Just about every week each one of you will attend a rehearsal of some sort or another. It could be your chorus/club regular rehearsal, or it could be your quartet rehearsal. It could be a performance or a workshop even. Whatever the occasion, take the time to say “G’day” to your fellow singing mates. They are sharing this wonderful hobby of barbershop harmony singing with you and you owe it to them to acknowledge their participation and contribution to making you sound so good.
Sometimes we go to rehearsal in a negative frame of mind. We might have had a bad day at work, or something is bothering us at home. Put those worries aside for the few precious hours you have each week, and immerse yourself in beautiful harmony singing. Let yourself be transported spiritually to another place where the issues of your normal world aren’t pressing anymore. Just for a few hours, leave all your cares and worries behind (sounds like the title of a song doesn’t it?).
Have good relationships with your fellow singers and set the scene for actively honouring the music and efforts of those around you by learning and performing it well.
So what level of singer are you? Be honest. Are you new to barbershop? In this case you are now learning the body of skills and knowledge necessary to become a good barbershop singer. Everything is new, but you are eager to learn. You are actively moving from becoming unaware to becoming aware, as you practise your new and exciting skills and apply the knowledge you are learning. You are moving from being a “novice” to being an “apprentice”.
An apprentice is someone who is well aware of the knowledge and skills required to sing and perform well, but is still actively moving towards competency in those skills. Soon you will acquire the competency you are after, but you still have to think about it when you do it. You have become consciously competent – a “journeyman”.
Many of our singers get to this journeyman stage of development and are happy with their achievement. After all, you know all there is to know about barbershop singing and you can execute it reasonably well. But your chorus or quartet is still scoring somewhere between 58 and 72, and you never seem to improve much anymore. It’s now time to aim for “mastery”. This is the unconsciously competent level, where you can execute great singing and performance technique without even thinking about it (you “just do it”). You have internalised the skills and knowledge and you can now teach others all about it.
How cool would it be if we all were “masters” of our artform? It’s not beyond anyone. It just requires dedication and practise of the right things. Good luck in reaching your goals.