff that relates to business.

Develop something that gets you in the door. When I was super young it was discovered that I had high end hand speed. I turned that into the worlds fastest drummer angle and had something that already distinguished me from others when I was still in the early stages of learning how to play. It took only about 40 minutes most days and got me noticed. When I set a few world records I walked away and went to drum school. In the meantime that speed angle got me into several NAMMs, TV, massive youtube, drum polls and some endorsements while I remained in school and played as much as possible.

At the same time I have found it good to become a fixture around guys who are much better musicians than you. Most times I irritate them senseless until they let me play or be part of their group. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. Positively it doesn't need to work everytime anyway because it only takes a handful of positive experiences to get your foot in the door.

And don't even listen to those guys who tell you that your angle will get in the way of your eventual serious career. Those people don't know what they're talking about. I put up with three solid years of pretend Internet talk from guys who were really concerned that I might get something they thought belonged to them with no effort attached. Besides if you're in high school you have plenty of time to revamp the image of your early career, even if someone else had a mistaken notion about what you were really all about. Now I mostly play with guys who have never heard about my speed drumming days, or people I maybe have no business ocassionally playing with, who are willing to give me a look because they know they've heard of me somewhere but just can't put their finger on it.

Again, I seriously think that the biggest part of succeeding with music projects when you're young revolves around being able to explain yourself properly by using media carefully and mostly not caring what the sit around lecturing guys think. Most times they lecture because they're not playing. Don't believe me? Check out any forum on the Internet. Five out of the 6 most opinionated people on any given forum are posting like mad at times when most people are playing gigs.

My 2c
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Senior Member
I don't know the circumstances surrounding the break up of your other 4 projects but if this scenario looks familiar, there are some things you can try:

Potential Band Mate #1: "Hey, I hear you play drums. I play lead guitar. I've been thinking about forming a band. What do you think"?
You: "Good idea. I have some experience playing with other musicians".
Potential Band Mate #2: "I play Bass. You'll need that".
You: "If you're any good, you're on board".
Potential Band Mate #3: "I'm a vocalist and can play Rhythm guitar".
You: "Well I guess we can get started then. Now, what's our plan"?
Potential Band Mates 1,2 and 3: "??????. What's a plan"?

You get my drift. Perhaps you were more dedicated than the previous folks you played with and didn't discover that until after the fact. Frankly, I don't see how high school students could find the time to keep up their GPA, play sports, work a part-time job, spend any time with a "signifigant other" if that was in the picture AND find time to rehearse/jam/gig. I couldn't do it as I am particularly fond of sleep.

I would ask myself "Where do I really want to go with my music"? Then find like minded band mates. Look outside your school to slightly older musicians. Register with the following WebSites (they'r both free). Good Luck! (Even though this is UK, you can select USA when you get to the Home Page) (I think it's dotcom. Just put BandMix in your browser and see what comes up.)


Platinum Member
don't worry too much about bands you're in breaking up. that happens all the time. i've been in a whole bunch of bands and they've all broken up for all kinds of reasons. (the last one i was in had a particularly ugly breakup, worse than breaking up with a girlfriend!) i'm in a new band now and everything seems to be going great, but it will probably also succumb someday. the main thing is to keep going. in a way it's good you've been in so many (failed) bands because now you know a lot of ex-members who you could potentially get together with to form other bands.
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Silver Member
Frankly, I don't see how high school students could find the time to keep up their GPA, play sports, work a part-time job, spend any time with a "signifigant other" if that was in the picture AND find time to rehearse/jam/gig. I couldn't do it as I am particularly fond of sleep.
I find this amusing... I didn't care about my grades, didn't play sports and couldn't keep a steady gf due to my rehearsal schedule (the one girl I actually dated for more than 3 months was also a bandmate...). Yup, I had my priorities straight!

While in high school, I played with 3 "original" bands. 2 of which did 2 albums each, the third an e.p. Local and regional gigs, sold a bunch of tapes, had fans that weren't friends. One ended up signing a deal with an indie label just out of school, didn't last too much longer than that. Jimmy quit and Jody got married.

I also played with the school's Concert and Jazz bands, a local marching band, did monthly gig with a country band, picked up some wedding gigs and did an album with a local singer, taught a handful of students and worked for a non-profit promoting the arts, (I focused on music), in our community.

But if I compare all that to the number of times I worked on projects that never went anywhere or did anything, it would probably pale in comparison.

Be patient when trying to find "the band" or "the project", but actively put yourself out there in as many different settings as you can to help develop the definition of what you are being patient for.

PS - I don't recommend dating band mates. Especially when the other 2 guys in the band have the hots for her too! [edit] - even more so when the band is only formed to get to know her better...


PS - I don't recommend dating band mates. Especially when the other 2 guys in the band have the hots for her too! [edit] - even more so when the band is only formed to get to know her better...
Brilliant Jer....LMAO

GuelphPercussionist, Matt and others gave you some very good advice, run with it. Bands come and go, they are very relationship oriented, sometimes like being married to multiple people. If you get into one that lasts for years you'll be one of the few. Take Matt's advice and get yourself out there, take the initiative and form your own group instead of waiting for some one to ask you. Find players who are better than you and play with them as much as you can.


Junior Member
Thanks guys, I am in my school symphonic and Jazz band, but we're in Canada, so its not nearly as awesome as the states :(. I'm not looking as drumming for a career, but I just get frustrated when my project never really get past a couple of songs on myspace. Oh well, I'm going to take a break and just focuse on jazz and solo playing. Thanks again.