How to Sing Acapella When You Can't Sing

April 9, 2018
By 80schick BRONZE, Newton, Massachusetts
80schick BRONZE, Newton, Massachusetts
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When you can’t sing, all you want to do is do it! In the shower, the car, or even the school talent show, you want to display your non-existent gift. Movies such as the Pitch Perfect franchise emphasize the importance of joining a collegiate a cappella band and touring the country in a mini-van. It can be depressing to watch your favorite celebrities shatter hearts - and mirrors - with their impeccable pitch, yet be confined to a lifetime of singing silence. But just don’t “Cry Me a River,”:


Study the greats
Glee exists for a reason! This cast literally shows up every week with tighter, more bedazzled outfits to bring their viewers yet another spectacular number filled with teenage angst. Watch just one season of Lea Michele attempting to hide her geeky love for Cory Monteith while belting broadway and you’ll be ready for the big stage - mentally, not quite physically yet.


Have a backup plan
Did you know that there is also an amazing thing called lip syncing? Yes, folks there is a whole show on Spike TV dedicated to watching celebrities roll around on stage faking singing. This is a sport for people like you and me! If singing doesn’t work out for you then try this option - still fun, still amazing, still can involve Shakira.


Apparently, all that matters to teenage girls are dresses. It’s like a fever that rises and rises until it erupts all over facebook and I want to crawl into a hole. An institution at my high school, semi is “the event” of junior year. Girls scramble to find dates, the right hairstylist, and most importantly the right outfit. Boys just cruise by and get excited for the after-parties. Signs and proposals are designed by girls so all the boy has to do is show up. The silver tables by the stairs is semi headquarters. Flocks of seagulls, I mean students, gather to exchange the latest rumours and survey their competition. Those tables hold so much prominence and influence. Not everyone can sit their of course, it would be weird if the captain of the science team sat there, would it? Of course not. But the reigning queen of the class of 2019 presides over her court with an iron fist - all decisions must go through her. I used to hate walking past that area but now it’s a new comedy show everyday. To me, makeup and hooking-up have never held much value over the latest SNL episode or an interesting book, yet I see these girls enthralled in a world of materialistic, shallow expectations.

Today I sit here in quiet. Class is in session so the tables are just tables, not symbols of popularity. They are shiny, cold, hard plastic and in every-way do not invite me to sit down. There is so much gum stuck under there - I thought I should just note that. There is no warmth or liveliness in this part of the building. Voices echo down the hallway and I can hear people giggling. I wish this was a place of giggling not gossip.

Kidnap supportive friends
This speaks for itself. If you seriously are going to expose yourself in a public demeanor you need some girl love by your side - Sex and the City version. Grab Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha and explain to them your diabolical plan. Hopefully, they will be there for you all the way (and provide some funky outfits).

Buy a karaoke machine
Practice makes perfect. I personally love to experiment with 80s songs. Channel your inner popstar and dance around at home in your fuzzy socks. The more you slide down the hallway and listen to Madonna's “Like A Prayer” the more entertaining you will be on stage. Another trick I recommend is re-watching as well as re-creating the Rocky montage - sometimes it is better to over prepare!

Movies have an amazing ability to blur the line between fantasy and reality. As a ten-year old in a secluded, British private school, I yearned to enter the world of a classic all American high school. Movies such as “Sleepover” and “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” served as my conceptions of public school authenticity. In a class of twenty-two international students, I was the bubbly, energetic ‘American’ - I made lifelong friends; however I was constantly searching for “the one”. All I wanted was the “movie best friend”: the movie best friend engaged in pillow fights, stood up to bullies, and managed to always be up for a montage of a shopping spree.

Watch Little Miss Sunshine
This is the single best on-screen performance for someone who feels completely out of their league in terms of singing, dancing, comedic abilities or all other public events. Abigail Breslin shines as a chubby nine-year old with a fantastic personality amidst the pomp and cruel insincerities of the pageant world. Thrust against nine beautiful, slim competitors Abigail performs an outrageous dance routine to Superfreak shocking the crowd and wowing her parents. Though under no standards a superb dancer, Breslin charmes moviegoers with her onstage presence and confidence so this movie is a must watch. Just find your groove and groove it! As long as you are having fun and don’t take yourself too seriously, your performance will be one to remember.


Don’t give a s***
Seriously, don’t give two of them. That’s what this is all about - letting it loose mentally and physically! I promise that in order to leave it all out on the stage you have to leave all the stress and self-judgement out in the trash. Do some pre-singing exercises, Sharpay Evans style, get your costume on, and get ready to shine.

Entering middle schooll, I was the typical new kid. I talked way to much and tried to fit in in every way. I had never heard of lululemon before sixth grade and I remember being shocked seeing the collections of expensive headbands and outfits my classmates wore everyday. When my mother finally conceded to purchase the headwear monstrosity, I felt like the happiest girl on earth. The next day I wore my neon orange wrap to school only to notice that the next big thing was white top converses.

I made two amazing decisions during middle school: I decided to take Chinese and take the bus to and from school. My father and I agreed upon the fact that as a future business mogul I would need to speak Chinese in order to communicate efficiently with a majority of my future clientele. From rolling dumplings, watching Mulan, to painting characters, I fell in love with Chinese class and my amazing teacher Mrs. Meng. I began to connect with my desk partner who quickly became current best friend of five years Annie Lee Hassett. With her fiery red hair and infectious smile, Annie introduced me to her group of equally quirky and interesting friends.

My second accomplishment involved waiting in rain or shine for a big yellow rectangle on wheels. Everyday it clankered down the street, screeching to a stop before my house. The first day I rode the bus was the hardest both emotionally and physically. I wasn’t used to the delicate process of carrying my heavy book bag up the narrow stairs yet maintaining composure while finding an empty seat. By the time the bus reached my house it was almost full, leaving me to improvise my sitting arrangements.

Thank goodness for Julia! If it wasn’t for her blinding blue nails waving frantically to me from the very back aisle on that very first ride I would never have gotten that seat nor my second best friend.

With Annie and Julia by my side I finally shed my nervousness and emerged an 80s loving, movie-adoring nerd!


Listen to “Let It Go”
After all, this is what made “Frozen” a disney classic. You won’t get enough of seeing Elsa transform into that beautiful, powerful GODDESS of winter magic. A mystical song full of Idina Menzel’s powerful voice, the ballad speaks to exactly what you need to do before you begin you performance. Like athletes do before competition (ever seen Michael Phelps in the Olympics locker room) pop those earbuds in and turn up the volume!

If home is where the heart is, then my heart is definitely in the movies. My heart likes to spend hours on end inside the dark theatre, slurping sugary drinks and singing along to soundtracks that define first loves and figure-skating champions. It’s not even that I like popcorn all that much - although with just the right amount of butter it can be delicious. Movies provide much more than a mental escape for me, they provide billions of universes to explore, analyze, and re-visit.

As a high school junior, I know exactly who I am. At least I’m pretty sure I do. I know I’m a caring, intelligent, fantabulous and geeky homo sapien who is surrounded by a group of great people. I know I am a field hockey forward, a varsity tennis player, and a movie club founder. I know my passion for knowledge and theatre. I know all the words to “Don’t Stop Me Now”. I know that the only way I gotta accept who I am is by not caring. I don’t care anymore what the most popular trend is or who is dating who and all the other meaningless factors that could blur my true self. I know that you can be happy by just being you - and by embracing your inner karaoke queen.


Self-explanatory. Will get your body pumping!
Down one and get on stage!
EXCEPT IF YOU ARE UNDER 21 --- a shirley temple will have to do

Talia’s Top 10 Favorite Songs: CHOOSE ONE AND BELT IT OUT
Dancing Queen by ABBA ( a classic hit and perfect for twirling around the house)
Uptown Girl by Billy Joel (never gets old)
Slim Shady by Eminem (get out your favorite pair of sunglasses) 
Hakuna Matata (disney + a calming message = formula for success)
Little Lies by Fleetwood Mac (to feed your country desires)
Let it Go (Seen above)
Take on Me (because who doesn’t love an 80’s anthem)
Africa by Toto (Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake vibes)
Little Lies (makes me want to own a harmonica and be british)

The author's comments:

This piece is inspired by my expiriences about fitting in at school and how I found my identity through a love of music, movies, and all things 80s!

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