undefinedSarah Parkin

Songs are stories! Bring yours to life as if you were telling them for the first time, using your whole self.


Resident: £480 Non-Resident: £366 (25% off for under 27s) Code: 23/336

Booking for Members opens at 11am on Monday 12 December 2022.

Non-Member and online booking opens at 11am on Monday 9 January 2023.

For details on how to become a Member to take advantage of early booking, see here.

What is the course about?

We will be looking at how your singing body can carry the truth of the songs you sing.

By more fully inhabiting ourselves we can find new space to express the full story we want to tell.

So we will look firstly at any tensions and involuntary movements in the body, which can reveal technical insecurities or interpretative intentions not fully realised.

We will then experiment with dramatising your songs as if they were operatic arias, bringing in spoken word and movement to clarify the intention in the text, the direction of phrases and strengthen the narrative arc.

Finally we will work on integrating the body, the performance space and your interpretative powers, learning to trust your imagination, visualisation and spontaneity in the moment.

What will we cover?

We will look at aspects of technique, the use of language and (where applicable) word-for-word translation, bodily tension and freedom, and the psychological aspect of staying connected to your thoughts and the audience in performance. We will also look at the interplay of preparation of text and music and spontaneity in the moment, building the confidence to ‘stay live’ in the act of singing.

What will we accomplish? By the end of this course you will be able to…

Take ownership of your chosen songs.

Feel more secure technically and more free expressively, to move, to take your chosen tempo, to put your own mark on the repertoire, rather than imitate someone else’s.

Feel more confident in arriving at your own interpretations of songs, based on the evidence on the page and your own instincts and reactions to the text and music.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is aimed at confident solo singers who already know their music and their text, and who can provide a word-for-word translation when singing in a foreign language.

Performing off-copy is recommended for this way of working, but not a necessity.

How will the course be taught, and will any preparation be required?

Participants should prepare three pieces (from memory and musically secure) with one in reserve for an evening sharing session.

The course will be delivered in masterclass format, with tutor and peer feedback in every session.

Each session will have a particular focus so that when not singing, participants will be actively learning from the work of other singers in the group.

There will be an informal concert / sharing on the final day, after which singers will give verbal peer-assessment and complete a written self-assessment to take away and reflect / act upon.

Will music be provided in advance of the course?

Participants are requested to bring their own music, with a copy for the tutor and another for the pianist.

Helpful resources: IMSLP has a wide range of scores. Benslow Music members may be able to hire the music from our library.

Is there anything I need to bring?

Comfortable clothes and shoes that you can easily move in!

What previous participants said about this course…

“I have learnt a lot a lot about vocal technique. Maddy is encouraging and understands a singer’s complex needs.”

“Maddy is a wonderful tutor and very well-liked by all she teaches; indeed all she meets. As a singer herself, she knows of all the problems singers experience and can hone in immediately on individual needs. She is positive, uplifting, indeed inspirational, with high standards and constructive, understandable ideas for improvement, including excellent technique exercises. It is a privilege to be taught by her.”