Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of teaching a number of workshops at several a cappella festivals. Below are the descriptions and materials for each course, which you may find useful. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

DIY Recording

Taught at: BOSton Sings 2013

Because of the relatively low cost of quality recording hardware and software, more and more groups are recording their own albums. While this approach has potential financial, creative, and logistical benefits, there are also a number of drawbacks and pitfalls to be considered. In this workshop, we will discuss these factors and how to weigh them within the context of your group’s goals and abilities to decide if self-recording is the right choice for you. We will then cover the components and costs of a simple but sufficient recording setup. We will also discuss how to prepare arrangements for recording, how to effectively record various parts (solo, bass, backgrounds, vp, etc.), and how different aspects of a singer’s studio performance can impact the final product. Finally, we will briefly explain editing and mixing on a conceptual level (as understanding subsequent stages of production helps guide choices made during recording), and discuss how to effectively communicate with producers to maximize the quality and minimize the costs of the project.

Course Documents (Last Updated: 4/6/2013):
Handout (PDF)

Warm Ups 2.0

Taught at: SoJam 2013

In many musical ensembles, the performers take individualized lessons to improve their skills. However, in the frequently-casual world of a cappella, many singers do not actively take voice lessons (and some never have), meaning their abilities may not improve across a number of areas. While vocal groups often use warm ups primarily to begin engaging the voice, there is a great deal of potential to incorporate exercises that work on a broad range of musical skills and vocal techniques, such as tuning, blend, balance, tone, range, dynamics, phrasing, pitch accuracy, tempo control, etc. In this workshop, we will discuss these concepts and teach a number of exercises you can use with your own group to more effectively use the start of each rehearsal.

Course Documents (Last Updated: 11/8/2013):
Handout (PDF)
Warmups (MIDI)
Tags (MIDI)

Zero to Hero

Taught at: A Cappella Fest 2012 & 2013, SoJam 2012

With hundreds of collegiate a cappella groups vying to make their mark, standing out from the crowd can be a challenge. This is especially true for new (or newly ambitious) groups lacking the power of name recognition from previous achievements. While it’s certainly possible to get very lucky with a viral video or celebrity tweet, a much more realistic first step is to make an impact within the a cappella community, as the metrics of success are reasonably well-defined and accessible. In this workshop, we will discuss how to objectively assess the strengths and weaknesses of a group (both artistic and logistical), consider the group’s context within the broader a cappella world, and use this as a framework to set realistic goals and develop specific strategies to achieve them.

Course Documents (Last Updated: 10/11/2013):
Handout (PDF)