How Nonsense Syllables Taught Me Leadership

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It is Sunday afternoon and my friends and I are all making nonsense syllables. “Dim dims” and “Ooh bop bops” fill the room and flow out of the windows we have opened in the heat. We’re not crazy – we’re just having a cappella rehearsal.

Contemporary a cappella is a style of music in which voices are used in lieu of instruments to cover popular songs. The voices are usually accompanied by “beat-boxing,” a style of making percussion with the mouth. I joined Sophistikeys, the all-female a cappella group at my high school, at the beginning of my freshman year.

Maybe you recall the movie Pitch Perfect, which came out a few years ago? The story of the Sophistikeys is not unlike the a cappella group in Pitch Perfect, although maybe without the perfect Hollywood ending. In the film, the female Barden Bellas are considered inferior to the all-male a cappella group at their school. Through hard work, seen through some classic training montage scenes, the Bellas come out on top, proving everyone who doubted them wrong.

When I joined Sophistikeys in my freshman year, our school had a coed group that everyone considered the best. During my first two years, even after a third, all-male group formed, there was animosity between the groups....

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