Hypebot’s 3 C’s to Effectively Branding Your Music Group
Hypebot recently posted a great article about how to effectively brand your music group. Author Hisham Dahud explains the ‘3 Cs of effective branding’: Clarity, Consistency and Constancy. I love this part:
You don’t want to be all things to all people, especially when you’re just starting out. You do want to be the leader a particular tribe based on what you believe individually, and thus express artistically … So ask yourself: “What makes me distinctive? And how do I communicate that?”
Branding and marketing is something that a cappella groups (especially collegiate groups) don’t think about either because they think it’s unimportant, or that it’s something icky, but from our experience, it really can make all the difference between obscurity and getting your music out there.
Which a cappella group best exemplifies the three Cs?
Music Marketing Resources: How to Run a Band
If you’re the business manager or president of an a cappella group, you know that running a successful group is only partly about making great music - it’s also about financing and marketing a small business. This is a series of posts highlighting our favorite music marketing resources.
How to Run a Band (howtorunaband.com)
How to Run a Band is a blog by musician Chris “Seth” Jackson, where he documents his band’s experiments in getting their music out there, growing their fan base and making a little money along the way.
I love this blog because of its emphasis on practical, immediately applicable tips. I can’t emphasize enough how plain useful a lot of his insights are. Although the blog is geared towards bands, lots of the suggestions are easily applicable to a cappella groups. Some great ones:
- 25 Things Your Band Can Sell at Shows and Your Website: Other than shirts and CDs, what does your a cappella group sell at it’s merch table? Here’re suggestions for more kinds of swag.
- No One Will Remember Your Band: 10 Ways to Stop Being Forgettable: You did it! You have a great opportunity to perform in front of lots of people at a really popular hangout or a cappella festival. How do ensure that you aren’t “just another a cappella group”?
- Need Better Shows? Start with Other Bands: Most groups make the majority of their income from gigs. Here’re tips for getting better shows.
- 20 Easy Ways to Have FUN and Get More Fans!: It’s easy to get caught up in the BOCA-submitting and the ICCA-competing. How can you help your group maintain the same sense of joy that got them interested in singing in the first place?
- 10 Ideas to Promote Your Show In a Different City: Tours are a great way to bring your music to new places, but how do you get the word out in a place you’ve never been to before?
Q:Loved the Music That Matters post, good stuff. What would be your first tips to somebody looking to arrange a cappella?
Thanks! We asked our Musical Director, Andre Shomorony, to weigh in on tips for someone looking to arrange a cappella:
First Things First
The first step to arranging a song is to find out which type of acappella arrangement would be most compatible with the group’s style and voices. It’s important to determine how closely the arrangement will resemble the original song’s instrumentation, and how much and what kind of new material will be added. Being true to an original song is usually a safe bet, though a different spin, achieved through modified tempo, key, chord progression etc, can often make an arrangement much more exciting.
Sketch It Out
I’d recommend starting with an outline (even if just a mental one) of the different sections that an arrangement will have, focusing on the texture and general rhythmic patterns that each section will employ. Once that is clear, the arranger should use some kind of music composition software, such as Sibelius or Finale, to write individual voice parts, always paying attention to issues such as range and “singability” of individual lines.
Following some basic voice-leading rules is usually a good idea, even when writing modern pop arrangements. In terms of syllable choice, one shouldn’t necessarily try to exactly imitate real instrument sounds. A strong arrangement can usually be put together just with consonants such as “d”, “j”, “m” and “n” and with pure, straight vowels, forming syllables such as “dm”, “na”, or “jen”. For less active and/or slower sections, “oohs” and “aahs” can usually be held out to expose the solo and give it more weight.
Clean It Up
Homophony with the solo is another useful technique, which will often be used to create a “wall of sound” in the shoe while still emphasizing the lyrics and contour of the melody. The two B’s of any arrangement, balance and blend, always go hand-in-hand and are usually a result of good syllable choice and dynamics. Once all the notes are written, the arranger should go back and make sure each section has clear dynamics markings and any important comments on style.
Finally, one should never forget that an arrangement should be fun to sing: an acappella performance sounds much better when singers are having a good time.
Hope this helps! Feel free to shoot another note if you have any more questions!
Musical Director, Yale Out of the Blue
Winter Tour 2012: Public Performances!
Photo: Effusion A Cappella of McGill University performing at the Rialto.
Wondering where OOTB will be when we’re back together on January 2nd? Want to catch a performance kick off your year?
Here is a list of our public performances - we hope to see you at one (or more)!
TUESDAY, JANUARY 3rd, 2012
Boloco at 1080 Boylston Street (near Berklee)
Boston, MA 02115
Attend our event on Facebook!
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4th, 2012
CHARLOTTE PUBLIC LIBRARY
115 Ferry Road
Charlotte, VT 05445
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5th, 2012
188 Main Street
Burlington, VT 05401
SATURDAY, JANUARY 7th, 2012