My inbox almost always contains several requests to help a band find a musician or a musician find a band. The consistency of these requests tells me that this is not a seasonal problem, nor are Christian bands exempt from losing members. It seems to be just a fact of band life that from time to time your Christian band will need to replace someone. So, where do you find that new member?
First, let’s talk about what does not work:
The #1 thing that does not work is advertising in any kind of national media.
This media includes magazines, e-zines, forums, on-line job search sites, even musician referral sites.
Why doesn’t this work?
If you were a national act and were able to pay a reasonable wage, advertising in national media would probably work for your band because people are willing to move for a good job in a stable ministry. But, face it… most of us are not national acts nor do we pay ourselves enough to live on. So, most likely, musicians are not going to relocate across the country to play in your band. Of course, as soon as I say this someone will tell me about the time that so and so did just that. Understand that we are talking about broad generalities – most people, most of the time. There will always be exceptions where someone wants to move anyway and your band is a good place to start or, even better, where God calls specific people together. But, barring those unusual circumstances, national advertising will probably not be the best use of your time or money. Worst case scenario is that you do advertise in national media and someone spends the time and money to audition for your band (or actually moves to your location) because they thought you were offering them a paying job – definitely not good for your bands reputation.
Do this instead: Network locally.
Locally is defined as driving distance to your bands practice site. For most people, this would be an hour or less away. Remember that each member has to drive to the practice site every time you practice and most often every time your band has a show. The members that live close to the site experience almost no gas expense or extra driving time. Members that live father away consistently put more time and money into the band. When times are good and money is OK this is usually not a huge problem, but as soon as schedules get busy or money becomes tight it can become a bigger issue. Often the band members that live close do not realize how inconvenient it is to schedule extra practices or take free shows. Most people will not want to drive 2 hours on top of the bands travel time to play yet another free show. So, limiting drive time of potential new members makes life easier for the entire band.
Where do you find these local musicians?
To catch a fish you have to go to the water. To find a Christian musician you have to go to places they hang out.
Here are some of my favorite places to look:
• Every Christian musician is looking for bargains on equipment. So, advertise in places that sell used gear. Although it’s not glamorous, Craigslist.org and your local newspapers classified ads are both great places to start. You can place ads under “Musicians Wanted” but you may find your attract more attention if you place your ad under the “Music Equipment For Sale” category. Your local newspaper may have an electronic edition a well as a print edition. Be sure to check to see if your ad will be in both. Often you have to submit 2 ads and pay 2 fees.
• Almost every town has a store that sells new and used equipment; and almost every one of those stores have a place to put up posters or ads. Put up a poster with tear off phone numbers to advertise your available spot.
• Christian musicians also frequent the music department of Christian Bookstores and music stores. It is worth checking with your local stores to see if you can put up a poster. While you are there be sure to tell the sales clerks that you are looking for a musician, they might just know someone who is looking for a band.
• Many Christian musicians can be found in local coffeehouses, especially if they have an open mic night or live venue. Coffeehouses often have an area designated for local posters and ads. Be sure to get yours posted too. Some places require approval before putting up the poster, so it’s wise to check first.
• After all your posters are up and your ads placed, the next step is to make a few phone calls. Music directors from larger local churches sometimes know musicians looking for bands. Music lesson teachers also tend to know musicians looking for bands. A quick phone call to these people that describes the kind of person you are looking for may give you some leads.
• Lastly, don’t neglect to post the available position on your band’s website and social media. Many new band members are found because of a friend of a friend’s recommendation.
Unfortunately, the whole process takes time. It is not uncommon for Christian bands to try working with several new members before finally finding the right fit. The most important thing is to keep trying. Every new person you work with will add something new to the band. The rest of the members will deepen their relationships with each other as you work together to find a new member for your Christian band.
Do you need more information about choosing the best people for your band?
has an entire chapter called Seek and Ye Shall Find (The Right People).
to get your copy today.
Get Your FREE Christian Band Booking Calendar
Christian musicians need places to play to be able to do their ministry.
Sign up to get a FREE booking calendar that shows you which booking tasks to do each month. Know what to do and when to do it to get more gigs so you can do more ministry.