Titans Rock Harder: How To Start Your College Music Band

Writing and performing music can be a stress-reducing and relaxing activity, while putting the entrepreneurial skills taught in business school to practical use. Photo from Pixabay

Writing and performing music can be a stress-reducing and relaxing activity, while putting the entrepreneurial skills taught in business school to practical use. Photo from Pixabay

Many leading musical bands, including Pink Floyd, R.E.M., Talking Heads, Coldplay and the Commodores formed while their members were studying together in college. With one of the largest student bodies in California, Cal State Fullerton is sure to have the talent needed to produce outstanding popular music of many genres. Business students (particularly those with a musical ear) may have just the set of skills needed to find success in the competitive music industry.

Interested in starting your college band? Here are 10 things you need to know.

  1. You don’t need to be a music major to form or join a band.

Business students and other majors often have the administrative, financial and logistical skills needed to turn a dream into reality, while performing music can serve as a positive release and stress reducer to counter hours of schoolwork. A band can and should be thought of as a type of entrepreneurship.

  1. Students can perform music on campus between noon and 1 p.m.

Drummers, saxophonists and guitar players are some of the musicians who take advantage of the free music performance hour on weekdays during the spring and fall semesters at the Becker Amphitheatre. To reserve your spot, contact Associated Students Inc. (ASI) at asiconcerts@fullerton.edu or 657-278-3501.

  1. ASI Productions could be your path to success.

A student-run organization charged with developing quality entertainment for the Cal State Fullerton community, ASI Productions is responsible for weekly musical events during the semesters, including karaoke and Pub Thursday concerts at noon in the Titan Student Union, as well as the annual Spring Concert and the Battle of the Bands, a talent competition which determines who will headline the opening of the annual event. Supporting musical performers of every stripe and skill level, they could be the leg up for Titan talent.

  1. Check out the online tools available for today’s musicians.

Sure, you can publish your songs and music videos on YouTube. But there are also forums designed specifically for musicians, such as the music app Smule or SoundCloud.

  1. Obey copyright laws – and be sure to copyright your work.

Musical compositions, sound tracks and lyrics can be copyrighted to protect intellectual property. While all musicians and bands have their inspirations, be sure to use original music and lyrics, and claim a copyright to your work for safekeeping. While no registration is required to claim a copyright, the U.S. Copyright Office can make it easier to enforce your claim to your work by registering for protection as a public record. You could also provide usage guidelines on whatever forums you use to distribute your music.

Cal State Fullerton’s Spring Concert is our school’s annual celebration of popular music. The Battle of the Bands talent competition, which determines who will open the concert, could be a starting point for student music groups.

Cal State Fullerton’s Spring Concert is our school’s annual celebration of popular music. The Battle of the Bands talent competition, which determines who will open the concert, could be a starting point for student music groups.

  1. Come up with a catchy name.

Naming can make or break a band. You can choose a name that identifies your geographical origin, Titan pride, personal interests, social issues of concern, and even personal names.

Want your band to identify with your Mihaylo education? Consider names with a business or economics ring, such as The Yen, The Euros, the Titans of Industry, or the Floating Exchange (a great name for music videos in Newport Harbor). Wondering if a name is already taken? Look up your name on band name databases such as MyBandName.com or Bandname.com, which also provides a way to register your name.

  1. Consider mixing genres.

You don’t have to be hard rock. Country, Christian, jazz, rap, hip hop, Europop, Kpop and reggae are just some of the possibilities. Consider a fusion for a memorable sound. As in business, differentiating your product from the competition can help you find your niche.

  1. Buy or rent musical instruments.

The Guitar Center at 606 South Brea Avenue in Brea is one place to go for used or rental equipment. A number of online resources, including Amazon, eBay and Music Go Round, offer a marketplace for buying and selling instruments, electronics and other accessories.

  1. Use Orange County scenery as a backdrop for music videos.

In today’s world of iPhones and YouTube, a simple music video can be produced using your smartphone. Local beaches, the Santa Ana Mountains, historic sites, business districts and botanical gardens offer excellent backdrops, and all are accessible without leaving Orange County. But be sure to get permission from relevant authorities or property owners first before filming.

  1. Remember that a band is a business.

A band is just as much a business as an accounting partnership or marketing agency. It might sound a bit tongue-in-cheek, but all of the skills you’ve learned in business school, including marketing, finance, accounting, advertising, management, partnership development and putting out a desirable product apply to musical bands.

About dcoats

I'm Daniel Coats, a CSU Fullerton Communications graduate student
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