Should Your Group Have Only One Music Director?

Measure for Measure

In Measure for Measure, A Cappella Blog contributor takes a look at both sides of a controversial issue in collegiate a cappella. Please note that the views expressed by columnists do not necessarily represent those of The ACB as an organization, nor do they necessarily represent the view of individual columnists. The purpose of this piece is to explore issues and further civil, intellectual debate.

In this edition of Measure for Measure we take a look at the statement:

A cappella groups should have only one music director.

True: Democracy, checks and balances, and joint leadership work for many aspects of life. But when it comes to an artistic vision having too many voices of equal weight is more distracting than valuable. When two or more leaders need to agree on major decisions, the likely outcome is a watered down vision that isn’t really what anyone wanted in the first place.

One strong leader keeps order and keeps a group moving forward in a consistent direction.

False: A cappella groups should honor the common vision of every group member—not one individual. While not every group member can or should be named director, having co-directors offers the opportunity for two group members to share their visions for the group, to share the weight of leading rehearsals, and to make tough musical decisions. It builds an infrastructure of backup so the group doesn’t fall apart when someone graduates, moves away, or sick for a week.

Having two leaders for an a cappella sets up the group up for more ideas, more creativity, and more sustainable success