Monday, June 4, 2012

Every body needs an A.R.M.

National A cappella day you ask? Yes! Sign this:

A cappella festivals are at the cutting edge of presenting fans with a cappella techniques and materials. In fact, these festivals, mostly run by CASA, Singstrong, or a neighboring college, have become so popular that tickets sell out weeks in advance, much like Comic-Con. In fact, you could say these festivals are the body of a cappella education.

But for a cappella junkies (like me), 5 major festivals a year does not satisfy the need to explore what is fast becoming a much larger community of singers. But even with directing 2 college groups and 1 community group, time together is time spent on rehearsals. These rehearsals satisfy the need to sing, but not the need to discover.

What is there to discover you ask? LOTS!
-Improvisation exercises
-Hundreds of thousands of unpublished arrangements
-Compositional style
-Millions of a cappella CD’s and tracks
-Rehearsal techniques
-Recording techniques
-Unknown a cappella resources

Going back to the title of this blog post, it seems that every body needs an arm.

And like the Contemporary A cappella League who supports developing a group in your hometown, I posit that the same can be done with an A cappella Roundtable Meetings (A.R.M…Get it?)

Why shouldn’t we do it? All college choral groups have reading sessions and roundtable sessions. These are monthly gatherings of choral directors, who sit down and share new ideas, sight read their way through 50 or so pieces of choral music, and learn from each other. It’s like a choral convention in miniature scale. Instead of taking place over several days, it lasts a few hours (or however long you want it to last).

So here’s how it works:

1) You and your colleagues/friends/bitter enemies pick a place and time to meet, preferably somewhere like a classroom, studio, or house/apartment.

2) Someone (or everyone) brings resources to discuss. These can be arrangements to read through, recordings to listen to, videos to watch, books to read, techniques to try, etc.

3) Everyone learns from each other, just like an educational roundtable.

4) Everyone goes home with a little more knowledge about a cappella music.

5) Rinse. Repeat.

This can be a weekly meeting, a bi-monthly meeting, a monthly meeting, whatever. Roundtables could be the cure for the a cappella summer blues. Imagine having a local meeting place that functions like a shorter collaborative a cappella festival. What could be better?

In fact, that’s what myself and several others are trying to put together.

The website, has a group listing for these A cappella Roundtable Meetings localized in New York City. Follow the link for more information:

Let’s work together to spread the education of a cappella music…and also eat cookies.

Marc Silverberg

Follow The Quest for the A cappella Major:

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