How to find musicians to play with(2020 update)
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 20 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! So here's a round-up of the available options to find musicians online.
Note: I am not associated with any of these sites or apps in any way. Just wanted to give an overview of the options!
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!
9. Jamseek (London)
Jamseek is focused on beginners or hobbyists learning music, guitar and other instruments who are looking to find musicians to jam with, have fun and learn. This sets them apart from other platforms like join-my-band or bandmix that include (semi)-professional groups looking for band members.
Close to half of all their users are based in London (about 2000, and growing fast), so if you're based in London you can be sure there are plenty of musicians around that actually use the app and will reply to your messages. If you live outside London, there are better options at the moment. I checked out the app, which has a pretty neat map that makes it easy to see who’s around you. You can also use the search function that allows you to filter by instrument, genre, age and distance.
Flint was created by two musicians with a single goal: help you find musicians. It is set up like a dating app where both sides need to say yes, after which you can send messages, share images and upload music. What's cool is that each profile has a play button, so you can immediately listen to someone's music. As far as I could tell, there's no way to filter by location, so this app might be more suited for online collaboration than finding musicians near you. That said, 80% of their users are based in the US, mostly in San Diego, which is where the Flint team is based.
11. Hendrix (US)
Built in Brooklyn, most Hendrix users are based in New York City, though there are growing communities in musical cities all across the US. Their focus is 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.
Hendrix recently added a classifieds section. They're working an a 2.0 version of the platform, which focuses on what happens after you make a connection. That means more robust ways to share content music, audio and videos, and more focus on community (think Reddit for musicians). Hendrix 2.0 is planned to launch in early 2020.
AMY’s mission is to help musicians in absolutely all their needs. From finding band members, to studios, stores, luthiers, roadies, venues, or even selling tickets to a concert. They’re developing both for web and mobile in their quest of creating the ultimate tool for musicians.
The last numbers I have, are that AMY had grown an impressive user base of over 63,000 by 2018, but that number might've grown a lot by now. They’re based in Brazil, which is where they have the largest part of their user base, but they also have communities in the US, Europe and the rest of Latin America.
So, though AMY isn’t focused solely on finding musicians, it still might be a interesting option for you. Just enter where you live on their homepage and you’ll see if there are any users around!
Musolist has been around since 2003, making it (one of the) longest running musicians classifieds sites on the net. They have a large worldwide community of over 250,000 users, which is strongest in Australia, UK and the USA.
In addition to finding musicians, they're also moving towards helping musicians showcase their careers. Part of that is Musolist Radio, a daily commute podcast where host Nick plays music that was uploaded to Musolist. So, a cool opportunity there to get your music heard! Their goal is to attract more people to listen to great "unsigned" bands and musicians by offering it in a familiar format. As for other plans, Musolist will also be releasing a mobile app soon!
One of the newer apps to find musicians is Vampr. It 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. About 40% of their users are based in the US at the moment, though they have 10.000 daily active users in 198 countries and counting.
Bandmix is perhaps the largest network of online musician classifieds with dedicated sites for the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, France and Spain. Another solid option to look into.
16. 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.
17. 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! They’re also supposedly working on an international site, but judging by the lack of updates, I think it may never come.
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.
19. 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 2020, the subreddit has over 18.000 subscribers. So, if you're looking to collaborate online, this is definitely worth checking out! (Also, check out the tips in this post.)
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.
Become a better band player
Playing with others or joining a band is a blast, but it’s not without its challenges. That’s why I put together a 5 day email course with some nuggets of wisdom I’ve heard over the years. Among other stuff, you’ll get:
- This list of ways to find musicians for future reference
- 27 easy songs to play on your first rehearsal
- What you need to know before your first rehearsal (FAQ)
I’ll also go into questions like:
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, let me know here:
Also, 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 leave a comment with your thoughts!