THIS PAGE IS DEDICATED TO PROVIDING INFORMATION ABOUT BANDS AND MUSIC THAT I WISH SOMEONE HAD SHARED WITH ME BEFORE AND ALONG THE WAY AS A MUSICIAN. It is definitely important to try things out and to make mistakes. We can all learn from our mistakes for sure. But, maybe this information can make the journey just a little bit easier for you. 


basic folk music theory

Hey here is your first basic lesson in figuring out the scales in music. The music that we play generally has basic chord changes because the songs we play are mostly in the keys of A, Am, C, D, Dm, E, Em, G. Average male singers usually find it easiest to sing in the keys of C and G, where as females are usually comfortable singing in D and A. 

The scales are based on > Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do 

The 7 notes of the scale determines the scale you are singing/playing in: The following are the major keys (C, D, E, F, G, A, B). There are of course other keys based on flats and Sharps (C#, D# etc.) The number of flats and sharps in the scale helps determine the key. 

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do 

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  octave 

C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C 

D  E  F# G  A  B  C# D 

E  F# G# A  B  C# D# E 

F  G  A  Bb C  D  E  F 

G  A  B  C  D  E  F# G 

A  B  C# D  E  F# G# A 

B  C# D# E  F# G# A# B 

In order for the musicians to make up chords for their stringed instrument, they form structures that include the 1 (do), 3 (me), and 5 (sol) notes. So, 

C chord would include C, E, and G notes (do, me and sol)

D chord would include D, F#, and A notes 

E Chord would include E, G#, and B notes 

We mostly play in Major keys or Minor keys (I’ll help you figure out minor keys another time) 

A major key has lots for chords, but for this type of music we generally only play the 3 major chords and the relative minor (6th) chord associated with that particular key. 

You can figure out what chords someone would play in a particular key by looking at the scales above. The 3 major chords can be figured out by looking at the 1 (do), 4 (fa) and 5 (Sol) of the above scales. 

For instance: the guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass etc, would play the following 3 major chords for the following 3 keys: 

To play in the Key of C play the following major chords – C chord (1), F Chord (4), and G chord (5) 

To play in the Key of D play the following major chords - D chord (1), G Chord (4), and A chord (5) 

To play in the Key of G play the following major chords - G chord (1), C Chord (4), and D chord (5) 

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do 

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  octave 

C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C 

D  E  F# G  A  B  C# D 

G  A  B  C  D  E  F# G 

Each of the keys also has an associated minor chord. The minor chord is figured out by looking at the 6 on the scale.

See above:

Key of C plays, - Am,

Key of D plays – Bm

Key of G plays – Em  

Music theory is probably easiest to figure out on a piano or keyboard. The white keys (no flats or sharps - represents the Cmajor scale - Jamming on the piano is easiest in Cmajor. You can play white keys all day and it will sound good with another musician playing in the key of C major. The black keys are sharps and flats and represent the Gflat pentatonic (for another day)

Things to think about when making a setlist


How I make up the set lists. The first thing that I do is create a master song list. I break that song list up into 2 lists, 1) a list of all the tunes by their key and 2) a list by feel. 

The key is extremely important, especially if you have a claw hammer banjo player or someone who has to switch instruments.  Claw hammer banjo players have to retune for many tunes in different keys. So, when you have a claw hammer banjo player, or band members that have to switch instruments, the number one priority is to make it as easy on them as possible. Everything else is second to this. Second priority is to mix up the keys as much as possible for the audience. 

Claw hammer is easiest to tune from D to A 
G tunes before C tunes is nice 
If you have to tune up from D – E using a capo and a spike, then up to F from there, try to finish the D tunes with the  E tunes followed F tunes. 
Em tunes are the same as G tunes for claw hammer 
Re-tuning for Am tunes is easiest when before A tunes, it’s easiest to tune from Am into A. 

Once the key is well under control, switch over to the tempo of the song. I choose from the following topics. 

Fast instrumental Tunes 
Moderate instrumental Tunes 
Moderate tunes with a groove 
Fast tunes with lyrics 
Rowdy fast tunes with lyrics 
Moderate tunes with lyrics 
Pretty tunes with lyrics (pretty singing) 
Moderate banjo songs with a groove 
Fast bluegrassy tunes 
Moderately fast “newgrass” tunes 
Medium Country Swing Songs 
Slow Folky songs 
Slow old time/country ballads 
Moderately fast swing blues 

I try to mix it up between the different types of beats so that we are not playing several tunes with the same beat/tempo/feel in a row. All this depends on the type of gig that we play as to how many I’m comfortable stringing together. 
I try to consider the type of audience for set, what are they likely to enjoy hearing. 
The final piece of the puzzle is trying to figure out who is singing the song. I try to mix up the singers and songs that have harmony or rowdy vocals and I try not to have too many instrumentals together. I try to look at the type of singing that is happening. Is it just one singer? Is it 2 singers? Three, four, five, 6 singers? What combination of singers is it? 
Besides that, there are little adjustments that I make. Of course, I try to pick the proper number of songs for the amount of time that we are playing as well.



This AGREEMENT was made on DATE between BAND NAME and THE OTHER FOLKS. 

Services To Be Performed: THE BAND NAME agrees to perform the following services at the EVENT. THE Band name will play traditional old time music and classic country for flat footing, 2-steps, waltzes, and western swing dancing as well as background entertainment from TIME BEGIN TO TIME END (BREAKS INCLUDED). CD music will be played through the sound system during breaks. 

TIME FOR PERFORMANCE: THE Band name agree to complete the performance of these services on DATE OF PERFORMANCE. 

PAYMENT: In consideration of THE BAND NAME performance of these services, THE OTHER FOLKS agree to pay as follows: One check or cash for AMOUNT. A check should be written out to BILL RICHARDSON. 

INVOICES: BAND LEADER NAME will submit an invoice for all services performed. 

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR: The parties intend THE BAND NAME to be an independent contractor in the performance of these services. Contractor shall have the right to control and determine the method and means of performing the above services; THE OTHER FOLKS shall not have the right to control or determine such method or means, unless such is deemed entirely inappropriate. 

EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: THE BAND NAME at their own expense, will provide all equipment, tools, and supplies necessary to perform the above services, and will be responsible for all other expenses required for the performance of those services. 

 (Band Leader): 


BGSA representative: 



List of Places to play 


The Appleseed 


The backroom at the mill 



Barley House 

True brew barista 

Purple pit jazz club 


Village Trestle 


Country spirit 


Milly’s tavern 

Stage door Café 





J’s Tavern 

Pasta Loft 

Memphis bbq and blues 

Tiebreakers, Hampshire Hills 


Studio 99 

New Boston 

Mollys Tavern 

New Market 

The stone church 


Harlow’s pub 

Farmer’s Markets 

New Boston 


Concert Series 

Amherst concert series 

Milford concert series 

New Boston concert series 

Henniker concert series 



I have gone through their blogs and gleaned what I feel are key points. I'm starting with this one. 


10 Essential Qualities of Great Band Leadership 

Posted by Christiana Usenza on Jun 30, 2014 05:32 PM 

A band is a unique and complex relationship, and with so many different personalities and goals among band members, things can sometimes get tricky. Some people are direct, some are passive, some are more organized than others. "Musicians are sensitive and odd creatures," says songwriter/guitarist Paul Hansen of indie folk band The Grownup Noise. "So inevitably, it will be a dysfunctional, but hopefully loving, family." 

When you're creating, performing, traveling and practicing with the same people for hours on end, there's no question that leadership within the band is essential to get everyone on the same page, manage expectations and create camaraderie. "There’s no ambition without leadership," says Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Jeff Tobias. "Bands that function as total democracies can frequently be sluggish and often unsatisfying. In any case, someone needs to be steering the ship." 

Leadership can come in various forms. Some have one appointed leader, whereas others have many leaders, acting more democratically. “If it's a benevolent dictatorship where one person is in charge but they make it engaging and fun, that can be great," explains Jeff. "If the band has more of a collaborative dynamic, then the leadership role can rotate when appropriate – for example, one person can lead on booking, the other person can lead on artwork, etc." 

No matter what your band's unique culture is, these 10 essential leadership qualities will help you navigate just about any situation you encounter with your bandmates. 

1. Professionalism 

Musicians are sometimes stereotyped as partiers or just downright unprofessional people, but any band with aspirations of making it big knows just how important it is to prove that wrong. As we all know, music is an incredibly challenging career that requires a ton of knowledge, years of practice, discipline, creativity and organization. The hard work behind it all can be taken for granted. One way to set the precedent for being respected and get the results you want is to maintain high standards of professionalism. 

This includes scheduling rehearsals and shows in advance, being on time, being totally prepared for rehearsals, promoting your shows in advance replying to emails and phone calls in a timely fashion. Professionalism helps present the band in a positive light to the outside world while also setting an example for internal expectations. 

Someone might be a brilliant songwriter and have lots of great ideas, but a good band member becomes an amazing band member if he or she is also on time, respectful, organized and prepared. 

2. Patience 

It's going to take a lot of time to get to where you want your group to be, so enjoy the journey. If you're too eager, you might shoot yourself in the foot. Gather the right people for the genre and instrumentation you're looking for, and then practice, practice, practice before performing or recording. Make sure band members are comfortable with the material, and if they need extra practice, schedule time for it before booking your first gig or studio session. The right things will line up if you're patient, positive and humble. 

3. Respectfulness 

Just like in a relationship, each person’s expectations and needs should be discussed. Remember that each musician brings his or her own expertise, talents, ideas, personal goals and passions, so let that flourish. If someone feels taken for granted, unappreciated or overworked, resentment might build up and affect the music and performances. On the other hand, if members feel valued and appreciated as individuals, they will be amped up to bring positive energy and ideas to the group. 

"If someone's going to grab the reins, they should appreciate the support of other musicians and behave accordingly," Jeff Tobias says. "A good bandleader should inspire confidence and interest in the other musicians, making their time and efforts feel worthwhile.” 

When someone does something well, give positive feedback – it'll motivate them to perform at their absolute best more often. 

4. An Open Mind 

The creative process is a vulnerable experience. When you're working as a group to create new material or learn new songs, there will inevitably be moments of imperfection. Since learning styles and creative vision will vary from person to person, it's important to stay open-minded throughout the whole process. Have a brainstorm session, let the creative juices flow, and allow people to contribute and play around with ideas. This will happen more freely if the leaders create a supportive atmosphere. When the leader(s) make final decisions, band members are more likely to support it they were able to contribute their own creativity in the process. 

5. Big Picture View 

Even though many aspects of a band can change and develop over time, it's good to at least have a sense of what you're creating and the direction it's heading. This requires some preparation and thought ahead of time. It's important to be able to see the big picture as well as all the little details. Ultimately, it's up to the leader(s) to visualize, communicate the concepts and determine what needs to be done to materialize that vision. 

6. Ability to Delegate 

Sometimes, it's just too much responsibility for one person to handle all the details. "In my own experience, it seems best to have two leaders in the band," says Paul Hansen. "That way, the one leader won’t be overwhelmed and alone, but also there won’t be too many cooks in the kitchen." 

If you have too much on your plate, delegate – and be clear about it. No one wants to be the one loading all the equipment at the end of the show while the others socialize, or the one marketing the band while others aren't taking it seriously. If multiple members of the band have responsibilities beyond learning their parts, it'll become more equal and enjoyable for everyone. 

7. Strong Communication 

It's super helpful for the other band members if the leader(s) express their ideas, goals and vision. This can be anything from genre to frequency of gigs to long-term vision. It's also important to lay down the logistical expectations: everyone coming prepared to practices, being on time, making their availability known so you can schedule gigs, etc. 

"The most high-functioning bands that I've been in benefited from well-defined roles and reasonable expectations," Jeff adds. It's up to the leader(s) to set expectations and to hold the band members accountable for it. Even if you're the passive type, you'll learn fast that the best thing to do is be direct and open when something is bothering you. Otherwise, it may spill into other aspects of the band and affect the enjoyment of collaborating and making music. Although it may feel a little awkward, it's perfectly okay to call someone out if he or she is not living up to the band’s expectations. No one wants to put up with that person who never practices and slows the rest of the group down, so it'll actually ease the tension in the long run. 

8. Decisiveness 

Good bandleaders have to be able to think quickly and be confident in their decisions. For example, if it turns out that there's only time for one more song instead of two at your show, everyone in the band should automatically know who will choose the final song. Discussing it for several minutes on stage just looks unprofessional, and you lose valuable playing time in the process. 

9. Self-Awareness 

It's okay to give guidance, but you also need to give people some control. A strong leader is able to catch himself/herself before micromanagement rears its head. Even if you don't fully agree with your bandmates' opinions, at least support them by acknowledging that their opinions matter so they don't feel like just a cog in the machine. They'll be more invested in the long run. Self-awareness means treating your band members, engineers, publicist, techs, venue staff (and pretty much anyone you're working/collaborating with) as you'd like to be treated if the roles were reversed. Really, it's a pretty good life rule. 

10. Motivator 

You'll get 100% from your bandmates if everyone is having fun and feels motivated. Recognize that your band members are carving out time in their busy lives to learn the songs – possibly for not a whole lot of money – when they could be doing other things. Make it an enjoyable and stimulating experience for everyone involved.

Forming a band that works 

Over the past 20 years, having played with and/or sat in with, or recorded over 20 bands, I have learned a few things that may be helpful for people looking to start a band. So, for this particular essay, I will be focusing on what I believe are key components of creating a “successful” band. 

First, “success” depends on what your goals are. 

Let’s start there. It may seem counter intuitive to some of you to think of creating goals that relate to “just playing music in a band”, but I have found that one of the things that brings musicians together is that they do have at least one common goal, to play music with other people. For some musicians that might be enough, at least for a while, and that maybe enough for some folks, a short spurt playing with some other folks then move on. I have found that approach to be mostly unsatisfying. 

So, back to setting goals. 

First common goal for people seeking to play in a band – play music with other people – believe it or not, for various reasons, there are actually many musicians who don’t actually want to dedicate their time to playing with other people. 

Here is an example: the singer songwriter who is dedicated to their own art. It takes a great deal of time and focus to write, record and perform your own songs. Some musicians would prefer to dedicate their time, which often is limited, especially, for non-full time musicians, to their craft, rather than playing with other folks (not that these folks can’t or don’t enjoy the occasional jam session). If you are trying to be successful as a singer songwriter, but you want to have back up musicians, that means you have to find people who want to dedicate their musicianship to your art. We can talk more about that later. 

How do I find other people to play music with? 

I think that it depends on goals. Let’s start with setting goals. 

We have already determined that the first goal is to play music with other people. 

I think that the first question I would ask myself is: 

Is the ultimate goal for me to “play out”? 

If so, what does playing out mean to you? What types of places do you want to play? 

Do you want to play in bars? Restaurants? Do you want to play to dancers? Do you want to play to a listening audience? House concerts? Small/Big audiences? Gazebos? Farmer’s markets? Weddings? Arenas? All of the above and more? 

Figuring this out will help determine a lot about how you might want to approach things. 

Rather than go through my musical experiences and describe my approach. I found this amazing information from: 

Honestly, I don’t think that I could have written this any better or hit any greater lessons than what they describe in this blog. I think that the best thing that I can do is to break it up into separate sections within this page. Anyway, the information that they have provided is right on.

How to Start a Band: The Ultimate Guide 

Posted by Sonicbids Staff on Sep 14, 2016 07:00 AM 

You've honed your skills, and you're at the point where you want to start gigging with a band. Joining a band is the easiest way to hit the ground running with the opportunity to perform in front of a ready-made fanbase. Yet, it may be difficult to find a group of like-minded individuals playing the music you enjoy. So does it make sense to try to join an existing band, or should you just form a band of your own? Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each to help you decide. 

Joining a band: the pros 

Joining a band has its benefits. When you join a band, you may get to work with musicians you admire. You could connect with seasoned professionals that inspire you to become better at your craft. Not to mention that joining an established band increases the chances that you'll be gigging sooner and regularly and perfecting your stage performance skills. They're more likely to have developed long-term relationships with booking agents and venue owners that enable them to land better gigs. 

Joining a band: the cons 

Joining a band, however, means you cannot pick your bandmates and you'll have limited creative control. You're walking into a situation where the band members have a history and may have formed a tight clique. Your task is to learn how to fit in. You could wind up with really cool bandmates that begin to feel like family, but if they have polarizing personalities and a myriad of personal issues instead, you must deal with it or quit. As a new member, it's unlikely that you'll have significant input in the song selection, rehearsal process, or rehearsal and performance schedule. If you decide the band is not a good fit, though, you can always resign and search for another one. 

Forming a band: the pros 

If you want more creative control and assurance that you'll be playing music you enjoy in venues you prefer, forming a band may be the best way to go. Recruiting your own members allows you to select players with the skill set you desire and individuals you believe you'll have chemistry with. As the band's founder, you control the creative direction. You can dictate the size of the band, song selection, image, target venues, and rehearsal and performance schedule. 

Forming a band: the cons 

As the founding member, you'll have to manage the responsibilities of the band until you delegate them to others. This means you may have to shoulder the initial startup costs and function as the band's manager, booking agent, and promoter. This includes finding and hiring talent as needed, securing gigs, promoting performances, and managing the personalities in the band. Once you book a gig, you'll be responsible for ensuring the band fulfills its contractual obligations. You will be considered the bandleader by default and must assign these tasks to others if you do not want the authority. Even in the most toxic situations, you may be slow to replace members or disband because you've made such a large personal investment. 

Before making your decision, explore the bands in your area and determine what you want from the experience. Take every opportunity to network with local musicians, schedule a few auditions, observe the dynamics of each band, and then weigh your options. If you cannot find a band you like or feel there's a void in the local music scene that you'd like to fill, take the reigns and form a band of your own.

5 disastrous mistakes that every novice band makes 

Having a band is an amazing experience and I’m sure you'll have a lot of fun playing, hanging out with your bandmates, and traveling to places you’ve never been before. But before you get all excited, you need to understand that you'll be facing many challenges on your way towards becoming a quality band. A lot of bands make terrible mistakes right at the beginning, not knowing that these will backfire when they least expect it. 

Music is art, but a band is an "organization" that consists of several people, and besides new ideas and creativity, you need to learn how to cooperate together and organize yourselves so you can work on your music and create something truly unique. Each of these things depends on the other, and you'll need to pay attention to them in order to succeed. Here are some of the worst mistakes novice bands can make, and why you need to avoid them. 

1. Choosing band members solely on their musical skills 

When putting together a new band, finding band members is one of the first things you'll have to do. This is where a lot of people make the most common mistake. They set the wrong criteria for choosing members. Most people set musical skills as the first and only criteria on which they base their decisions to include someone in their band – but this is wrong. 

Yes, technical skills are important, and having a schooled musician is also good, but these things don’t make someone a perfect fit for your band. It’s important that he or she is creative, innovative, responsible, and that you can communicate both on a musical level and as people. 

2. Not having a clear idea of the music you're going to play 

Yes, creative freedom is very important, but too much freedom can be just as bad as having none. You and your band members must be on the same page when it comes to what music you’re going to play. Not too strict, but just enough so that your music achieves a recognizable shape on which you can build. 

3. Not having a bandleader 

Like it or not, somebody needs to be the one who takes initiative and inspires others to keep moving forward. If you don’t have a leader in your band, people will forget what their "obligations" are and stop contributing to the band. 

There's always that one guy who books gigs, talks with promoters, and establishes connections with fans. When I say "bandleader," I don’t mean your stereotypical lead-singer frontman, but a leader who inspires others to give it their best. 

4. Thinking social media pages pass for an official website 

There are many ways of promoting your band online, and social media sites are often some of the first that come to mind. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that social platforms can replace your band’s official website. Having your own website gives you full control over your content, branding, monetization, and makes you look much more professional. 

There are plenty of free resources that will guide you through the process of creating your own website step by step. You can even include an online shop with your band’s merchandise, which can be an additional source of income. 

5. Expecting overnight success 

No matter what your motives are for starting a new band, it’s important not to get caught up in the hype and expect to achieve your goals overnight. It takes a lot of time and hard work to create good material; practice it to perfection and invest money in recording it. 

If your expectations are high from the very beginning and things don’t go as well as you'd hoped, you and your band members may lose motivation and simply stop working. If you're tight on cash, you can try picking up any of these 15 awesome side jobs for musicians to make some money on the side while you continue working towards your band's goals.

What to post online to find great band members 

Posted by Sonicbids Staff on Sep 14, 2016 07:00 AM 

A clear explanation of what you're looking for is paramount, and it's easy to forget some of the details you should include to really convey the ideal member. Follow this guide to shape or double-check your listing to find the right bandmates. 

1. What kind of sound are you going for? 

Describe your sound the best you can, but also include MP3s or links for examples. If you're open to directional shifts, mention it. You don't want to shut out potentially great applicants with strict limits about your style if you're actually flexible about it. 

2. What level of commitment are you expecting? 

How many times does your band rehearse each week or month? How regularly do you book (or hope to book) shows? Are you planning on touring? You should consider not only the upfront investments in time, but also the long run. If you're all in it for the long haul, you should relate to potential members that they should be, too. 

3. What skill level is required? 

Some bands are open to fledgling musicians, while others are on a level where someone just starting out wouldn't be able to keep up. Others fall somewhere in the middle where an average skill set is fine. Especially if you're a group on either extreme, make the general ability you'll need from a new member clear. 

4. Where does the band stand career wise? 

Include details about the band's releases, tours, and anything else that gives insight into your history. Some people only want to join a brand-new band, while others are happy to fall in line with one that's already established. 

5. Where is the band headed? 

What are the band's goals? Recording? Touring? Or are you all going with the flow, just having fun and letting things happen as they may? Define what's ahead for the band as clearly as you can to be sure you attract applicants who will be enthusiastically on board. 

Ready to find your next musical partner? Start searching now, or log in to post your own band opening!