Backing tracks, loopers, youtube videos... They’re great, but there’s nothing like playing with other musicians. Whether you want to form a band, collaborate on original songs or just jam.
Playing with other musicians is extremely satisfying and fun. But it's also a great way to become a better musician. This site is all about developing skills that help you do things like play guitar by ear, improvise, figure out songs by ear, write songs and play solos. What you could call your 'inner' music skills. Playing with other people will often help you develop those skills faster, which is why I always encourage musicians to play with others as much as possible.
However, it can feel a bit daunting to find musicians, jam buddies or band members in your area. You might think ‘I don’t know any musicians’ or ‘I’m not good enough’.
Don't fret. There are always bands and musicians of all levels looking for someone to jam or collaborate with near you. All you have to do is find them! So, here are 24 ways to find musicians to play with or find a band to join in your area!
Section 1: Finding Musicians In ‘Real Life’
1. Put up an ad or notice at your local music store
It works. Incredibly, U2 was formed after drummer Larry Mullen Jr. put up a notice... When writing a notice, be sure to be clear about what you're looking for (drummer, bass player...) and name a few genres or bands you like.
2. Check your local rehearsal rooms
Rehearsal spaces often have a wall plastered with musicians wanted ads of bands looking to find band members. From Red Hot Chili Peppers cover bands to jazz combos looking to play standards. You can find pretty much anything, so be sure to check this out if you want to join a band.
3. Take group music lessons
Whether it’s band lessons at a music school, a music production course or group guitar lessons. Group lessons are a great way to get to know musicians who share your interests and are working on the same things you are.
4. Go to open mic nights and jam sessions
You don’t even have to play. Just mingle and talk to other music enthusiasts. It'll come up naturally that you're looking to play with others more. You might run into a future band mate this way or meet someone who can introduce you to the right people.
5. Ask your guitar or music teacher
Teachers love to see that students are excited about making music, so they'll be happy to help. They might have a student or know someone else who would make a good jam buddy for you. They might even be up for organising a ‘jam night’ with other students.
6. Get your oldest friends together
Chances are they'll be up for it and it'll be loads of fun. Step up to lead vocal or lead guitar if necessary.
Section 2: Finding Musicians Online
There are also a whole bunch of ways you can find musicians without even leaving your house. Or even get out of bed! It's though though to figure out which apps or sites have active users close to where you live. So I contact as many apps as I could to figure out where their users were mostly located and what sets their app apart. So here's a round-up of the available options to find musicians online.
Get the word out on Facebook. The average post is seen a couple hundred times. And all those people have hundreds of (facebook) friends who might be a good fit. You can also look for local musician groups and see if anyone there’s interested there.
It might be a hit or miss, but many people find jam buddies or band members through Craigslist. So it might be worth checking out! Over 95% of its users are based in North-America, so for the rest of the world this most likely isn't a great option. But your country most likely has its own 'market place' site that you can check for musician ads.
9. Hendrix (US)
Hendrix has been around for a couple of years, but relaunched in late 2023 with a new design. Their philosophy is to be the 'LinkedIn for musicians' and to focus on quality. In the founder's words: "Quality app + quality musicians = quality connections." Their matching system gives preference to users who are more active and post higher quality content. They also have very few 'ghost' profiles: people who signup but never use the app, with 95% of musicians on the site are actively looking for collaborators.
Creating a profile is a quick way to establish an online presence as a musician. You can upload songs, add YouTube videos, and even add a musical resume. You can connect with local musicians and stay up-to-date with the music scene in your local community. Hendrix is designed to be a local-first social network, focused on making it easy to find collaborators near you. The site has its largest communities of users in New York, California, and Texas, though there are growing communities in musical cities all across the US. You can explore users by state here.
Vampr is one of the bigger apps to find musicians on this list. They launched in 2016 and grew a sizeable user base quickly.
The app offers 50 categories you can tag yourself with or search through. Think hip-hop programmer looking for a classically-trained trombonist. The app has a clean design and offers swipe discovery (yes, like Tinder), suggesting potential collaborators based on your search preferences and of course your taste in music. Most of their user base is in North America.
Vampr leans towards the more serious musician, especially since they were acquired in early 2023, by Jaxsta, a music credit database. They have additional services related to music distribution, publishing and marketing etc., all of which won’t be relevant to amateur players, but might be of interest to (semi)professional musicians. In short, they’ve transformed from being a ‘find musicians app’ to a suite of services for musicians.
11. Find A Musician
Find A Musician has been around since 2006. The site has a good presence in the US, Canada and Australia, but most users are based in the UK, with 1500 people signing up each month there.
The team running the site prides itself on providing help quickly to less tech-savvy users or anyone else who can use some help setting up a profile. The team also wants to keep the site as safe possible for their members and reads all new member profiles to check for possibly malicious profiles. Inactive members are also removed after a few months, to keep the search results fresh and increase the chance that you get a reply when you get in touch with someone. A cool extra is that they share profiles on their Facebook and Twitter account for increased exposure (only if you opt-in).
Founded in 2003, Musofinder is one of the longest-running sites on this list. The site has 35.000 users all over the world, as far and wide as Japan, Australia and Africa. Most users however (27.000) are based in the UK, though currently most new sign ups are based in the US.
The site is focused toward more experienced musicians who want to find people to work with (i.e. bands, other players, producers or composers). Musofinder has a map based search, with all kinds of filters you can use to narrow down your search. For bands, there's an auditions page, making it easier to advertise auditions. On your profile you can link Soundcloud and YouTube videos, to give a sense of what kind of player you are. Other features include the ability to share Facebook posts, private messaging, friends and followers.
Bandmix is perhaps the largest network of online musician classifieds with dedicated sites for the US, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, Australia and Japan. Another solid option to look into.
14. Community section of Gumtree (UK)
Gumtree is a UK classified ads site, but has a section focused on bands and musicians. A few thousand ads of musicians either looking for a band or band member are posted here each month.
15. JoinMyBand.co.uk (UK)
If you live in the United Kingdom, you should definitely check out JoinMyBand. Heard a bunch of good stories about this one.
16. Musicians Connect (US)
Musicians Connect is a site ‘by musicians for musicians’. Founded in 2014, they pride themselves on not being run by a big corporation, giving them the freedom to focus entirely on making their musician members happy and helping them make connections. The site is ad supported in order to keep the core functionality of the site free.
Currently, Musicians Connect is only available to musicians in the US. They have members in all 50 states but a stronger presence currently in the eastern half of the country, with standout states including Florida, New York, New Jersey & Georgia, but are expanding every day all over the country.
The number users with a visible profile currently (late 2023) fluctuates between around 10-15K a month. The site has quality controls in place to help minimize low-quality posts that do not provide enough details about the band or musician.
17. Mukken (Europe)
Mukken might be the only platform in Europe with both a mobile app and a web dashboard. Founded in Germany, they started out by focusing on German speaking countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland, though they plan to open their doors for the UK and US as well. Mukken is available in German and English.
Mukken says their main goals to make it easier to for musicians, bands and producers to connect. For that reason, they don’t have a swipe functionality, friend requests or large advertising banners. After registration you're able to get in touch directly by sending a message to any profile you like. There is also a smart algorithm, which helps you to find new matches based on your search.
Mukken have over 8000 active monthly users and are growing quickly with 80-120 new musicians signing up every day.
Bandit is a brand new app, having launched in the summer of 2023. The apps’ goal is to provide a simple, intuitive and modern platform for musicians wanting to connect with other musicians in their area. Whereas other apps focus on more established musicians, Bandit embraces musicians of all levels. There’s no swiping like Tinder, so you can browse musicians around you and connect when you are ready. Finally, Bandit focusses on having a good user experience, being user friendly and easy to set up. I tried it out and it took less than a minute to create a profile and do a quick search in my area. This is a young app with not a lot of users yet, but let’s keep an eye on how it develops!
BandFriend is an app focused on finding musicians with your taste and interests. It was created by a team of app-developers for hire that were unhappy with the mobile options available at the time. And it shows. The app looks and feels great. You can search by music style, instrument and location, but you can also use the 'best match' function.
When you find someone, you can get in touch easily using the in-app chat function, which is a real nice touch. It seems their main user base is in the US, so if that's where you're based this might be interesting option to check out.
20. Bedroom Bands Subreddit (Online)
The BedroomBands subreddit was created to bring together musicians who are writing and recording music in their bedrooms. (A subreddit is like a mini-forum, if you've never been on Reddit by the way.) The subreddit is completely focused on online collaboration. So if you're working on a track but need an upright bass player, singer or tuba player, you can post here to find musicians who are interested in collaborating. Of course, you can also check if there are any projects you'd like to join, or create a post with the [LFG] tag (meaning 'Looking for a group).
The subreddit was created in the first couple of days of 2018 and grew to 6000 users in no time. As of 2023, the subreddit has over 31.000 subscribers. So, if you're looking to collaborate online, this is definitely worth checking out! (Also, check out the tips in this post.)
22. Music Match (Online)
Another option if you want to collaborate online is Music Match. How it works: any user can upload a musical idea to Much Match and other musicians can then add their own ideas to it. So this app is exploring a new way to compose music online. Music Match is pretty new (as of mid 2020), and currently has 1000 users. I haven’t tried it yet myself, but it seems like a cool option to try if you want to develop your creativity and songwriting skills.
Drooble calls itself a social network for musicians. Their focus is on independent musicians and share their music, collaborate and give and receive feedback. As opposed to most of the apps on this list, Drooble is more suitable if you're looking for more experienced musicians. More than half of their 75,000 users are based in the US. Next on the list are the UK, Australia, followed by a number of countries in Europe.
Meetup.com helps you find likeminded individuals in your area. 'Meetups' are organised for people interested in topics such as guitar, songwriting, and most interesting to us, musicians. As you can see there are meetups for musicians all over the world, so if you're looking to get to know some musicians in a more casual setting, you might want to check this out.
Nervous about joining a band or playing together?
As we wrap up, I want to tackle one more thing. It’s completely normal to find the idea of playing with other people a bit intimidating. But even though it’s a little scary, I’d encourage you to go out and play with people nonetheless! It’s not only one of the best ways to develop as a musician, but also simply a lot of fun. Before you know it, you’ll be rehearsing weekly, or if that's your ambition, even releasing your music to the world! (Quick tip: I use Distrokid for this myself, check out the Distrokid app.)
Finally, I'd love to hear about any experiences you have with these apps and if you have any other suggestions for finding jam buddies or band members. Feel free to send me a message with your thoughts!