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Trainer profile: an interview with Jane Wheeler

On Wednesday 25th November we are very pleased to welcome Jane Wheeler to lead a 1-day course ‘Leading a Choir’, where you can find out about the tools and techniques you need to lead choirs. Before the course takes place here is a chance to find out more about Jane’s musical interests and her current work, as well as discovering more about what you can expect from attending the ‘Leading a Choir’ course…


What are your main musical interests and what aspects of music are you passionate about?

I am passionate about pathways to being as wonderful as possible through singing. This especially includes empowering children and young people to sing with real joy and full engagement and ownership about the music, the language and the skills required to produce a beautiful sound. It also includes mentoring young people and creating pathways to continued professional development for young music mentors, artists and teachers.


Which organisations and artists have you worked with, collaborated with, or been most inspired by? 

I have had the privilege of working with a number of highly inspiring artists, including Pete Churchill, Ken Burton, Suzi Zumpa, Eska Mtungwasi, Randolph Matthews, Ayana Witter-Johnson, Doreen Rao, Shingirai Shonowa, David Lawrence and Hugh Masekela. I work periodically with Music for Youth, Youth Music, Voicelab at the Southbank Centre, Serious, Sing Up, Sound Connections and as part of the World Voice team for the British Council, with Artistic Director Richard Frostick.


What has been your most memorable workshop-leading / choir-leading experience?

There have been so many! But I guess one of the most memorable moments was when I was being observed conducting my youth choir by one of my mentors. I was so confident that I was well prepared and doing a ‘perfect’ job. My mentor just told me to ‘get out of my own way!’. After recovering from the momentary hurt, I discovered that it was a fast track way of reminding me to always be humble in the presence of the music and of the singers, to always have my attention with them, not on myself and to be in service of how I can best help them sound more wonderful, not on how I can demonstrate my skill! I still smile when I remember this moment.


Where are we most likely to find you? 

My small business Livingsong is based at Stratford Circus, E15 1BX. You can find me there most Tuesday evenings running the NewYVC choir and facilitating our team of young leaders. I also run choral conducting courses there. Otherwise I travel for the World Voice programme and lead creative workshops and teacher training workshops for schools and music services across the UK. You can find out more about me and what I’m doing on my website and you’ll find some of the films I’ve put together on Youtube at TheJanievox.
What can attendees expect to take away from ‘An Introduction to Choir Leading’? 

They will take away a bundle of warms ups, and we will look at the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of warming up. They will learn how to arrange favourite songs for various contexts and sing tried and tested repertoire from across a wide musical spectrum. They will also look at techniques and strategies to introduce, teach and conduct the music in an engaging, well-paced and productive way to get the best from their singers.


To book tickets for Jane Wheeler’s Choir Leading masterclass, click here >


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