Anatomy of an All-Stater

Does everybody here know who Dave Ramsey is? If not, stop reading this and go learn about him immediately! When the Bradleys got married, we decided to read more about budgeting so that we could be on one page as a married couple and we have been Dave Ramsey disciples ever since.

Dave always says: “If you want to be rich you have to stop taking advice from poor people.” So he studies millionaires and usually finds that they have traits in common: concrete behaviors, things you may not expect.

So this got me thinking…. what are the typical traits or common predictors of an All State Choir Member?

Sure, just like there are millionaires who rose to status by having an ideal for a cool app or winning the lottery, there are all different kinds of All Staters as well. Our studio has seen lots of them these past few years and all of them are unique and talented students but they all have crucial attributes and behaviors in common.

  1. They take hour-long private voice lessons year round. Truly, year-round: summer, winter break, even coming over during spring break so they don’t miss a week. We see these students probably 48 weeks out of the year and they show up prepared, on time, and ready to go.
  2. They attend a summer preparation camp. We know, summers are crazy busy…but the best way to get a jump start on the music is to immerse yourself in a multi-day University-sponsored camp. It’s also a great way to get to know other students with common interests and experience being on a college campus.
  3. They are thirsty for knowledge. They might know their music backwards and forwards, memorized and a capella but they still attend every sectional, workshop, and mock audition they can find… Even the ones where their classmates are just beginning to learn the notes and rhythms. They show up every time just in case they can grab one more nugget of knowledge that will help their audition and to get some supervised practice.
  4. They do not take criticism personally. They will sing their music for anyone who will listen and will take their advice to heart. They will also try anything that is asked of them just in case it works.
  5. They are high achievers in all aspects of their lives. Their grades are good, they are respected by their peers and liked by their teachers. Oftentimes they are involved in leadership and service in many organizations in the school and community. Their default is giving 110% and so when it comes to All State, that hard work feels natural.
  6. They are scrappy. They have heard “no” more times than “yes”….but they get back up again, learn from their mistakes, and do better the next time. Resilience is key.
  7. They have a support system. They are surrounded by teachers, family, and friends who cheer them on. I don’t know of a student who has been able to emerge from a cave after teaching themselves the music and make the choir. Lastly and perhaps most importantly…
  8. They practice well. Sure, they may have had the tracks playing on the car stereo while they drove to school (passive practice), but they understand that fruitful practice requires concentration, planning, goals and measurable outcomes. (More on this later)

Now…did you notice what is missing from this list? Oh yeah, that elusive thing called “natural talent”. Listen, we’ve had a rock star natural talent who made first chair in the All-State Mixed Choir….on his first try. He has a freakish amount of talent and a unique voice, but also possesses all of these other attributes. We also have a student who was basically deemed tone-deaf in 6th grade but scraped and clawed his way into the choir by Junior year… the complete embodiment of all of these qualities but with a super-human work ethic.

What are some traits or behaviors that you believe make up the ideal All Stater? Comment below!


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