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The A Cappella Blog

Non-Traditional Students


In this edition we consider non-traditional students.

One of the primary stigmas attached to a non-traditional student is that he’s no fun. After all, if he’s 50, he’s an adult—well past is teen years and his raging early-20s. Can he possibly keep up with a bunch of college kids? Would he even want to?

The fact is, he very well might. The non-traditional student who consciously tries to get involved with student life is likely driven by a desire to recapture his youth, or take advantage of opportunities he wished he had years before. Allow him into your fold, and you might be pleasantly surprised with just how fun he can be.

OK, so you’re a bit put off with the idea of an old-timer who hasn’t heard of Death Cab for Cutie. It can be problematic if the contemporary song catalog is completely foreign to him. At the same time, though, when you have an alien opinion, you have the opportunity for some true objectivity. The non-traditional student will probably recognize the merit some new music, and pass on other songs, recognizing them for the fads that they are. A wise, unbiased perspective can be really useful in identifying the best songs for your group to take on.

You may worry that the non-traditional student will look weird as part of your group, and throw off your visual dynamics on stage. Put a positive spin on singularity, though, and you can see than an outlier helps your group stand out. There’s a 70 year old man in that collegiate group? That’s the kind of thing curious, casual fans will come out to see, which gives you the opportunity to win over a new crowd from there based on your pure talent.

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