Monday, January 7, 2013

This post will change your life

And…we’re back.
In honor of the new year, I thought I would take some time to reflect on self-improvement.
I wandered into my local bookstore, shunning the sunlight that I had been accustomed to avoiding for two weeks and immediately headed for the humor section, as this was the most intellectually stimulating topic I could muster that day.
It was here that I found a book titled “This Book Will Change Your Life.”
Change my life? Really? Well color me intrigued with a light shade of purple.
There are roughly 365 pages, and each page recommends that you perform a different task on each subsequent day, much like a “one-idea-a-day calendar.” These tasks range from ordinary (Improve your signature today, Google your name) to slightly bizarre (Pretend to be a spy, Try to eat a piece of furniture) to “obviously this book doesn’t expect you to do this otherwise you would die/be arrested.” (Make a citizen’s arrest, Discreetly give the finger to people all day)
But despite the attempts at humor, I thought that the majority of suggestions might actually force you to live through different, unique, and unfamiliar experiences, and I think that’s just swell.
I began to wonder…Could someone change/improve their a cappella knowledge in the same way this book suggests? I THINK SO!!! (Woohoo!)
No, I’m not going to write an entire, 365-day book. But if you wish to improve your a cappella knowledge base, following this day-to-day schedule for a full month should help you immensely. Or just take a few of these suggestions. Or don’t take any suggestions. Or write some hate mail...doesn’t matter to me.
Here is a full month of a cappella related activities designed to broaden your horizons.
Day 1- Since this is the first day, you should start with something easy. Do one or more of the following:
1) Combine a consonant and vowel together and create a new scat syllable.
2) Write/Sing a new bass line.
3) Read whatever post is under this one on
Day 2- Listen to one track from an a cappella group you’ve never heard before, but found through chance.
Day 3- Post something on RARB.
Day 4- Go to itunes/ and search for the word a cappella. Buy the first and last tracks you see.
Day 5- Today, discover what a 9th chord is. Here’s a website to get you started:
Day 6- Pressure someone into singing a circle song with you.
Day 7- See which groups are invited to ICCA’s this year. Pick one from each region and visit their website.
Day 8- Listen to one episode of the a cappella podcast “Mouth Off.” You can download all of them on itunes.
Day 9- Go here: and buy something.
Day 10- Find a friend and ask them what their favorite song of all time is. When they tell you, show them an a cappella version on Youtube.
Day 11- Discover who your state/country a cappella ambassador is and contact them.
Day 12- Vocal health day. Spend the entire day taking care of your voice. Don’t overuse it. Drink singer-appropriate beverages only, like hot tea and water. Monitor how tired your voice gets over the entire day. Don’t shout or yell. If you sing, use breath support and resonance to avoid straining your vocal cords. Get plenty of rest.
Day 13- Name your favorite song in the whole wide world. Listen to as many a cappella covers of that song as possible, either through itunes/ and/or Youtube.
Day 14- Play the following game alone or with others: Say a word. Now try to think of as many song lyrics that contain that word as you can.
Day 15- Draw/Create an all-around logo that represents “a cappella.” Print this logo out and wear it.
Day 16- Email your a cappella hero and tell him/her how awesome he/she is.
Day 17- Read the very first post on
Day 18- Explore the following websites: (maker of Protools and Sibelius) (maker of Melodyne) (Maker of Ableton Live) (Maker of Reaper) (Maker of Logic Pro)
Day 19- No music day. Today, go the entire day without music. Don’t sing, hum, or whistle. Don’t listen to any music. Don’t watch any videos with music in the background. Avoid music at all costs. At the end of the day, reflect on how awful this day was and how you will vow to keep music in your life forever.
Day 20- Download a free looping app on a Smartphone or computer and loop yourself.
Day 22- Listen to the chorus of one song and try to replicate everything you hear with your voice.
Day 23- Go here: Pick one blog and read the latest post.
Day 24- Watch something else besides Pitch Perfect, Glee, and The Sing-Off that features a cappella. Here are some suggestions:
The Wedding Weekend (Movie)
Do It A cappella (Documentary)
Sex, Drugs, and A cappella (Web Series)
Day 26- In three minutes, try to name every a cappella group that you can. Ready? Go!
Day 27- Go on youtube and watch a video of a former ICCA competition. Copy one dance move that you see.
Day 28- Familiarize yourself with every entry in one of the popular annual compilation albums- BOCA, BOHSA, SING, or Voices Only.
Day 29- Try to name as many a cappella conventions, festivals, and workshops as you can.
Day 30- Purchase one book about a cappella music. Here are some suggestions:
A cappella Arranging by Deke Sharon and Dylan Bell
A cappella Pop by Brody McDonald
The A cappella book by Mike Chin and Mike Scalise
Pitch Perfect by Mickey Rapkin
Powerful Voices by Joshua Duchan
Anna Callahan's Amazing A cappella Arranging Advice by Anna Callahan
Acapolitics by Stephen Harrison
Marc Silverberg
Follow the Quest for the a cappella major:

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