RSCM Bath Summer Course 2018

The Bath Course
Every year at the end of August the Royal School of Church Music organises a week’s singing course for choristers across the country and indeed the world!  This year Adebusola, Daniel, Jasmine, Nicola and Max attended the course (paid for by Bromley Parish Church) and had a wonderful time. 
An experienced team of tutors provide wide-ranging choral training, including care and development of the voice. The course helps those preparing for RSCM Awards, and older singers have opportunities to develop their musical leadership skills. Choristers also have the opportunity to sing the weekend services at Bath Abbey.  Here are the thoughts of our five choristers:
The RSCM bath course was one of my favourite moments of my summer holidays. I was able to make new friends in a different environment whilst doing something I really love at the same time. We sang a wide range of beautiful music and it was an amazing experience I’ll never forget. It also allowed me to explore my solo voice through workshops and singing lessons which I found to be extremely helpful too.

I had a wonderful time at the RSCM Bath course. During the week, I learnt a lot about singing in a church choir, some new skills and I also developed my musical knowledge.  Our timetable was very busy and I made many new friends. I really enjoyed the workshops, the varied services and social events that were organised for us.  On Saturday we sang a concert in Bath Abbey. We sang several Benjamin Britten pieces and also  “Here I am Lord“ in 3 rounds. Later in the day, we sang evensong in the Abbey. We were each given a certificate as we signed out to leave for home.  I want to say a massive thank you to the PCC for paying for us to attend the Bath course; I had a thrilling time and have learned so much.
After taking part in the Bath Course, I have gained so much musically and deepened my Christian faith. For instance, I now know that it is essential in singing to SPLAT, which is an acronym for “Singers Please Loosen Abdominal Tension”.  I worked hard at singing my vowels correctly and brought away some valuable vocal techniques and warm-ups.  I hope to share these with other singers in the choir.
During the week I got the opportunity to sing in the vocal masterclass; I sang ‘The Lord bless you and Keep you’ by John Rutter and during the workshop, the vocal coach corrected my alignment and my breathing so that I could sing much better by the end of it. During the course we sang compline. It was a completely new style of service to me so I had to learn to sing in the style of plainsong- which I really enjoyed. Of course all week I was anticipating the services at Bath Abbey and it was a fantastic experience singing in the beautiful abbey with the wonderful acoustics. I was also lucky enough to read a lesson there, an experience which I really appreciated.  Thank you to the PCC for giving me the opportunity to have this experience and the valuable skills I’ve learnt will certainly last my lifetime.
My experience on the Bath course, though too short for my liking, was one of many new-found exercises, songs and people. Like Jasmine I got to experience what SPLAT feels and sounds like, by using it in my performances in Bath and hopefully by carrying on to use it further. I learnt about a new type of sight reading in plainsong, helping me to have a better understanding of the world of choral music.  I also got to experience, in one short week, what a group of people who share a love of choral music can experience, inside and outside the church.
All in all, the Bath course has given me the confidence to further pursue choral singing.  I would like to thank Frank for encouraging me to go on the course and Bromley Parish Church for financing me on this wonderful journey.
During my time on the RSCM Bath course, with the help of the singing coach Charles McDougall, I feel I have significantly worked on my singing technique;  so much so that I have actually changed singing parts from Bass to Tenor. I also worked at interpretation on my Grade 8 pieces by including more emotion and sensitivity in the pieces. I had the chance to experience many different types of repertoire, as well as the chance to sing and perform at Bath Abbey which is breathtakingly beautiful. I also made some valuable friends on the course that not only enriched my experience at the time, but, through asking many of them about their university experience and what they are studying, has helped me when I go to University open days and the type of questions I should ask.
I would like to thank Frank and the PCC of Bromley Parish Church for giving me this wonderful opportunity and hope I will get the chance to do it again in the future.