A blog that discusses contemporary a cappella music, the educational practices of a cappella music, a cappella improvisation exercises, and a cappella in popular culture.
Monday, January 6, 2014
30 days or less
A new year, a brand new chance to immerse yourself in the ever growing phenomenon that is contemporary a cappella music. Last year, I posted a blog, very near the time I’m posting this one, about how you can improve your aca-knowledge in 30 days. You can read it here:
And since January is usually the time to gear up for competition, it seems like there is no better time to start becoming an aca-grand master.
Day 1-7 Let’s start with something you have already done (hopefully), if not…get started right away. Each day, you will watch one episode of the Sing-Off, season 4. But I want you to pay close attention to certain aspects of the show. I want you to watch each performance twice (fast forward through the judge’s comments and the story montages) and really listen to the group, not the soloist, to see if you can hear the intricacies of their arrangement. What is the bass doing? What are the inner lines? How many doo’s do they use and how many times do they sing words? How is their arrangement interesting from beginning to end and do they ever repeat a section?
Day 8- It’s time for a Sing-along viewing of Pitch Perfect! When you get to the Bella’s finale, really listen to the transitions between songs. Check to see what key each song is in and try to figure out how the arranger (Ed Boyer) got from one song to the next. This will help you gain insight on how to compose an a cappella medley or mash-up.
Day 9- Become a CASA member
Day 10- Look up all of the colleges in your area. How many a cappella groups do they have, and when is the next concert? Buy a ticket for one show.
Day 11- Listen to an all a cappella radio station for the whole day.
Day 12- On CASA.org, look up the winners of the 2013 A cappella Community Awards. Look up one of these groups.
Day 13- Go on Last.fm and listen to one a cappella album.
Day 14- Pick a song that you think no a cappella group has ever performed before. Search the internet and see if you are right.
Day 15- Vocal Health day! Drink lots of decaffeinated tea. Speak in a higher-pitched register so you don’t put pressure on your vocal cords. Get lots of rest. Don’t speak unless you need to.
Day 16- Google your a cappella hero and send him/her an email just to tell him/her that he/she is great.
Day 17- Go to celemony.com. Download the 30-day trial version of Melodyne. It’s free!
Day 18- Find 3 friends and sing a Barbershop tag. You can find hundreds of free tags on the internet. There’s even an app for that!
Day 19- Go to BetterAcappella.com and contact one arranger for their music.
Day 20- Have a piano-free rehearsal with your a cappella group.
Day 21- Buy an electronic pitch-pipe, tuning fork, or regular pitch-pipe.
Day 22- Find 30 websites dedicated to a cappella. Bookmark them and keep them in a separate folder marked a cappella.
Day 23- Buy a compilation album and listen to it (Either SING, BOCA, BOHSA, or Voices Only)