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.
One of the most confounding parts of operating an a cappella group is needing to balance your and everyone else’s individual schedules with the needs of the group. How do you take the time to perfect your performance, properly promote the group and more while maintain a full course load or working a full-time job?
Use Small Increments of Time to Your Advantage. Are you frustrated when you end up with little more than 30 minutes at the end of your day to devote to your a cappella group? Start thinking about how you can use small periods of time to your advantage. Five to ten minutes of your lunch break is more than enough time to fire off a tweet to promote your group’s next performance or upcoming CD.
Snippets of time are also useful when it comes to wrapping your heads around problems and planning your work. Major projects can seem daunting, but when you have time to think and process, it will help you think of how to tackle major endeavors, and particularly how you might be able to break them up into smaller pieces—better suited to working on in small increments in and of themselves.
Intertwine and Multi-Task. Rather than thinking about how you can make time for the a cappella part of your life, instead, think of how you can make a cappella a part of your life. A part of growing up is recognizing that you have commitments and that those commitments will often be at odds with one another when it comes to scheduling or competing for your attention. Rather than feeling forced to cut out important engagements, think about how you can allow these disparate pieces to complement and coincide with one another. Put in your iPod earbuds and listen to some BOCA or live recordings while you’re walking between classes or while you’re on the treadmill at the gym to internalize what top a cappella groups are doing right while you’re getting other things done. As addressed in the small increments section above, find ways of weaving brief periods of music into the rest of your day—perhaps you do the reading for one class, then spend twenty minutes going over your part for a song, then do the homework for your next class. If you’re driving alone in your car, listen for the rhythm of whatever music you like and practice your vocal percussion on the go. When a cappella becomes an intrinsic part of your life, intertwined with so many other pieces, it will stop being something you need to seek out an overwhelming amount of time for, and start being something that’s a natural part of your day-to-day routine.
Impromptu Meetings and Elevator Pitches. OK, so you don’t have the time or the connections to set up meetings with the senior administrators at your college or local politicians or the managers of popular businesses. But if you end up behind such an individual when you’re in line at the bank or waiting for a seat at a busy restaurant, there’s little reason not to take advantage of such opportunities to network and see if you can score an unusual, high-profile gig, or at minimum get introduce the idea that your a cappella group exists and that they should feel welcome to contact you if they’re ever looking for local, live entertainment at an event, they should get in touch. “Elevator pitches” are designed to get your central message across in what brief, unexpected time you might get alone in an elevator with someone powerful. Think about yours and make the most of opportune moments.