Voice Leader Training
Frankie Armstrong and Sarah Harman lead this training. They are joined by visiting tutor Darien Pritchard. Frankie has run the Natural Voice Leaders’ Training since 1988, initially with Darien Pritchard, and, in recent years, with Sarah Harman. (See biographies of Sarah and Darien, below)
The course offers a unique opportunity to attend an intensive training focusing on the melodic natural voice and using it with groups. It is designed for people who already run voice workshops or singing groups, those who wish to, or those who want to incorporate voice into their existing work. Sarah and Frankie model the importance of finding dynamic relaxation, using imagination and humour, and remembering that laughter is one of the best things for the body and voice.
The training contains a number of threads:
Your own voice
- working on and making the most of your own voice
Preparation for using the voice
- daily body/voice preparation sessions, focusing on aspects of body release and energising that relate directly to vocal expression
- individual and group activities that aid voice development
- the appropriate stepping stones to help others make the most of their voices
Leading voice groups
- the process of working with groups
- structuring and pacing workshops
- teaching practice – leading vocal exercises, teaching songs (with supportive feedback)
- dealing with difficult situations/individuals
- creating and setting up improvisations
Applying this approach
- contexts in which this approach can be applied
- starting and sustaining choirs and other groups
Bodywork is an integral part of the training course. In addition to the daily physical preparation, visiting movement specialist Darien Pritchard helps participants understand the anatomy around breathing. He also uses his expertise as a Feldenkrais teacher to help participants maximise vocal release and physical support for the voice.
Participants receive a course handbook, containing comprehensive notes on the exercises, and practical information on freelance working as a voice leader. They also receive a CD with exercises for the body, the breath and the voice, and ways of exploring vocal technique.
Please look at the About page of the Natural Voice Practitioner Network website (https://naturalvoice.net/about) for a clear outline of the style and approach of this course.
The course is taught in two formats. In 2021, people can either attend an intensive, week-long residential training In Oxfordshire, or two modular long weekends in Bristol.
Even if you have attended a workshop with Frankie or Sarah before, we would like to have a chat with you prior to booking to ensure that this is the right course for you and to make a personal connection. Please phone Frankie (+44) 029 2048 0429 or Sarah on (+44) 1874 713 184
Notes for both the residential and the modular trainings:
IMPORTANT: Cancellation arrangements apply – see booking information.
[Some past participants have managed to successfully apply for grants from Arts Training bodies, appropriate charitable bodies, through workplace further training and retraining schemes.]
Voice Leader 2-part Modular Training, Bristol
Part One: 28th April – 1st May 2023
Part Two: 30th June – 3rd July 2023
The Gasworks Studio, 27 Narroways Rd, St. Werburghs, Bristol, BS2 9XB
Week-Long Residential Training, Hereford
13th to 20th October 2023
Kinnersley Castle, Kinnersley, Hereford, HR3 6QF
Sarah originally trained and worked in the theatre, and has been leading singing workshops and choirs since 1988. She has led groups with absolute beginners, disabled people, young people on probation, and in schools, hospices, hospitals and community settings, and has worked in Nicaragua, Australia, France and Spain. She is particularly passionate about working with disadvantaged communities, and believes that singing together in harmony is a fantastic way of bringing people together in supportive community.
Sarah currently runs two community choirs in South Wales and regular ‘Music and Memories’ sessions for people with dementia. She will bring her experience of establishing and leading long-term groups to the Voice Leaders training.
With a strong belief that leading workshops requires considerable skill, awareness and planning, Sarah has developed workshop materials and exercises to help singers gain the ability and learn techniques for leading effective, inclusive and inspirational workshops.
She has been designing and running training for workshop leaders and voice teachers since the early ‘90s, and worked as Training Manager for Community Music Wales for whom she continues to design and run regular training for new and experienced community music tutors. She has also worked for the Arts Council of Wales and leads training for Citizens Advice (on Training and Supervision Skills, Mental Health and Dealing with Aggression).
Sarah is a song-writer and regular performer in styles ranging from folk to Baroque classical music. She sings with the duo Blameless Hussies and with her quartet, The Quiet Ranters. The songs she writes and sings are witty and thoughtful, bringing together the personal and the political.
Sarah and Frankie
Sarah and Frankie have run a variety of trainings and workshops together over the past two decades. These include Access and Inclusion, group-work skills, voice development and improvisation, as well as teaching songs from a variety of cultures and those that focus on social justice. They also perform together.
Darien has been a body worker and massage trainer for more than four decades, and has written two massage textbooks. He is also qualified in the Feldenkrais Method® of movement awareness, which has influenced his work on body preparation for giving voice.
Darien and Frankie have run workshops together since the mid 1980s (including the training courses since 1988). Darien provides the detailed bodywork component that:
• prepares the body for free vocal expression;
• and aids understanding of aspects of our anatomy and their relevance to giving voice.