Community Choir Leadership Course
Are you interested in leading choirs? Would you like to build your confidence in this area? Then this is the course for you!
24th April – 2nd May 2020
If you are interested in leading singing groups and choirs, or seeking to build your confidence in this area, this series of workshops will cover all the basics and much more.
Candy has been running community choir leadership trainings for 13 years. Many previous participants have gone on to make this their full time profession.
This course will give you skills for a wide variety of community settings: community choirs, working with the young, the elderly, in schools and more. It is a hands-on, practical course which includes philosophy, theory and lively discussion where appropriate. There are no entry requirements and you don’t need to be able to read music. However it will be most useful to people who have had experience in some areas of music: singing in choirs, but also teaching or other musical settings. All musical experience is helpful.
The course includes:
- Philosophy and principles
- Warm Ups
- How to teach a song in parts
- How to develop a song
- Ways to improve the quality of the singing
- Building dynamics of the group
- Teaching Practice
- Join in and observe Candy run a session for her choir
In past years this course has run over 3 months: 4 intensive training days with 3 week gaps between each session, for students to practice their skills. We have now run this course twice at the Song House, over 1 week, with great feedback from the students.
The training days will be spread out over the week. In between those days, students will be required to spend time putting newly acquired skills into practice, by teaching the choir formed by the student group. This enhances the value of the course, and quickly builds students’ confidence. Students found it invaluable to have those times to practice together, pooling expertise and ideas.
Candy will be drawing on over 35 years’ experience of teaching in a wide range of settings:
- Setting up and directing a set of five ‘Singing in the Round’ community choirs
- 7 years directing her performance choir Sounding It Out
- The Trowbridge Song Project. A 2 year Arts Council Funded multi-cultural community project
- Singing on the Wild Side- week long singing holidays on islands around UK and Ireland over 13 years
- Work in schools, Early Years, Steiner education, nursing homes and work in the corporate world.
- Pan-Euro choir
- Cór and Chroí- a local Irish choir
What is included in this price?
- Accommodation in shared rooms. (Single room supplement available on request)
- Self-serve breakfast and lunch, and the first evening’s supper
- In order to keep the price very accessible, we will share evening meal food costs between us. An evening meal will be ready for you when you arrive on Friday
- Past students have found that collaborating with food preparation and then eating together make a relaxing contrast to the intensity of the training.
Meet Your Host
Candy Verney’s passion is to inspire and create, through singing, a sense of harmony which gives an experience beyond the ordinary. She has building singing communities in different ways all her working life. She created and developed 6 community choirs in and around Bath for 20 years. She runs Community Choir Leader Trainings, seeding singing groups throughout UK and Germany. She initiated and directed The Trowbridge Song project, celebrating diversity through sharing traditional music, in a rural town in Wiltshire. She is now director of The Song House, a retreat centre in Co. Donegal, NW Ireland, where she also runs singing holidays and trainings. Recently she has collaborated with Lindsey Williams and together they have written a series of songs for choirs that are a joy to sing, whose lyrics inspire and comment on modern life: Songs for Life
“Hugely recommend- if you love singing and cannot get enough, come Singing on the Wild Side”. PB 2018
“Candy is a superb voice coach, the atmosphere was spot-on, truly delightful” MD 2017
You can travel to Falcarragh easily by public transport: click here for info.
Feedback from past students:
Students have come from all parts of UK, and Germany.
There are several short videos on my website from past participants: www.candyverney.co.uk/training-and-workshops/
Hugely useful week. I now know WHAT I need to prepare- timing, beginnings, endings, staffing notes etc. Excellent- well planned and thorough. Good balance between input from Candy and our own experienced learning. Great to have the notes. INTENSIVE- there is a lot- but that’s what we’ve come for. We’ve worked hard but it has been so worth it. Peer learning as well as candy’s wealth of experience.
Abigail from Ireland The Song House 2019, now running her own choir in Cork
Beyond my expectations! I have found this is what I want to do, to help others find joy in singing.
Nieves from Spain The Song House 2019, now running her own choir near Madrid
I found the course intense and very challenging, but so very rewarding. We learned so much material in the teaching days, it will take a while for it to sink in. The practical sessions were very supportive, great considering various levels of skills in our group. We were told to challenge ourselves and most of us did just that- I did my first arrangement and my first improvising!
Graham from Belfast The Song House 2016, now running a school community choir
The course met my expectations and more. I’ve learnt so much about song styles, harmony, communication, expression- but also on a personal level I feel like I’ve gone to a place within myself and got in touch with my true self. I’ve also made some brilliant friends.
Clara Atkins from Trowbridge Wiltshire 2014 Trowbridge Song Project training course participant, now running her own community choirs in Wiltshire and Bath
The course far exceeded any expectation I could have had! Candy created such a safe, warm, creative environment to have a go teaching others to sing and it was so exciting to hear the results. Candy – you are inspirational! And warm, open, accommodating, supportive, nurturing, encouraging, yet also clear about what you think is important.
Josephine Bell from Thornbury Wiltshire 2014
Comprehensive, inspiring and joyous are just three of the words that come to mind when I think of Candy’s course. I came on this course to increase my musicality and musical skills – it’s given me that and so much more. Thank you. I set up a guinea pig choir of friends and neighbours to run sessions whilst on the course. My initial nervousness in doing this has been rewarded by the most extraordinary feedback from those attending, many of whom professed that they couldn’t sing at all. It has been a humbling experience that has given me much food for thought about how to continue to take things forward.
Carole Bond from Bath Wiltshire 2014
Excellent informative inspiring handouts and related to teaching sessions. Incredible value course – intensive learning experience – loads of tips + practise + theory. Very encouraging positive fun atmosphere.
I would unreservedly recommend this course to anyone thinking of running a community choir. It has been a springboard of skill sharing and inspiration + new songs teach, ways to vary your teaching.
Candy has been extraordinarily generous with her knowledge of singing teaching.
Rae Levy from London Wiltshire 2014
I went away from the course confident that I had the grounding and understanding of how to direct my own choir and, indeed, have started a group, which is rapidly growing in number. Without Candy’s training and encouragement, I could never have achieved this; I urge anyone, who is thinking about doing the same, to let Candy show them the way. You’ll emerge from her course well-equipped to realise your dream.
Tony Barby from Corsham Wiltshire 2014. now running his own choirs in Wiltshire
I have gone from no experience to; teaching a group of six children, then a class of 30. Following this a performance in a school assembly with 90 children, then a weekly raise the roof 20 minute slot including 300 children. I didn’t think I would ever have the confidence or the opportunity to do what I am doing.
Claire Corcorran from Trowbridge Wiltshire 2013
The Song House/ Teach na nAmhrán
After running singing holidays in wild places successfully for many years, 5 years ago the chance came my way to put down roots and establish a centre in Donegal. The Song House is a centre for singing and other activities, which fit with the guiding principles of community, harmony and valuing the natural world.
Formerly known as the Poets’ House, the centre was well-known in literary circles, with Seamus Heaney a frequent visitor. Now, in its new incarnation as The Song House, I am delighted that the creative spirit of the house will be continued and enhanced.
In short, the landscape, the people, the music. The landscape here on the Wild Atlantic Way is quite stunning, constantly changing in response to shifts in the light, miles of empty sandy beaches as well as the iconic mountains of Errigal and Muckish as a backdrop to every view. All bedrooms in the Song House, as well as the spacious singing room, look out onto Muckish mountain, arising majestically from the sweeping boglands. Falcarragh lies within the Gaeltacht, the Irish speaking areas of Ireland, so you are likely to hear Irish being spoken by many local residents. There are weekly music sessions in many local pubs.
Things to Do in the Area
The area of Donegal around Falcarragh is steeped in archaeological and historical interest and Celtic spirituality, as well as a unique concentration of spectacular sandy beaches and mountains. It is a walker’s paradise. Ards Forest Park with its many stunning nature trails, Glenveagh National park, Muckish mountain (Irish for hog’s back) are all close by. It is in the Gaeltacht so Irish is regularly spoken. There are 5 expansive sandy beaches within 7 miles drive of The Song House, and you can hire surfing equipment, or bicycles nearby.
Hill walking, golf, kayaking, swimming, rock climbing, cycling, hiking are all available in the surrounding area.
The Song House has 3 twin bedrooms, 1 double, and 1 family room with a double bed, 2 bunk beds and 1 single.
There is also a B&B 100 yards up the road, which has single rooms.
*We are offering one place at half price to a young person who will act as housekeeper during the week.
Arrival and Departure Times
Arrive from 4-6pm on the first evening
Depart after breakfast on the final day
What to Bring
Bring clothes for all eventualities. Rain gear and walking shoes essential.
Midge repellant. (No midges in April, but they can be an issue in damp weather in the summer.)
Song House will provide all linen and towels, but if you like swimming, bring a swimming towel.
There is a guitar here you can use. Bring musical instruments, stories, games, poems to make our own entertainment in the evenings.
We strongly advise you to arrange travel insurance to cover personal accident, cancellation of the holiday, loss of personal effects and personal liability.
In the event of your cancellation, for whatever reason, the following will apply:
• Cancellation 90 days and over before start of holiday – cost refunded less €40 admin charge
• Cancellation 46 to 89 days before start of holiday – 50% of total cost refunded, less €40 admin charge
• Cancellation 45 days before start of holiday– full cost of holiday will be charged, unless a replacement can be found. Then €40 admin charge.
Our public liability insurance covers you for injury due to our negligence during the holiday but it does not cover you for injury from other causes or for loss or damage to your property. We cannot accept responsibility for illness, injury or loss, other than that caused by our proven negligence.
“Fantastic – never thought I would be able to learn so quickly and be part of something which sounds so good.” – Trish Leeds UK 2016
“Loved the singing. Was great to be back to it. Filled up my singing tank. Candy you make it so easy to learn and enjoyable. You have a fantastic skill which makes singing accessible to everyone. Thank you for sharing it.” ZG Northern Ireland April 2018
My highlights? Candy’s leadership. And I loved being part of the creation process of a new song, by a local singer songwriter- ‘Spread your Wings’ DD June 2018
Teach na nAmhrán: The Song House, Clonbara, Falcarragh, Co Donegal F92 D4EX