Statistical Findings

How Often Do A Cappella Groups Serve the Community or Charities?

Statistical Findings

In the fall of 2010, The A Cappella Blog invited every collegiate a cappella group we could find to participate in a survey. Our objective was to develop a better understanding of current trends in a cappella—what groups are or are not doing and to what degree.

Over 300 groups from across the US and abroad responded to the survey. Throughout our 2010 publication season, we will review results from this survey and talk about what our findings mean. We welcome and encourage groups to look over the information to learn, to benchmark and to satisfy their own curiosity.

This edition’s questions:
How many times did your group perform at a community event, local school, or similar event outside your college or university this year?
How much money did your group raise or donate to or for any charitable or community cause over the last year?

21-graph

22-graph

As the sheer number and the profile of collegiate a cappella groups has grown, has their social consciousness grow in kind? Of the groups surveyed, 88 percent reported that they performed in their local communities twice or more in the last year. Just under half of the groups reported they had raised money for charities last year, including 12 percent that had donated $1,000 or more (and note, 20 percent didn’t know how much they had raised, which means it is possible they also raised some—perhaps even a great deal—of money).

And so, it’s fair to say that groups are giving back. Understandably, using a group’s natural talents for performance is more common that raising money. This is, usually, logistically easier to do and marks a terrific hands on way for an a cappella group to serve its community, whether they visit a school, or attend a community event.

21-table

22-table

It can be a sticky thing to raise money in the collegiate setting. College students are often strapped for cash, and reluctant to pay to attend a show; parents are often tapped out on their sons and daughters’ tuition payments. Nonetheless, if a group remains focused and saves accordingly from an assortment of private gigs, and CD and ticket sales, and/or makes a point of advertising that the money they raise is going toward a good cause, it is possible to make financial contributions to the larger community as well.

How Many A Cappella Group Names are Puns?

Statistical Findings

In the fall of 2010, The A Cappella Blog invited every collegiate a cappella group we could find to participate in a survey. Our objective was to develop a better understanding of current trends in a cappella—what groups are or are not doing and to what degree.

Over 300 groups from across the US and abroad responded to the survey. Throughout our 2010 publication season, we will review results from this survey and talk about what our findings mean. We welcome and encourage groups to look over the information to learn, to benchmark and to satisfy their own curiosity.

This edition’s question: Is your group’s name a pun or play on words?

23-graph

Although popular wisdom would lead you to believe that the vast majority of a cappella group names are puns or plays on words, the groups that responded to the survey suggested that it’s almost a dead-even split between puns and non-puns.

23-table

Granted, there is some room for ambiguity here as the term “play on words” is a little arbitrary. The six percent of groups who answered indecisively supports this reading, and it’s difficult to tell how many of those “no” responses may have been on the fence. Meanwhile, it does also make sense that musical pun names are starting to run out. While new ones will pop up each year, there may well be a trend emerging of groups adopting names more linked to their schools or to their identities as a group. Regardless of the rationale, it seems as though puns are not the dominant force in a cappella names that some might suspect them to be.

Where Are A Cappella Groups Performing?

Statistical Findings

In the fall of 2010, The A Cappella Blog invited every collegiate a cappella group we could find to participate in a survey. Our objective was to develop a better understanding of current trends in a cappella—what groups are or are not doing and to what degree.

Over 300 groups from across the US and abroad responded to the survey. Throughout our 2010 publication season, we will review results from this survey and talk about what our findings mean. We welcome and encourage groups to look over the information to learn, to benchmark and to satisfy their own curiosity.

This edition’s question: How many different venues did your group perform in last year?

20-graph

Of the groups surveyed, over 43 percent reported that they performed in more than 10 different venues last year. Over 90 percent of the groups reported performing four or more locations. It’s clear that groups are not sitting tight at just one performance spot, but rather are getting around campus and beyond.

20-table

These numbers suggest that groups are invested in reaching beyond an isolated audience. Historically, a number of groups sat tight, performing on a single stage in the school of music. Today’s groups are performing at events around campus, whether it’s a concert or just a song or two to provide entertainment for an event. Groups are performing at events like Relay for Life or for other charitable causes at school and in the community. All of this on top of acting as guest groups, touring and competing—groups are getting around.

How Many Drummers Do A Cappella Groups Have?

Statistical Findings

In the fall of 2010, The A Cappella Blog invited every collegiate a cappella group we could find to participate in a survey. Our objective was to develop a better understanding of current trends in a cappella—what groups are or are not doing and to what degree.

Over 300 groups from across the US and abroad responded to the survey. Throughout our 2010 publication season, we will review results from this survey and talk about what our findings mean. We welcome and encourage groups to look over the information to learn, to benchmark and to satisfy their own curiosity.

This edition’s question: How many different vocal percussions did your group have last year?

19-graph

Of the groups surveyed, just over 55 percent reported that they have two-to-three vocal percussionists. Overall, over 93 percent of groups indicated that five or fewer of their members do percussion for them, including over five percent of groups who indicated that no one does percussion for the group at all.

19-table

It’s interesting to note these statistics in juxtaposition with our finding on the number of soloists each group had. While more than half of most group’s members get solos, a far smaller percentage ever pick up the perc mic. There can be a number of reasons for this. For one, vocal percussion is a specialized skill, and one that it can take some real dedication and time for someone to learn to do. Furthermore, unless you’re exceptional at what you do, drumming isn’t necessarily the most glorious role to take on stage, and so there may not exactly be new members clamoring for it. Finally, I’ve been personally acquainted with groups that brought in a member or two for the specific purpose of drumming. Such members didn’t necessarily have the singing chops to be in the group otherwise, but played their roles well, and so had that dedicated role for just about every song for their tenures with the group.

How Many Soloists Do A Cappella Groups Have?

Statistical Findings

In the fall of 2010, The A Cappella Blog invited every collegiate a cappella group we could find to participate in a survey. Our objective was to develop a better understanding of current trends in a cappella—what groups are or are not doing and to what degree.

Over 300 groups from across the US and abroad responded to the survey. Throughout our 2010 publication season, we will review results from this survey and talk about what our findings mean. We welcome and encourage groups to look over the information to learn, to benchmark and to satisfy their own curiosity.

This edition’s question: How many different soloists did your group have last year?

18-graph

Of the groups surveyed, only four percent depended upon three or fewer soloists. Groups seem to lean much more toward a wide range of soloists, with nearly 38 percent reporting seven to nine soloists in the past year, over 20 percent offering up four to six soloists or ten to twelve different soloists. Fifteen percent of groups even went so far as to have more than 12 different singers take the fore. A part of this statistic may be skewed as the question did not account for songs with dual or alternating soloists.

18-table

The decision to have so many soloists is indicative of a number of a number of things. For one, there’s the suggestion of a communal spirit—groups spreading the solo wealth and appreciating that most singers will appreciate the opportunity to have at least one solo. Furthermore, it gives groups the opportunity to showcase a bevy of different talents, and in so doing appeal to different audience members. Hand in hand with this, a variety of soloists affords a group greater opportunities to perform music by a variety artists and from a variety of genres. On top of all of this, there’s a certain pragmatism to having a large roster of soloists—if someone gets sick or can’t make a show, it makes the group less dependent on a select few, and better prepared to adapt and perform different material.

How Often Do A Cappella Groups Rehearse?

Statistical Findings

In the fall of 2010, The A Cappella Blog invited every collegiate a cappella group we could find to participate in a survey. Our objective was to develop a better understanding of current trends in a cappella—what groups are or are not doing and to what degree.

Over 300 groups from across the US and abroad responded to the survey. Throughout our 2010 publication season, we will review results from this survey and talk about what our findings mean. We welcome and encourage groups to look over the information to learn, to benchmark and to satisfy their own curiosity.

This edition’s question: How often does your group rehearse?

17-graph

Of the groups surveyed, just over 50 percent reported that they rehearse three times per week, while an additional 40 percent said that they practice twice each week. Six percent went so far as practice four or more times each week. From these numbers, the message is consistent—the vast majority of a cappella groups are rehearsing quite frequently.

The amount of rehearsal time suggests a shift to groups taking themselves more seriously. These aren’t groups in name that get together a few times a semester to throw together a big show. They’re finely tuned music machines, practicing regularly—learning new material and refining the old—to be prepared for numerous engagements around campus each month, in addition to the big shows, competitions and touring. The days of more casual participation, at least for the average a cappella group, may have passed.

17-table

A direct result of the sheer volume of rehearsals may be the intensity of social connections between group members. This is not a new phenomena, but given the amount of time these students are spending together, there is little doubt that a cappella groups remain social groups, which underscores the importance of being critical during the audition and selection process of not just musical talents personality types that will mesh with the group dynamic.

How Often Do A Cappella Groups Serve the Community or Charities?
How Many A Cappella Group Names are Puns?
Where Are A Cappella Groups Performing?
How Many Drummers Do A Cappella Groups Have?
How Many Soloists Do A Cappella Groups Have?
How Often Do A Cappella Groups Rehearse?
Do Collegiate A Cappella Groups Have Uniforms?
How Many New Songs Do A Cappella Groups Learn in a Year?
A Cappella Alumni Shows
Are A Cappella Groups Hosting Guest Groups?
Are Collegiate A Cappella Groups Choreographing?
Who Arranges Songs for Collegiate A Cappella Groups?
What Style of Music are A Cappella Groups Performing?
Turnover Rate for A Cappella Directors
How Long Have A Cappella Groups Been Around?
How Often Do A Cappella Groups Hold Auditions?
The Number of New Members in A Cappella Groups
How Often Do A Cappella Groups Perform?
Are A Cappella Groups Registered Student Organizations?
How many groups are competing?
How Big are A Cappella Groups?
Are A Cappella Groups Recording?