Sunday, August 14, 2011

Phoenix 2011: Lessons From the District

Do's and Don't-s in the Fine Arts world.
  1. When singing for the first time, do not pick a song with an extremely long instrumental. It will be awkward for you, even with good stage presence. I'm not saying you should pick an easy song, but I am saying that you need to pick one you're comfortable with.
  2. From that note, here's another tip for singing, dancing, and/or playing an instrument (or anything that requires music): Do not pick a song that twenty other girls/guys will do, especially when it comes to singing--- actually, specifically referring to singing. "How Great Thou Art" is classic, yes, but not classy. I'll bet seventy other kids (and that's only at District!) will do it, but only a few will be remembered. If you want to pick a song that everyone else will do, you should have massive skills and a lot of experience so that you will stand out. Same with instruments. If you're gonna do a commonly played song, add some extra stuff to it so that people are like, "Is that... Oh my gosh, it is!" when they discover that you're playing one of their favorite songs. I think you would agree: "Amazing Grace" is a little overplayed and could use some switching up.
  3. Do not eat ice cream before singing if you have articulation problems.
  4. Do not name a drama after the Fine Arts/Speed The Light theme. Big no-no.
  5. Do make time to tell kids from your church that they did great!
  6. Do remember to pray before practices--- it can make all the difference. That was something our band struggled with, but whenever we did remember to pray over our practices, it always ended up being a great practice. If we had only remembered to pray at every practice...
  7. Do talk to someone if you have certain insecurities that are keeping you from joining a group and/or trying a new category. If you tell someone what's holding you back, you'll feel a burden lift off your shoulders and it just might reassure you that it couldn't be all that bad to give it a try.
  8. Do be a leader. If something's wrong, let the actual leader know so that the group doesn't have to all suffer. In band, the day we performed at Nationals, the kids all forgot to print lyrics which are essential for the competition and can take off three points from your score if you don't have them. So, here's what I say: If you want something done, you have to do it yourself. I knew that that would probably happen, and even before then, no one was acting like they were gonna print out the lyrics, so I did it myself. That can make the difference between Nationals and "better luck next year".
  9. Do have fun! Enjoy the ride! If you're ever in a situation when you get to ride on a plane with some of your friends, be sure to bring stuff that will make the trip fun, even if that means a game of cards. And also, have fun while you're there! One of your top goals is to get to know these people you're traveling with--- you just might have the time of your life.
  10. Do not use NFAF week to land your crush! Now, if you're falling in love with your human video stunt partner, don't act on your crush until you've returned home! You only have a week to spend all this time with them, which is like heaven if you think about it... practically living in the same building as your crush for an entire week. But, use the week to get to know your crush, not to propose. You'll never know... you might discover that they make a better friend than boyfriend/girlfriend or you just might love them more.
  11. Do not doubt yourself! Anything is possible with God! Our band's first practice was terrible, and I thought Nationals was nowhere in reach. But then I realized, guitars are not easy to tune. Drums are not easy to keep a steady beat with--- it's a lot of multitasking, as I am currently trying to figure out the drums. Bass guitar is a lot more than just strumming four strings... it's just like a guitar with frets and everything (my daddy's bass is fretless because he's very talented in that area--- Beat that!), only it's strummed very differently and the strings don't break as easily. Piano is an instrument that you're lucky if you can correctly place your fingers on the keys. Harmonies take a lot of thought to create--- I should know! But then, within four practices we had kicked it in high gear! And then came my favorite part--- the callback that lead to Nationals.
  12. Do not get upset because you got one too many negative comments from the judges on your performance. Think about it like this: If you listen to what they're saying, you have an even better chance at going to Nationals next year because you'll have experience and you'll know what the judges want from you!
  13. Do let yourself be inspired by other performances! Start by watching random performances with your spare time. It might get you interested in trying that. I've done that, and it's inspired me to try an ASL category (okay, maybe "Switched at Birth" inspired that one), a possible Spanish vocal solo although I can't speak Spanish, and storytelling.
  14. Do remember what Fine Arts is all about! It's not about the college scholarship. It's not about being the best Christian Band in Fine Arts history (we're looking at YOU, Sherman Mountain Boys). Not about a killer human video that looks like a cheerleading routine. It's about finding your gift. It's about developing your talents. It's about reaching out. It's about God. Remember that.

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