Equity (performers' union)
Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS)
British Voice Association (BVA) (previous)
Natural Voice Practitioners Network (NVPN) (previous)
BA Hons (Music, Christ Church, Oxford)
MA (Music, Christ Church)
PGCE (Music and Drama, Leeds Uni)
MSc (Educational Research, Christ Church)
Learning & performance psychology
Beginners to Advanced
AOTOS (Association of Teachers of Singing)
OFFERING SINGING LESSONS TO:
- professional singers (classical & opera, microphone & recording work, pop, jazz, folk, rock, punk, music theatre, country, metal etc)
- singing teachers (also mentoring/supervising)
- semi-pro singers & experienced amateurs
- aspiring professionals & music students
- singers recovering from vocal damage, vocal strain, or a career crisis
- singer-songwriters, singing guitarists, lead and backing vocalists
- singers who want an inside-out understanding of their voice, including: vocal anatomy, function and technique; vocal acoustics; song interpretation; the 'inner game' (psychology) of skill mastery and high level performance; preparation for roles, auditions, exams, college places, gigs and tours
WHAT I OFFER
Vocal development: voice training to professional level - clear explanations of vocal anatomy and function - mastery of register transitions - maintaining optimum vocal function when introducing melody, words, interpretation, and stage movement - methods that address the relationship between voice, emotion and mental habits - thoroughly researched and historically accurate tuition in the traditional, specialised techniques of bel canto - a well considered response to and guidance through methods such as Estill Voice Craft, Vocal Process, Vocal Awareness, Natural Voice, Accent Method, Speech Level Singing, music theatre styles, crooning, belting, pop / rock / jazz/ folk styles - learning methods, memorizing, rapid skill development
Rehabilitation: voice care and vocal recovery techniques; 'wounded' singers - professionals who need a safe space to reassess their goals and technique, and recover their sense of self, direction, and confidence
Performance preparation: professional appearances; interpretation, and adapting to musical styles; stage roles (opera, musical theatre); professional auditions (opera, musical theatre, professional choirs); Finals recitals; choral scholarships; university and music college auditions; recitals; microphone based performances; recording studio
Performance skills and confidence building: mastering nerves - the 'inner game' of performance psychology and the cycle of improvement; preparation skills and checklists; mental rehearsal techniques; stage presence and self-presentation; engaging the audience; interpretation; working with other musicians; balancing control and spontaneity / creativity in performance; handling the unexpected; dealing with negative experiences
HOW I WORK
Understanding how the voice works, how to make the most of it, and how to look after it are all essential - and that is the core of the work. But by themselves, they are not enough. My first singing teacher always said that singing was 10% voice, and 90% brains. It's all about having the right information, and then the coaching and accurate, sufficient repetition of muscular and mental processes so that we anchor the skill in reliable, automatic memory (neural pathways - understanding the neuro-science and methodology of how we develop new skills can accelerate our learning. This also means developing practice routines, and skills of self-analysis, self-monitoring and self-teaching.
Once we have established a healthy, reliable way of producing beautiful, evenly matched tone throughout the whole voice, we need to learn how to maintain that when introducing vowels, melody, words, foreign languages, meaning, emotion, character, story, and stage movement. We must work with other musicians, master performance nerves, hold an audience, handle the unexpected - and use each performing experience as a way to learn how to improve for the next one.
Singing is more than just a set of physical techniques. Singing involves the whole person, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. What this means is that singing teaching needs to be a holistic process that takes account of the fact that singing is about a human being expressing, communicating and relating - and there may be long-held psychological blocks to overcome as part of the journey towards vocal freedom and excellence. (read more ...). I have pioneered work in this area, teaching groups of psychotherapists about voice and communication, and facilitating keynote sessions for organisations such as the Guild of Pastoral Psychology (founded by Carl Jung), Oxford Psychotherapy Society, Raphael Jewish Counselling Service (London), and Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy (Australia), and been a consultant on voice documentaries for BBC Radio 3 and Channel 4.
The world of singing is vast and diverse. There are many methods for teaching and learning singing - many of them based on incomplete understanding of physical anatomy and vocal function, the brain science of learning a skill, the science of acoustics, the psychology of voice and performance, imitating the wrong singers, applying the wrong technique for different musical styles, and so on. There are fundamental principles for creating a great sound - healthily - that apply to all voice and musical styles. The task is to master those principles, and the art is to adapt them to the music you want to sing.
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