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Artikel Tagged ‘Pitch Perfect’

Pitch Perfect Unpicked – Deke Sharon & Nick Girard talk, teach and make noises at LACF2014

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog – posted live from London A Cappella Festival 2014

Florian Steve Jobs live Städtler (Foto Ellen Schmauss)This is basically what I overheard in a London A Cappella Festival workshop by two a cappella big shots of the US vocal music scene: Deke Sharon, “the man who invented a cappella in 1991″, TV producer and overall a cappella mastermind and Nick Girard (singer and vocal percussionist with The Housejacks and Overboard) got up on King’s Place Hall Two and started talking. The workshop started according to its title with Deke rushing through the US vocal music history from Barbershop and Ivy League traditional collegiate a cappella to the successful a cappella movie Pitch Perfect. Then surprisingly (maybe a bit disappointingly for those who were keen on learning more that a few, quick anecdotes…and probably didn’t read the festival programme like me), this turned into beginners’ vocal percussionist and instrument imitation workshop.

So while two-hundred collegiate, semi-pro a cappella and choir singers “boomed” and “chicked” and “tsssd”,  fiddled, blew and picked imaginary instruments, I took out my laptop and tried to catch a few of aca-celebrity quotes, tips and tricks from how to make an a cappella movie and not spit at your friends while you lip buzz.

“You know the myth: In the US, a cappella is big and we’re all rich. – Well, that’s the myth.” (Deke Sharon)


Deke Sharon doing the trumpet, trombone, muted trumpet, violin et al

“Old England is great too, I’m talking about the US New England here.” (Deke Sharon)

“A cappella started out as Ivy League thing, but during the last years, it has exploded.” (Deke Sharon)

“We want to make an a cappella movie….!” “That’s a terrible idea.” (Deke Sharon)

“There was no vomiting involved in the non-fiction book.” (Deke Sharon)

“The movie ended up being made. But it wasn’t necessarily easy.” (Deke Sharon)

“The bottom line is: This will be a comedy, so we will have to make fun of our community. But on the other hand, the music had to be good.” (Deke Sharon)

“This was a movie that was on a very, very tight budget.” (Deke Sharon)

“I had no idea how these girls should win as it is written in the script.” (Deke Sharon)

“Here at LACF we’re literally preaching to the choir.” (Deke Sharon)

“Music is communication. You must be able to reach people with your voices.” (Deke Sharon)

“Vocal percussion and beatbox are essentially synonymous in our community.” “However, I as a vocal percussionist see myself as a member of band. It’s not about the beatbox competition pyrotechnics.” (Nick Girard)

“A great beatboxer often not makes a great vocal percussionist in a group: Vocal percussionists first and foremost will keep the time.” (Deke Sharon)

Nick Girard teaching vocal percussion

Nick Girard teaching vocal percussion

“Don’t listen to vocal percussionists – listen to real drummer doing their thing.” (Nick Girard)

“The breathing’s gonna get complicated.” (Nick Girard)

“The end of this sound looks like this.” (Nick Girard)

“If you’re afraid of looking stupid, you should probably not start with vocal percussion. And sorry, you will end up looking stupid even when you are very good at it.” (Nick Girard)

“It really sounds disgusting, this collective spiting, clearing throats.” (Florian Städtler)

“I don’t have to breathe anymore. Because I’m relaxed.” (Nick Girard)

“There have to be one or two trombone solos on YouTube.” (Deke Sharon)

“I learned this (the muted trumpet) after I got married.” (Deke Sharon)

“It’s that ugliness that you have to keep!” (Deke Sharon)

“Just say ‘Helluh, Gov’na!’” (Deke Sharon)

“Before you know it, you have a semi-marketable skill.” (Deke Sharon)

“A lot of what you hear when you sing bass, is your microphone.” (Nick Girard)

“I’m a baritenor.” (Nick Girard)

“The first thing you need for a cappella improvisation is no fear.” (Deke Sharon) “And maybe be a bit drunk.” (Nick Girard)

“It (improvisation Housejacks style) comes as a lovely soufflé of chaos and stupidity.” (Deke Sharon)

“We don’t mind if it goes wrong.” (John Pointer, The Housejacks)

“As members of the great British perfect music machine, you tend to forget about what this is all about: How does it make you feel and how can you share that feeling with other people.” (Deke Sharon)”

At work while the US guys are preaching :-) #VBontour

At work while the US guys are preaching :-) #VBontour

I’m Florian Städtler , a happy, happy man, because I can afford to spend four days in London meeting some of the coolest, most intelligent and lovely people I know. Vocal Blog has become my connection to this tiny, wonderful, nerdy, enthusiastic community of a cappella. If you like what you read and see, follow me via Twitter, like the Facebook fan page, join the Facebook group, watch 600+ videos at the Acappellazone YouTube channel. And you want to keep me and Vocal Blog going, buy vocal music CDs, DVDs, sheet music and cool stuff at my shop at