25 March 2019

Help and advice for leading a school choir or vocal group – plus a Choral Conducting Masterclass, 17/7/19, Cardiff

Are you leading a choir or vocal group, but uncertain about whether you’re doing it ‘properly’? Are you reasonably confident but feel you want to take your choir to the next level? You’ll find plenty of help at our Choral Conducting Masterclass on Weds 17 July at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. But if you can’t come to that, we’ve gathered together a few resources you may find helpful – as well as some thoughts on the benefits of having a school choir/vocal group, in case your leadership team needs some persuasion!

Useful websites and resources for running a school choir or vocal group

Sing Up is probably the most well-known singing resource in the UK. It has lots of resources, some paid for, some free. Here are some of their free resources:

Total Choir Resources is a brilliant website to help choir leaders, whatever stage they’re at. It’s for community rather than school choirs but a lot of the content applies to schools. There are lots of free resources including downloads, blogs, a podcast and a free Facebook community too.

The Voices Foundation works in schools, and provides resources like teacher handbooks, as well as training courses.

This blog on the TES website, How I teach – a school choir sets the tone has some useful advice and links.

If you’d prefer your learning live, then come to our …

FREE Choral Conducting Masterclass, 17/7/19 at Wales Millennium Centre

Who’s it for?

Anyone who’s leading a choir or vocal group in school, whether you’re a beginner or more experienced. You’ll need to be able to read music, but you will get the chance to look at the pieces in advance of the day so you can prepare.

What you’ll learn and do

  1. You’ll improve your professional practice and learn new strategies for leading group singing in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, led by award-winning choir leader, Susan Hollingsworth*.
  2. You’ll grow in confidence throughout the day.
  3.  If you’re new to this, you’ll learn some basic conducting gestures to try with your groups.
  4. If you’re more experienced you’ll have an opportunity to conduct a first rate chorus and receive feedback and helpful hints on their choral direction.
  5. You’ll get tips on how to prepare a vocal score in detail; ideas for warm ups and vocal development exercises for young singers; a chance to explore ways to encourage young people to sing in a choir; an opportunity to sing with the Welsh National Opera chorus.
  6. Together we’ll prepare and conduct the WNO Chorus in a piece composed by Bob Chilcott which is popular with young choirs and a popular opera chorus piece which is in the WNO repertory. A chance to put what you’ve learned into practice!


Why run a school choir?

Young people who sing in a choir benefit by:

  • making new friends, or strengthening existing friendships
  • learning how to listen
  • working together for a common purpose
  • learning how to practice and rehearse and learn how to strive to improve
  • learning how to persist in an activity for the long haul rather than the quick fix
  • experiencing the thrill and the pressure of performing – including going to some iconic places to perform and have experiences they’ll remember all their lives
  • developing their literacy and language skills including poetry and other languages
  • developing their confidence
  • improving their well-being and mental health.
  • broadening their horizons
  • acquiring a skill which will stay with them for all their lives and which they can return to as adults
  • for some, finding a skill which will become their future profession
* Susan Hollingworth is a choral director and musical educator. She is a Churchill Fellow, awarded for her work with young choirs. In 2008, her Scunthorpe Cooperative Junior Choir (an open access choir for young people aged 9-19 years) were overall winners of the BBC3 Choir of the year. She has been awarded a Royal Philharmonic Award for commissioning and directing Cycle Song, a community opera for the Cultural Olympiad which had 1,500 participants. She received an award by the Gramophone Magazine for being a choral director who has made the most difference to their communities. In 2018, the Association of British Choral Directors gave her The Chair’s Award for her lifetime’s achievement.

*Create and discover opportunities for your school and pupils, or your creative business*

Whether you’re a teacher looking for a creative person to share skills and inspiration with your pupils … or a creative person looking for teachers and pupils who can benefit from your input: make sure to CREATE as well as SEARCH for opportunities on the Opportunities section of the A2:Connect website.


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