The first full day of Summer School began with an early breakfast, followed by the first vocal warm up session led by Allan Hubert-Wright. Allan's unique style and humour soon had everyone relaxing and laughing, as we prepared for a day of singing by looking after our vocal health.

The second session of the choirs began, with both groups working on a range of pieces using the Kodály tools of solfa and rhythm names, starting with focused sections before building to complete pieces. Lásló's 'big choir' ended up singing sections from Sáry's 'Canon To The Rising Sun' in 6 parts- such a wonderful sound in the beautiful acoustics of the Djangoly Recital Hall.


Musicianship is a very important part of our residential courses, with two sessions each day for all Delegates. Our Tutors are very experienced in bringing out the best in all their students, with sessions delivered in a fun but challenging way. Lynne Clark's level 3/4 students were busy combining a new melody with a rhythmic pattern- not an easy task, but one that gives a huge sense of achievement when completed!


Esther Hargittai's Level 5/6 students were working on sight reading and singing in parts, which was wonderful to hear after so long learning online while muted!


After lunch, Delegates had a choice of sessions: Foundations of Methodology, Conducting (3 levels on offer) and Journeys into English Folk Music, led by Lynne Clark.

Lynne introduced her students to the work of Vaughan Williams, who "was not only a composer of the utmost importance for English music but also one of the great symphonists of the 20th century" She led them through Vaughan Williams' Folk Song Suite, unpicking how he used motifs from the folk songs he collected in his compositions. 

In the Conducting sessions, Delegates were given group and individual coaching to help them learn how to choose, analyse and prepare repertoire for the choirs and students they work with. 

I caught up with Bridget Page, who is part of the Vocal Technique class, which is a module of the BKA Certificate Course. She told me: 

Some of us have been very fortunate to learn the basics of vocal technique from the very knowledgeable and talented Allan Hubert Wright. We have spent a fantastic few hours learning how to look after our voices, managing breathing techniques and practicing SOVT which involves blowing through a straw and making lots of frankly rather rude noises in a totally unashamed and liberating way. Allan has transformed our voices and also the way we think about the vocal mechanism.

For Delegates who wanted to concentrate on their teaching skills, the course offered the chance to complete the BKA Foundation Course, which is the overview to teaching in a Kodály-inspired way. Lucinda Geoghegan led the sessions, focusing on the beginning of a child's musical journey, and how teachers should lead them through the first stages of feeling and keeping a beat. Of course, this included experiencing things as a child would- using lycra, stretchy bands and simple singing games to build those all-important first skills.

Delegates then had the choice of Primary or Early Years Singing Games, led by Ben Lawrence.

In Ben's Early Years session, he took his group through the all-important ways to interact with babies, by singing picture books, using rocking songs, bouncing songs and rhymes, and of course- lullabies. It was reported that there were a few tears shed thanks to the power of these songs!

In Lucinda's Primary Games session, there was a lot of laughter, dropped bouncy balls and plenty of stretched brains as she introduced the group to a range of singing games from around the world. It takes a lot of concentration to sing a song in a different language, keep a beat and tap your partner's hand on a changing beat, and do it in canon with another pair- but these students managed it!


The Jazz Choir with Pete Churchill brought everyone back together, as they extended the work from yesterday. Here's a video of their piece so far:


After tea, the day was rounded off with a thought-provoking lecture from Michael Spence, entitled 'Deconstructing Gender in the Vocal Classroom.' Michael approached the subject with sensitivity and openness, and his points and extensive research prompted us all to consider how we, as Educators, have to ensure we are providing safe and inclusive spaces for all our pupils.


Conversations continued on the short walk back to the accommodation block (and of course- the bar!), and will no doubt still be discussed in the days to come.