Harrow Choral Academy
Harrow Choral Society has always been a strong advocate of continuous improvement, providing a range of opportunities for its members to develop and strengthen their knowledge of music, their musicianship and their singing ability.
One-to one’ Voice Consultancy’
We offer all members voice consultancy lesson of half an hour with our own voice coach Julian Smith. These take place on a rota basis on a Monday evening in an adjoining room – the member just leaves the main rehearsal for the half hour. The purpose is to provide guidance to the member as to how they might go about recognising and achieving their voice potential and thereby enhancing the contribution that they make to the overall performance of the choir.
We run Saturday choral workshops – usually one or two per term. Sometimes these concentrate on the music in hand and are held as part of the build up to a concert to hone and, hopefully perfect, particular parts of the programme. On other occasions, they will relate to general musicianship, an example being a sight-reading workshop in October 2019 for which we have commissioned Rebecca Berkley from Reading University – a specialist in this area of teaching
Singing for Improvers
Building on the concept of Singing for Starters, for the past three years in the Spring term we have run a short course loosely entitled Singing for Improvers. This has been on a Thursday evening for 6 weeks, aimed at those members who have a reasonable grasp of the basics of choral singing and would like to develop their skills. The course addresses numerous aspects of vocal technique, together with ways to improve sight singing, stage presence, performance etiquette and general ‘professionalism’.
Our rehearsals include regular short ‘sectionals’ where small groups of singers will be taken together by the music director or a member of the coaching team, either during or before the main rehearsal, to concentrate on particular elements of the music that need special attention – eg because of their difficulty.
Singing for Starters
For more than 20 years until 2018 we ran our own training choir, Singing for Starters, which provided a grounding for inexperienced or returning singers who felt in need of some basic tuition in choral singing before joining the main choir. However, the advent of several community choirs in the area and the opportunities that they provide for singers of varying standards, resulted in there being less need for Singing for Starters. For the time being, therefore, we are not running the course but are concentrating on other training initiatives instead.