Royal Holloway, University of London

Summer Holiday are around the corner, and today marks the end of our third Summer School here at Royal Holloway, University of London. This year we had more students than ever – well over 100 – and the week has been a wonderfully diverse teaching experience.

When I joined the KS back in 2004 I don’t think I realised how much teaching would be involved. I wasn’t a “qualified teacher” and when I was first put into a room for an hour with a choir, I have to admit to being a little terrified! I think it was Phil who said to me “don’t worry – you know what to do because you do it yourself; now find a way to communicate that to them!” It sounds flippant, but Phil was right; the essence of good teaching is to find endless ways of communicating a message, until all the students understand it.

Over the years it’s become much easier, and a favourite part of being in the KS for me. This week we’ve added in the idea that in order to encourage listening (one of the most important things about ensemble singing) each group listens to the others being taught. It’s worked really well; often when you’re singing in a teaching session, it’s hard to take in and digest all the points that are being made. It’s good to rest the voice and listen to ideas being implemented by other singers.

This is my last blog of this season; I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about where we are and what we’re up to. I’m looking forward to six weeks at home with family, before our Anniversary Season kicks off in September! Have a great summer yourselves, and I look forward to seeing you at a concert soon.


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