What It Takes To Be the Best

Each day, in schools around the country, students enter a classroom and create music using their voices or any number of instruments. Starting with simple unison songs and plastic recorders, America’s youth can quickly advances to include repertoire from the world’s finest composers. It’s part of everyone’s education at some point, but what does it take to really be the best?

This week, the country’s top ensembles from middle and high school will meet in Indianapolis to perform for world class adjudicators at the Music For All National Festival. Over three days, we’ll hear percussion, orchestral, instrumental, and choral pieces from 70 groups, with musicians just eleven to eighteen years old.

As making it to this stage is the achievement, there won’t be any winners crowned this week. Here’s what it took to get here:

Commitment to Excellence

When a student commits to a top-level ensemble, following through on that commitment is critical. Rehearsal attendance and remaining focused through long hours of practicing is a crucial piece of the puzzle. The best ensembles in the world can rehearse nearly every day and often for long hours. On top of rehearsing together, individual members are also expected to practice on their own.

With at-home practice, ensembles can spend more rehearsal time blending as a group and putting on the finishing touches, as opposed to fixing notes, rhythms, and technique during group time. With better focus in rehearsals, time spent together is more productive.

Taking on a Challenge

Music is for everyone but taking on a high-level choir requires taking a more advanced approach to repertoire selection. Selecting piece that require a high level of musicianship – complicated chord structures and advanced rhythms – executed with professional level interpretation leads to next level results.

Attention to Detail

A musical ensemble has a lot of moving parts, challenging even the best directors in attending to all the details. But with time, ensembles can be trained to correct themselves, leaving only the very advanced corrections to be done with the director.

Taking the time to gain a strong understanding general concepts around blend, balance, diction, pronunciation and dynamics can make a piece ready for final polish at a much higher rate.

Enjoying the Ride

Just like most things in life, there has to a be a balance of hard work and fun. When students are enjoying the music, there is a high retention level and recruitment is easier. As the ensemble gains more experience and has a strong influx of new members, a legacy is born. Directors achieve this by creating a supportive creative atmosphere where students feel safe, comfortable, and fearless.

Since there is always room to grow, groups will receive detailed evaluations and individualized critiques, masterclasses and additional rehearsal and performance opportunities. 

Watch the performances LIVE right here on FloVoice March 14-16.

Varsity Vocals: The Road To Finals

The big dance in New York is a little over a month away, but the road to get there started long before even this school year for many of the groups who will advance to the stage at PlayStation Theater.

FloVoice & Varsity Vocals Announce Historic A Cappella Partnership

The world’s biggest a cappella event to air exclusively on FloVoice.com

The Effects Of Classical Music No Matter What Genre You Love

Incorporating pop music into traditional music education is a hot topic for school teachers as of late. However, the greatest thing about music is that you don't have to love and practice just one style or even just one instrument. In fact, some of the best musicians out there, pop or not, have a deep history with classical and traditional styles.

#BHSOpry Comes To A Grand Close

After nearly a week of barbershop excellence, the curtain has closed on the 2019 Barbershop Harmony Society Midwinter Convention, where singers young and old crossed the Grand Ole Opry stage, historic contests were held and thousands of people had their love of singing renewed.

A Variety Of Excellence At #BHSOpry Chorus Invitationals


They may have all been singing the same style of music, but Day Two at the BHS Midwinter Convention was anything but indistinguishable.

Next Generation Barbershop Brings Electric Energy To #BHSOpry


In a ballroom full of singers and fans of all ages, the first Next Generation Junior Quartet Contest took the stage at Gaylord Opryland. The BHS Next Generation Program serves the youth population with two divisions: Junior (18 & younger) and Varsity (25 & younger). 

Seniors Will Shine At 2019 Midwinter Convention #BHSOpry

There have been a deluge of studies lately proclaiming the benefits of music. We’ve of course known it all along, but there is now verifiable proof that singing in a group can combat loneliness, keep the mind active and even lead to some physical health benefits. Everything from finding new friends to syncopating heartbeats can happen on the risers.

Making History Where History Happens: Inside The Grand Ole Opry

After 80 years as a men’s organization, the Barbershop Harmony Society announced in 2018 that membership would now be open to all. This year’s Midwinter Convention will be the first since the membership change and as the society descend on Nashville this week, we look back at why the Grand Ole Opry may just be the perfect place for Society to make history.

A Spectacular Saturday Night At The Opry: Midwinter Convention Approaches

Final preparations are underway for the Barbershop Harmony Society Midwinter Convention in Nashville next week, and while the competitors are putting on the final polish and everyone is packing their bags, we’re looking ahead to what’s primed to be a fantastic night in barbershop.