This week, we look at the importance of group bonding.
When trying to develop a strong collegiate a cappella group, the social aspect of the group is often afterthought. After all, if you want your group to be the best it can be, you surely have to focus on the many elements of performance—not the after-parties. And yet, when it comes to building a truly cohesive unit, the interpersonal relationships of your group are a central contributing factor to long-term success.
In any collegiate organization, there’s value in forging friendships. After all, college is a unique time in people’s lives—for many, the first time away from home, and yet also the period that comes before so many people become financially independent, and make their way in the working world. With so many natural opportunities to bond—getting together after a show, touring, competing, grabbing a bite after late night rehearsals, and so on, it would truly be a waste, on a personal level, for group members not to get to know one another.
As an extension of the social potential of a cappella, being a part of these sorts groups can be the defining piece of someone’s college experience. Over the years, I have my opportunity to speak or correspond with a large number of collegiate a cappella performers and a surprisingly common thread is to find that there are people who legitimately don’t know what they’d do without their a cappella groups. These groups provide a social foundation, something to look forward to, something to work hard on outside of the classroom. With this in mind, it’s important to nurture those pieces of a group that keep members so committed.
On top of the benefits of social bonding for individual members of an a cappella group, the bonding can have profoundly positive effects for the group on the whole. When group members genuinely like one another, the overall drive to succeed can be that much stronger—to support and help each other in learning parts and developing confidence on stage; to want to win a competition because it’s the director’s last opportunity to compete with the group; to actively want to spend time together rehearsing, because it’s that much fun. Sure, the members of any given team or performance group don’t need to like each other in order to succeed. But when they do feel like a part of a larger, better whole, it creates a unique form of buy-in which can go a long way toward building success.
Group bonding is much more than a touchy-feely byproduct of an a cappella group. It’s the stuff great memories are made of and a key ingredient to building a cohesive unit. Group bonding is of the utmost importance.