This time we discuss how to make your a cappella group the coolest student org on campus.
Setting the Stage: All right, so your group is thriving in competition, breaking ground in the recording studio, and generally emerging as a force on the collegiate a cappella scene. The only problem is, most of your fellow students dismiss you as a bunch of Gleeks and want nothing to do with you. How can you turn this perception around?
Song Selection: This may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to start picking cooler songs—songs that are current, songs with an edge, songs people aren’t expecting to hear. All the more so, though, it’s all about the attitude with which you carry off this song. For example, your all-white co-ed group wants to take on Kanye West’s “Stronger.” Cool enough. Do not make it a joke. Going the comedic route is a safe tactic used by people who are afraid to fail—the kind of people who say, “Yeah, I know I can’t really rap so I’m doing this self-deprecating performance to be all cute and get some laughs. Don’t hate me.” If you take yourself seriously, there’s a chance you will fail and look all the more like a loser for the effort. But if you succeed? Well, people don’t ordinarily put the words “badass” and “a cappella” together, but you can be one of the few groups to bust into that circle. Now that’s cool.
Setting: You want as large of an audience as possible, but by the same token, you want an audience that willingly chose to attend your show. Anyone who’s forced to endure a cappella at some function is not going to be open to liking it—it’s exposure, but not the kind of exposure you want. Rather than being the group that shows up at every campus function, be the group that draws people into its big, cool show. Get word of mouth running in advance, post enticing clips on Facebook, and plaster your campus with flyers that make you look cool. If you build it up, they will come, and then you have your chance to shine.
Choreography: The idea of “cool choreography” may seem even more out there than “cool a cappella.” The thing is, it’s the self-conscious, under-prepared groups that give choreography a bad name. If you really have your stuff together and can whip off some innovative, well-synchronized moves there’s a lot of potential to win new fans over with your movement. Be bold, be sure of yourselves, and let it all hang out.
Other Notes: If all of the steps above don’t work out, never underestimate the value of making other student orgs look less cool. After all, “coolest student org” is just another way of saying “least uncool student org”—if you can find ways to damage the reputation of other groups, or even get them disbanded, such that they no longer exist as student orgs, you’ll be one step closer to being the coolest group left standing.