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Intro to Barbershop: One year completed... now what?

January 9, 2018

As you near your first anniversary as a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society, we hope you’ve found the experience fulfilling and energizing. You’ve become part of a very large world with a long history, culture, and traditions -- and one we believe is making a real difference in people’s lives in ways large and small.

Now is a good time to reflect on your barbershop life, and look into what the coming years offer you as a singer and a member.

Over the past year, we’ve offered a wide-ranging discussion of the barbershop world. (Skip to the bottom to see the full monthly topic list.) We’d like to learn from you which items you loved, which left you indifferent, puzzled, or displeased. We’ve created this quick feedback survey -- 8 questions, about 90 seconds long -- to find out what you’ve learned.

Looking back on your first year

The most important question we can ask you today is, are you happy in your barbershop experience so far? When you tell your family and friends about barbershop -- what do you say? We know that most people don’t stop liking barbershop music, but sometimes circumstances can alter the degree of commitment you can make to participating. It’s also true that a compelling barbershop experience makes it easy to prioritize it as a mental health activity, even while you are busy with family and career obligations. How can you make your barbershop life better still? How can we help?

Looking forward to your next year in barbershop

Barbershop is probably deeply enmeshed in your life now, with your ears ringing seventh chords as you drift off to sleep. Maybe you’ve already ventured outside your own chapter to attend conventions, visit other chapters, or compete. If you haven’t -- do it! In the coming year, explore everything barbershop has to offer.

Go to a show

There’s a lot of barbershop going on all around you, if only you knew where to look. Stay on top with the Barbershop Show Calendar.

Get involved in chapter and district leadership

You're a year into your barbershop life, and everyone’s asking if you’ll help out. Take a role in running your chapter -- maybe as part of a project team -- and you’ll gain a new appreciation for the timeworn truth: “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

Dive deeply into barbershop education

The more you know, the more you’ll love this art form and lifestyle. Learn at home by way of Harmony University Online. Splurge on the week-long Harmony University experience. Grab a quick weekend dose at a district education event.

Here's what you've learned in the "Intro To Barbershop" series

What is Barbershop?

  • What is barbershop music, how is it arranged and sung?
  • The basics
  • Taking a look back
  • The music and chords
  • “I know it when I hear it” — sing the Barberpole Cat songs

Five ways you can sing in a barbershop group

  • Singing in a VLQ (Very Large Quartet)
  • Singing Valentines
  • Starting your own quartet
  • Chapter small groups (church singers, holiday groups, etc.)
  • Mixed-voice (men + women) harmony groups

Learning the language of Barbershop

Sorting through the alphabet soup of barbershop abbreviations, acronyms and in-jokes

Performing for audiences, judges, and the barbershop community

  • The traditional “annual show”
  • Casual community performances and entertainment for hire
  • Barbershop festivals, outreach and convention activities
  • Barbershop contests

Fuel for your barbershop fire

  • How barbershop merchandise expands your choices for growth and enjoyment
  • Where do barbershop arrangements come from?

Learning and growing as a Barbershopper

  • How to learn at your chapter meeting or chorus coaching sessions
  • Personal study and private vocal instruction
  • Harmony University: the week-long experience

Coaches and judges help you move from good to great

  • Why go to contest?
  • How you will be judged in contest
  • What to expect from a coach
  • Where to find coaches

Have fun singing casual harmony

  • Learn to sing a tag
  • Learn to woodshed
  • Attend a Harmony Brigade event

Launching the Next Generation of barbershop singers

  • Barbershop programs for youth
  • How to reach out to educators

Building a habitat for harmony

  • How to find help for your chapter’s growth and satisfaction
  • Opportunities for leadership

Everyone in Harmony

  • Side by side with Sweet Adelines International and Harmony, Inc. and mixed harmony
  • World wide reach
  • The generosity of donors
  • Everyone in Harmony