Playing in a Band
Playing in a band can be either a rewarding or frustrating experience. It all depends on the circumstance and, most of all, your outlook. If you approach ensemble playing with realistic expectations your life will be enriched. However, if you have lofty goals or an overly idealistic perspective, you may find that playing in a band is frustrating or even downright maddening.
In order to pave the road for success, start by finding like-minded musicians. You will quickly find yourself alienated or even at loggerheads with your band members if you choose the wrong people. One of the best ways to find like-minded musicians is to go see local bands that you like. If you don't know of any local groups, get out there and scope out the scene. Also, jam sessions can provide an opportunity to not only meet other musicians but also to see how well you actually perform with others.
When playing at jam sessions, it's best to avoid showboating. If you show off — in order to prove that you are the best bassist in the room — you will probably make the wrong impression. Instead, keep it simple and focus on the requirements of the music itself. This means playing like a team player. A jam session is a proving ground. However, quality musicians will be looking for taste, style, and appropriateness more than how many notes you can fit into a bar or how many different styles you can represent in one song. More than anything, other musicians look for rock solid grooves in a bassist. In short, they want to feel comfortable soloing or singing overtop.
Once you find players who have similar tastes and goals, work on developing a body of tunes. You may want to write your own material or cowrite songs with others. You also might elect to play covers. Covers are interpretations of other people's music. For example, there are Beatles cover bands, Led Zeppelin cover bands, U2 cover bands, and so on. Most cover bands play a mixture of tunes culled from the songbooks of various artists. In other words, your average rock/pop cover band might play some Beatles, some Rolling Stones, some Eagles, some Billy Joel, some Bruce Springsteen, and so on.