Do you like to beatbox your heart out? Have you ever thought about creating original choral arrangements of various styles? Then you should consider making a cappella groups in the choral setting. After attending a wonderful workshop "Boots N' Cats" by Dr. James Reddan, I learned a great deal of information about a cappella. Introducing students to a cappella singing is a great way to get them interested in music outside of the traditional choral experience. It also provides a great audience and community appeal that helps bring these groups together. Now, you may have heard about some of the misconceptions of a cappella...that it promotes vocal damage and poor technique, or that the harmonies and rhythms are too complex. And then there's the common saying "Well, I can't really beatbox." As educators, we must teach healthy vocal techniques and proper breath support in all genres of music, and a cappella is no exception. By performing layers of harmonies, a singer's tone, resonance, and ear training will be enhanced. The best way to learn to beatbox is to learn from other students, or even from a student percussionist who can imitate the sounds of percussion instruments.
Practicing the classic "Boots and Cats" while taking out the vowels is a great first step into learning how to beatbox. Other sounds that are beneficial to try are fricatives and plosives. "Bp" is a base drum, dentalized "t" is a timpani, and "Kpf" is a snare drum. Just keep practicing your "Boots and Cats" exercises and you will be a great beatboxer in no time!
Dr. Reddan also mentioned that vocal percussion can improve students' rhythmic understanding and improvisation skills. The first steps towards getting involved with a cappella are as follows: seeing how many students are interested, working with jazz/show choirs, trying to arrange your own work, and inquiring resources in your community. One of many great organizations to check out is CASA, the Contemporary A Cappella Society. Arrangements by Deke Sharon and Dylan Bell are great sources to come up with ideas for your A Cappella groups as well. A Cappella is choral singing from a different point of view, it can provide solo opportunities that generate a sense of independence in each vocal part as well as help to cultivate a good ensemble sound.
-Laura Stedge, IC ACDA E-Board Member at Large
Welcome to our site!