AcaMajor Classes

Each camper selects two AcaMajors– areas of specific interest.  You’ll attend your AcaMajors every day, getting hands on learning from some of the most award-winning, highly experienced instructors in a cappella.  Act quickly- AcaMajor slots are first come, first served!

We’re diving head first into the engineering deep end! From conception to final mix, together we’ll explore the entire recording process by recording our own track! For this hands-on, dynamic curriculum we’ll be working together in ProTools and Melodyne to bring our project to life, so there’s no experience or equipment required… but be prepared to take notes!

By the end of this course, students should feel comfortable recording an album with appropriate software and hardware.

Campers spend the week getting hands on experience using HD camera equipment. From shooting on location at Camp A Cappella, to maintaining and editing the content THEY shoot, campers will develop content management skills, social media planning techniques, as well as basic and advanced editing skills. Campers may bring their own camera equipment or computers if they have permission.
By the end of the week, campers will have developed a 3-30 second video about their camp experience to be featured on Camp A Cappella’s social media platforms 2016-2017.
Covers can be powerful in their own right, but there’s nothing like molding your own thoughts and ideas into an original composition – dare to bare your soul with an original song. Through exercises, demonstrations, and peer review, we’ll explore the different tools you can utilize to get into the flow of songwriting and to make your ideas clear and effective, from spark to perspective, form to contrast. By the end of the week, we’ll have broken down the process of songwriting into manageable steps that will allow you to express your ideas and emotions in music.
There will be two classes offered this year:
Intro to Songwriting: By the end of this course, students should know how to approach songwriting (i.e. – creating a melody using lyrics, either original or from other appropriate texts)

Songwriting Cont’d. – For those who are already familiar with basic songwriting structure, this course will further your understanding of lyrics/melody and prepare you for any future goals you have for your songwriting, i.e. writing for your group, pursuing a career, etc.

(Suggested level for 7th-10th graders) Students should be interested in learning the basic steps to approaching a self-arrangement for their vocal ensemble. We will study voice ranges, chord structure, appropriate syllables, texture, text, style and group formation. We will work as a class to develop a short, performable arrangement of a contemporary tune, and will also work on some improvisational skills as we build vocal lines in our own voice/drum parts. Pre-requisites would include a basic knowledge of music theory (note-names, counting skills), a basic idea of ranges and medium sight-reading/aural skills knowledge. Finale, Sibelius, or previous dictation practice is also a plus!
By the end of this course, students should feel comfortable self-arranging an a cappella chart without full transcription, within a rehearsal setting.
(Suggested level for 11th graders through adults) Students should be interested in delving deeper into how to stretch the boundaries in their writing and arranging. We will study song meaning, expression through writing, stylistic choices, writing for group strengths and weaknesses, song form and transitions, and how to draw inspiration and incorporate it into the work. We will work as a class to develop a short, performable arrangement of a contemporary tune, and will also work on some improvisational skills as we build vocal lines in our own voice/drum parts. Pre-requisites would include a more advanced knowledge of music theory, some prior experience with arranging for vocal ensembles and medium sight-reading/aural skills knowledge.
By the end of this course, students should feel comfortable self-arranging an a cappella chart with full transcription for use with their own group.
In this aca-major, two-time ICCA Finals Outstanding Soloist winner Christopher Diaz will focus on the heart of a cappella- the solo. So much rehearsal time in a cappella groups is spent working on group delivery of an arrangement, building group dynamics and learning to function as part of a unit. This major is designed to help you find the star soloist within, using practical, emotionally derived approaches. We’ll talk/sing/explore song choice and repertoire, ornamentation/riffing, imitation vs. innovation, motivation and other advanced techniques, tips and tricks as you learn to take your solos from standard sing-alongs to spectacular storytelling.
By the end of this course, students should better understand how to deliver an aca-amazing solo performance.
Barbershop, the cool but quirky uncle of a cappella singing, packs a secret punch that can really up your game in every a cappella genre. Called A Cappella’s martial art by none other than Deke Sharon himself, Barbershop singing trains you to be a better ensemble singer, to tune better, to interpret music better, and to perform at the highest artistic levels. In short, this best-kept-secret makes you an all-around better musician. In this Aca-major, using various barbershop music examples, learn about singing harmony and how to match, balance and blend with each other and your melody singer to bring that extra sparkle, excitement and emotion to every performance; learn about phrasing and musical interpretation using the lyrics as a guide; learn about accessible and believable performance and how to truly connect with your audience.
By the end of this course, students should have a better understanding of vocal shape, technique, tuning, balance and blend within a vocal ensemble; students should feel more comfortable being emotionally available and believable in performance.
Learn about live production in a cappella music (lights and sound reinforcement). Focus is on basics of staging, technology, and the process of setting up for an event. This is a beginner level class and we ask students who are interested in learning and pursuing production in school or in their communities enroll. Attendees will have the option of assisting with all set up of special concerts.
By the end of this course, students should have the basic knowledge of how sound equipment works in an a cappella setting.
Covers can be powerful in their own right, but there’s nothing like molding your own thoughts and ideas into an original composition – dare to bare your soul with an original song. Through exercises, demonstrations, and peer review, we’ll explore the different tools you can utilize to get into the flow of songwriting and to make your ideas clear and effective, from spark to perspective, form to contrast. By the end of the week, we’ll have broken down the process of songwriting into manageable steps that will allow you to express your ideas and emotions in music.
There will be two classes offered this year:
Intro to Songwriting: By the end of this course, students should know how to approach songwriting (i.e. – creating a melody using lyrics, either original or from other appropriate texts)

Songwriting Cont’d. – For those who are already familiar with basic songwriting structure, this course will further your understanding of lyrics/melody and prepare you for any future goals you have for your songwriting, i.e. writing for your group, pursuing a career, etc.

The novice vocal percussion workshop is for anyone who is interested in learning about vocal drumming. The lessons will focus on crafting basic sounds and rhythms, practicing methods to self-improve, and understanding the role of rhythm in a successful a cappella group. Those with little or no experience regarding rhythm or beatboxing are welcome in this workshop because things won’t get too intense. You won’t be put on the spot and there are no wrong answers! Here we will explore the fun of making silly noises with friends and letting loose so that you can find your own potential.
By the end of this course, students should understand basic concepts and how to create vocal percussion sounds.
The Rhythm Section is for VP’s and basses serious about improving their craft and taking their expertise to the next level. Attendees should be prepared to work and receive constructive feedback on an individual level. A pre-existing general knowledge of vocal percussion and bass technique is strongly recommended in order to benefit from the class. Lessons will focus primarily on song structure, tone, placement, groove, breath patterns and techniques to construct complex rhythms independently. Bringing a personal notepad is recommended but not required.
By the end of this course, students should be able to string together appropriate drum sounds to create vocal percussion and solo material for a concert. They will also be able to effectively work as a rhythm section.
In this aca-major, students will learn how to use looping technology and electronic effects in their live performances . Students will also learn about the equipment and software used to enhance live shows, as seen in the groups Dakaboom and ARORA. Technology can tend to be somewhat off-putting in a genre so focused on the natural. However, if used creatively, electronics can help enhance the power of the voice and open up new exciting sound worlds to explore and get lost in. Whether you are looking for something simple but effective to bring to your group of 15 or if you are interested in creating an hour long one (wo)man show, this major will be sure to open up a universe of creative possibilities for your art.
By the end of this course, students will better understand how to use technology in an a cappella group.

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