Coaching Under Glass: An Interview with Midtown quartet
The newly-minted 5th place medalists share their Coaching Under Glass experience
At the 2018 International Convention in Orlando, the recently-formed quartet Midtown participated in one of the Quartet Coaching Under Glass sessions being offered as part of the Harmony University classes.
Open to all registered BHS quartets on a first-come, first-served basis, these sessions offer an opportunity to participate in a 45-minute coaching session with an experienced coach in front of an audience, demonstrating successful quartet rehearsal practices, vocal technique, and performance skills throughout the coaching.
After making a big splash at the 2019 convention in Salt Lake City, we asked the newly-minted 5th place medalists to share their Coaching Under Glass experience with us!
Some answers edited for clarity and length
Q: You knew you weren't going to be competing, yet you still planned on making the trip as a new quartet. Why?
Midtown: We knew that we wanted to get a solid foundation under us before we stepped on a contest stage. And the Coaching Under Glass opportunity solidified our decision to come to Orlando and get some quality rehearsal and coaching time together. We've all seen other Coaching Under Glass sessions before and they are amazing, so we jumped at the chance to be a part of one!
Q: Describe your experience of being coached in front of a live audience?
Midtown: Honestly, it was so much more relaxing than we anticipated! The crowd is supporting you the whole time and when you see their reactions to noticeable improvements you make in real time, that's just an awesome feeling. And for us, the Coaching Under Glass session was the first coaching session we had as a quartet! So it was even more rewarding to get some amazing feedback from the audience, as well as some top level coaching from [BHS Music Education Specialist] Steve Scott. It was instrumental to our development as a new quartet.
Q: What would you say you got most out of this opportunity?
Midtown: I think the most valuable thing about Coaching Under Glass was the audience interaction and reactions. Sometimes in coaching sessions, all you have to go off of is the reaction of the coach. And while that is good, it's even more impactful when you have an entire audience reacting to the new things you are doing and the drastic improvements happening right in front of them. It also allows you to stay really focused and engaged the entire session. Heck, if we could have an audience for every coaching session, we would!
Q: What advice would you give other quartets out there that may be interested in taking advantage of this type of coaching experience?
Midtown: DO IT! Don't even hesitate. Forget the fear and the worry and the anxiety. Once you see how impactful this format can be for your group, you'll want to keep doing it over and over.
Interested in Participating?
Since it debuted in 2018 at our Midwinter convention in Costa Mesa, Coaching Under Glass sessions have been offered for BHS-registered quartets at Harmony University, Midwinter, and the International conventions in Orlando and Salt Lake City. Watch for sign up information at barbershop.org/education, in LiveWire, or on our social media channels.
Coaching spots are limited, be sure to sign up early!
Danny Becker is the BHS Quartet Success Manager. This role supports a key aim of Everyone In Harmony - to encourage more and more healthy quartets by revitalizing the suite of quartet products and services. Danny has been the unofficial “quartet guy” at HQ since 2013 as a member of the BHS Customer Service team.
Midtown is the current BHS 5th place quartet medalist. Based in Manhattan NY, Midtown is a dynamic, international award winning vocal quartet that provides an entertainment experience capable of catering to multiple venues, audiences, and ages.
Well versed in pop, jazz, barbershop, gospel, and musical theater, their high-energy show takes the audience on a ride that will leave them wanting more! They are Nick Gordon (t), Anthony Fortino (l), KJ McAleesejergins (br), and Christian O’Neill Diaz (bs). Follow them on Facebook!