Make Other People Look Good

For Your Own Good

While a cappella is typically a group endeavor amidst a niche, but large community, For Your Own Good focuses on what individuals can do for their own betterment in this realm.

In a column about how to make the most of one’s own experience in a cappella, it may seem counter-intuitive to shine a spotlight on what you can do for others. Nonetheless, for anyone who aspires to personal greatness in a cappella, there’s a lot to be said for helping the people around you realize theirs.

Develop complementary talents. No matter how well you cover your part, it’s unlikely it will be recognized by a general audience unless the rest of what the group is doing clicks with you. Be it encouraging the choreographer who will help add color to a beautiful arrangement, or bolstering the altos and tenors in filling the middle so your bass sounds warm and full rather than overwhelming, think about which pieces of your group best complement your own talents and aspirations.

Build your relationships. When you recognize someone else’s talent and help others succeed, you’re showing that you have confidence in them. A funny thing happens when you believe in someone and let it be known—they tend to believe in you, too. Whether you perceive it as developing political clout or pushing one another to be better, either way, when group members support one another the result is mutual success.

It’s the right thing to do. While it may seem altogether obvious, helping other people is a fundamentally good and right thing to do. You’re chasing your personal success at a cappella, and it’s great that you’re driven. But remember that whether you’re only in the early stages of a long career in a cappella or you’re intending to leave it behind in a few years, you should keep an eye toward your own personal development—as a singer, as a member of a community, and as a human being. Build up good karma, and let the world take care of you in return.