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Cultivating Young Voices: St Mary’s Music School’s Unique Vocal Programmes

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The Vocal Department at St Mary’s Music School is the only one of its kind in Scotland and the North of England.

Singing is an intrinsic part of Scotland’s rich cultural heritage and therefore makes the perfect home for young singers from the UK and abroad to help ensure that they can grow and flourish. There are two vocal programmes at the School which focus on age-appropriate vocal development: The Changing Voices Programme and the Senior Vocal Programme. All singers are encouraged to perform regularly and can do so at lunchtime concerts in School as well as in performance opportunities at the many major concert events held by St Mary’s Music School throughout the year. Pupils have access to masterclasses with industry leaders and are supported to attend external opportunities such as the National Youth Choir of Scotland and the Scottish Opera Young Company.

Aimed at aspiring young singers, the Changing Voices Programme has vocal health and confidence-building at its heart. With a focus on classical vocal technique, singers are nurtured and supported to maintain confidence in their vocal ability through specialist classes and teaching on how to use their new voices. As first-study singers, they are encouraged to work as soloists by exploring text, emotional expression and all areas of vocal performance. Each pupil will receive one-to-one lessons each week with a teacher who specialises in this period of vocal development as well as performance classes, coaching, language classes and ensemble music-making activities such as School Choir, Changing Voices Choir and Chamber Music. Pupils on the Changing Voices Programme are given an increased amount of contact time on their second studies to allow them flexibility within their education as their voice develops. This will allow them more choice as they progress through the School.

The Senior Vocal Programme provides young singers with all the skills they need to succeed at conservatoire and beyond. During the course of their study, they learn how to use both their body and instrument as a means of communicating text and music, strengthen confidence in their vocal ability and learn team-working skills which will prove invaluable throughout their lives. First-study singers can expect weekly singing lessons where they focus on a wide range of repertoire and on honing their classical vocal technique; weekly coaching with a vocal specialist; performance classes; language classes (Italian, German and French); acting, movement and stagecraft, as well as involvement in ensemble music-making activities such as School Choir, Chamber Choir and Vocal Scenes.

Entry to St Mary’s Music School is by audition and assessment, based on musical ability and potential, regardless of personal financial circumstances or background. Scottish Government funding, up to 100 per cent, is available through the Aided Places Scheme to assist with the cost of tuition and boarding fees. We are funded by fees, private and trust donations and rental income generated by the school.

Applications for the vocal programmes are now open for entry in September. To find out more, visit the school website https://www.stmarysmusicschool.co.uk/vocalprogramme

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