Last week, I addressed a few questions related to starting a band.
As an extension of that, another question I hear commonly among people in the Antelope Valley, is how to find other people to collaborate with.
Although it seems like an easy task, sometimes I can take for granted how many people I know in our local scene. It definitely doesn’t happen overnight and can take years to really become a part of any scene. It can be a veritable mountain to climb that can seem impassable. Here a few ways to start in our unique AV music scene.
Antelope Valley College: In many ways, the Antelope Valley is still a small town. This means options for networking can be more limited than a bigger city or a historically musical town.
The fulcrum for most musicians that come from this dusty landscape are the Music and Commercial Music programs.
AVC is a magnet for most young people looking to improve their lives, in general. For music, it’s no different, except it seems to attract a wider age range. As diverse as the Valley is, the Music and Commercial Music departments are a reflection of that.
The types of courses provided are also diverse. It is the one place in town that provides a recording engineer, live sound, music business and performance classes all in one location.
Many of the instructors are also professionals currently working in the music business. Even if you don’t take any classes, find out when shows are happening at the Performing Arts Theatre or Black Box Theatre on campus and talk to the musicians afterward.
Local music schools: Before attending college, a huge segment of AV musicians began their journey at a local music shop. A few key locations include Mel Booker Music, Tapp’s Music, AMPED and N Rhythm Music. Often, these are more affordable options for prospective musicians and their families.
Most of these stores listed above offer some semi-annual recital, which provides a great opportunity for networking. The instructors also are usually hooked into the local music scene and can help push you in the right direction. Stores like these are as vital a resource, as having AVC available to us.
Hanging around local shows: This may be the most direct way to become a part of the local music scene. The tricky part about this is becoming a consistent face at these shows.
Currently, on the original music side, we have the Britisher run by Burgerwolf, the American Legion Post 311 run by Sucka Punch Productions and Voodoo Vinyl, all located in Lancaster.
For cover bands, to name a few, there’s Big Shotz Bar and Grill in Lancaster, Vincent Hill in Acton and The Rock Inn in Lake Hughes. These are places that offer regular live music but there are occasional one-off shows or semi-regular events that happen in town to be aware of.
When the featuring band recognizes you at a gig, that is a good goal to achieve. In either the original or cover camp, before becoming a regular, have something to present people you meet.
Good musicians that have been in the Valley for a long time can detect jive from a mile away. Having something to break that barrier is helpful. Videos you can send them of your playing, business cards and being reliable goes a long way.