“Hey everyone! Drop me a line and let me know about the stuff you are most proud of! It’s so great for all of your instructors to see and hear about your accomplishments.”
Recently, I wanted to compile a database of the incredible work that our Next Level students have done in their respective fields, post-NL. My Facebook feed has been lighting up with proud posts of ICCA and ICHSA triumphs and special awards, compilation and competition placements, new albums and music videos released, new groups forming… you get the picture. Six years and 150 students into Next Level, it’s hard to keep up with the accomplishments of the many talented people I have had the pleasure to meet through this program. Luckily, everyone still communicates regularly, so I posed the question above to them.
The responses floored and humbled me.
Before we dive in any further, I want to take a moment to acknowledge what an honor it is to lead the Next Level program. Today is a great day - any day you have the opportunity to wake up and work with others to make music is a a gift, and I am fortunate that I am afforded this opportunity daily. Working with the TVC team, the Next Level instructors, and all of the graduates amplifies my gratitude even more. It’s true that any of the five day Next Level seminars provides you with tools, tricks and the support that you need to push your music forward, but ultimately Next Level is about how you apply these tools and how you nurture the connections and friendships you make after your session is over.
So, back to my story, I was expecting to hear “I got my first arranging CARA nomination!" and “My rehearsals are so productive after implementing the methods I learned at NL!” and things of that nature. And I did get those responses and I am so invigorated by the successes of each of the Next Level students - they have worked very hard and have much to be proud of.
Photo Credit: Sarah Maskill
What I was NOT expecting was the onslaught of responses to my question that detailed personal growth, emotional growth and the ways in which their week at Next Level impacted their lives beyond the realm of a cappella music making:
“Before I came to Next Level I had pretty much zero confidence in myself as a director, arranger, performer, etc. NL does so much more than teach you how to lead - it teaches you how to embrace your own personal aspects and incorporate them into the music, which is part of what makes a cappella so special in the first place.”
“It's no understatement to say that Next Level change(d) how I perceive life and no understatement to say that Next Level, whether I continued attending or not, changed my life, headspace, goals, and drive for the better by an unfathomable amount.”
“NLProduce 2017 really helped me as an artist and as a person! It helped me figure out what my goals are and what I want to do with my life creatively. Thank you Next Level for helping me find myself again!”
“Truthfully, attending Next Levels has introduced me to people who are positive, caring, and pretty damned talented. I’m 40 years old and am constantly petrified that it’s too late for me, but you all have given me the encouragement to keep chasing that perfect set. Eternally grateful for all of you, even if we haven’t met. You inspire me on the daily.”
See what I mean? The ways in which Next Level participants continue to progress musically, support each other, all while staying humble and hungry is something that inspires me and everyone else at The Vocal Company every day. Today is a GREAT day. Tomorrow will be too! And I sincerely hope that you will apply to join us at Next Level this summer and become a part of this very special family of creators, doers and leaders. I look forward to reading your application!