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?
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.
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.