Review: Vocal Masterclass

Choral music (and indeed singing in general) has enjoyed a long and distinguished tradition at Marlborough College.  Indeed, interest in this area remains at unprecedented levels and there is plenty of evidence to support that notion.  

The Choirs are full to capacity and recent musicals, choral presentations, recitals (and more besides) indicate the future is equally bright.  But here’s the question:  how is that achieved and maintained?  One answer is easy, regular week-to-week quality instruction from distinguished regular teaching staff – another is invaluable exposure to visiting consultants who can ‘stir the pot’ and offer that ‘value added’ and an alternative approach to the weekly diet of tuition.

Penny Jenkins’ vocal masterclass on Sunday 24th April offered precisely that extra dimension of opportunity and the participating pupils clearly relished the chance to develop their varied and impressive skills.  Jenkins is a world renowned coach and her teaching is both a mixture of the conventional and a splash of the unorthodox, which is what occasions such as this are all about.   The results are immediate and impressive – that ability by a great coach to pinpoint the faults and offer solutions and techniques for the performers to take away and apply to their daily work.  And there was humour too, which is an essential ingredient of teaching (and performing in general actually) promoting a relaxed atmosphere and an inclusive one too as Jenkins embraced her audience in the process of her teaching.

‘Inclusive’ could also be applied to the performer as scholars and non-scholars mingled to good effect and further confirmed that, across the board, singing is certainly very much at the cutting edge of the Music Department at the College.  Long may it continue.

Philip Dukes
Artistic Director
Twitter: @MCol_Music

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