About Voice and Choirs. I was recently asked by the administrator of a lovely facebook group, to write a bit about what I do and why. If you’re interested in the human voice, and group singing, read on!
I’d like to tell you a little bit about GLOW Choir (and community singing in general), and the singing lessons and vocal therapy work that I offer.
GLOW Choir is a community choir for LGBTQ+ people and Allies to come together in song; and all voices are welcome. You can see some videos and pics of GLOW Choir Brighton in action here: https://www.facebook.com/GLOWchoirBrighton/videos/
I’ve been leading choirs since I was about 19, and I work as part of a fantastic network of teachers, known as the Natural Voice Network.
We work with the ethos that everybody CAN sing, that singing is a human birthright, and that everyone has the right to enjoy and explore singing should they wish to.
We work in a practical, inclusive, clear, supportive manner, and we get wonderful results, both in terms of how people feel when they take part in our groups, and also in terms of seeing the progress in our members’ vocal and musical skills, and the joy and confidence they can get from this. You can learn more about the Natural Voice Network here: https://naturalvoice.net/
GLOW Choir Brighton sings songs from all over the world, taught by ear, and we tend to have a marvellous time! All voices are welcome and you would be very welcome to join us in September when the new term starts, should you wish to. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/420604991787634/
You can also read more about the origins of GLOW Choirs here: https://glowchoir.weebly.com/
I also teach individually, offering vocal coaching sessions, singing lessons and therapeutic voice sessions tailored to the individual. I teach on most Fridays and Sundays at Hobgoblin Music Shop in Brighton, and occasionally by Skype at other times. You can find out about this on my website: https://singinglessonsbrightonhove.wordpress.com/
You can also read some testimonials on my blog: https://singinglessonsbrightonhove.wordpress.com/blog/
People often ask me how I got into this kind of work, and what my background is. This is quite a hard question to answer without writing a novel / talking all day! But I will say that some of my main inspirations / formative experiences have included: singing with world music choirs Village Harmony and Northern Harmony from a very young age; Actor Musicianship training at Rose Bruford; Estill Voice Training/Study; a BA Hons degree in Music and Dance; Natural Voice Teacher Training; apprenticeship with Frankie Armstrong; singing with my family round the kitchen table; and various local choirs and theatre groups and educational goings on growing up! To read more about my background and qualifications, and approach, see this link: https://singinglessonsbrightonhove.wordpress.com/…/skills-…/
My work has encompassed a lot of different areas, and before I became limited by a chronic illness I was also teaching various kinds of yoga, working at festivals, performing with the accordion and singing, doing bits of acting and performance poetry, leading self-created VocoMotion sessions, and generally dancing about the world doing fabulous things. Now that limitations are much greater, I’ve had to whittle down my activities and work to the most sustainable; and I’m thanking my lucky stars all the time that community singing and vocal practices are so deeply woven into the fabric of my being, and that I can manage to keep them going. It is fantastically rewarding, both for me and, from the feedback, for all my students / participants.
Whilst I may not be teaching yoga anymore/at present, or doing as much gadding about / travelling work, I do find that everything I’ve learnt through my near decade of teaching yoga and near 20 years of doing music or acting based performance work/projects, that all those things I’ve learnt remain with me, and add to and support what I can offer my students and participants in workshops and classes. So that’s to be thankful for!
Community singing, in a supportive encouraging atmosphere, can create a potent magic. There are so many layers and levels to it! Connecting deeper to yourself, connecting more deeply to others, engaging with human emotional states and archetypes, all the pleasure centres of the brain that music can light up, having a sense of being part of something bigger than oneself, feeling a sense of belonging and tribe and community, learning about your own voice and developing it, feeling a sense of unity and equality within the group you are singing with, expressing outwardly what is within, a tool to move through difficult times, a gentle cardio and core muscles work-out that you can do sitting down if needs be, an emotional release, a boost of energy, a brain gym, a source of smiles, a focus for the mind, a whole body-mind-spirit meditative act!
And different people can take different things from singing too – some people might be there for a spiritual connection, some for making friends, some for stress relief, some for learning about music, some for wanting to create something beautiful and feel they are contributing, some for specific vocal aims… and you can all come together and experience a real sense of belonging, and wholesomeness, and community support and fun. Obviously every different singing group has a different ethos and way of working, but these are just a few of the benefits I’ve heard people describe, or that I’ve witnessed.
I’ve also witnessed a collective rising-above-stuff that can happen in a group singing context. Once the (very important!) chatting and sharing is finished and we start to sing together, everyone’s beauty and value is given a chance to shine forth in ways they might not usually, because in a choir every voice counts, and every voice has its own story. And every voice is worth hearing, and celebrating.
I hope this gives a few insights into the wonderful world of singing and the voice! If anyone is interested in GLOW choir or in individual vocal sessions, feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org