Leading Singing Workshops

Having time to have a go ourselves made all the difference – it helped us to pinpoint the challenges and develop strategies for dealing with them. It all feels much less daunting now.

These courses can consider anything that needs to happen for a singing workshop to get off the ground and be successful. They can be aimed at anyone who is involved in leading singing workshops / groups (or who would like to be), whether you are the sole leader, or a member of a group who takes shared responsibility for leading.

Depending on the length of the training and the needs of those attending, these courses can include:
• Clarifying your aims (focusing on what you want to offer – not trying to be all things to all people)
• Planning and preparation (ensuring you feel confident and ready… for all eventualities!)
• Warm-ups (clarifying why you’re doing them and finding / developing your own to achieve just that)
• Songs (finding and choosing songs that suit you and your group/s)
• Singing skills (helping your group/s to pitch notes, keep rhythm and integrate words)
• Group sound (helping your group/s to listen their way to singing ‘as one’)
• Group dynamics (dealing with group ups and downs and with individuals who need extra attention)
• Accessibility (helping everyone to join in at their own level and with their own needs)
• Publicity (getting the right people to the right group)
• Feedback and evaluation (making sure this is meaningful and useful, not just a boring exercise)
• Getting support for yourself (so that you can keep supporting your group/s)

“I loved everything about it – Faith’s style and manner, all the other folks, the songs, the conversations, the laughing, the puddings, the location and the house itself… and I learnt shed-loads!”

“I was feeling a bit down about my hopes to become a workshop leader, but this weekend has revitalised my desire to get on and do it.”

Teaching Songs Clearly

“Flexible, yet very well organised; relaxed, yet we got through an awful lot; supportive, yet we all faced our own challenges.”

These courses focus on methods and skills for teaching songs clearly and confidently. They can be aimed at anyone who wants to teach songs to others, whether it’s in an official workshop setting or a in more informal singing group with friends or colleagues.

Depending on the length of the training, these courses can include:
• Finding and choosing appropriate songs
• How to learn songs well enough to teach them
• Counting in
• Keeping the beat / changing the beat
• Helping groups to keep the pitch
• Helping groups with tricky rhythms, harmonies and words
• Breaking songs down into manageable chunks
• Beginnings and endings
• Memory aids
• Useful equipment
• Awareness of different learning styles
• Developing your own teaching style

“The tingle of apprehension has been re-named as enthusiasm, that chattering inner voice that normally self-monitors has subdued, leaving me a bit more space to notice what else is happening and there’s more calm certainty that we’ll make it to the end of the song together.”

Song Arranging

“the simple, step-by-step approach made a potentially overwhelming topic very straightforward”

These courses explore a number of ways of harmonising songs for unaccompanied voices, with reference to different song styles and origins. They can be aimed at anyone who wants to arrange songs for acapella; you don’t have to be a workshop leader, and they’re suitable for those who have no experience of arranging songs as well as for those who want to improve their skills.

Depending on the length of the training, these courses can include:
– Identifying a number of basic methods of arranging songs for acapella and exploring these methods by listening to examples and then trying them out on different song riffs, in small groups. We do this entirely by singing (we don’t use instruments or written music) and this way we concentrate on creating ‘singable’ arrangements. The longer the course, the more methods we can explore.
– Considering various purposes and aims we may have for different song arrangements. We then explore how these different aims will affect our approach to each arrangement.
– There are usually opportunities to consider songs that participants are currently working on, though, again, the length of the course will affect this.

You don’t need to be able to read music, but you do need to be able to hold a harmony, on your own, in a small group.
These courses are very largely practical, with opportunities to try out your skills, as well as to share your experiences and ideas with a group of people who all get a thrill out of creating harmonies.

“by trying out the ideas ourselves, we gained a much greater understanding… and it was really good fun!”

“a clear, systematic, organised approach that has given me a good foundation for experimentation”