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About

Welcome to the Eton Choral Courses

The Eton Choral Courses are week-long, residential summer courses for singers aged 16-20, which provide intensive, fun weeks of training in singing and choral music. For 35 years, we have been at the forefront of choral scene for young singers in the UK and offer a unique opportunity to perform at the highest level with like-minded musicians.

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2014 Courses

The Choir

The main focus of each course is the choir made up of all participants, which prepares for two or three main performances with the Course Director and a guest conductor. These usually include a recital at the course venue and a service in a Cathedral or Oxbridge college chapel, as well as other opportunities for performance including BBC broadcasts on Radio 3 and Radio 4 and sessions with eminent visiting conductors. Each course has a different flavour, shaped by the events and visitors during the week.

Consorts etc.

Another central part of each course: the Consort. The course is split into smaller consorts of 10 or so, working on unaccompanied music of varying styles – anything like renaissance polyphony and madrigals but focussing mainly on more ‘light-hearted’ music – jazz, ‘a cappella’, ‘close-harmony’, ‘barbershop’ – all that stuff! This culminates in a workshop with a visiting guru and your consort gets a chance to perform during the week to the rest of the course. It’s not a competition, but people get very bonded in their groups!

If you play an instrument, there’s also the course orchestra which gets an outing in the informal concert at the end of the week. In this concert you’ll also have a chance to perform anything else that you wish – in small groups, individually, choreography, comedy, and MUSIC of any style! You’re encouraged to get creative here.

Training

Students receive individual singing lessons from experienced specialists of the developing voice. There are also sessions in sight-reading, aural tests and performance, alongside the vocal master-classes, consort workshops and sessions with visiting guest conductors.

Advice on choral scholarships and on singing beyond school is given a high priority. Lessons are also given in Alexander Technique, enabling students to improve self-awareness, reduce tensions and use energy more efficiently.

Organists are also welcome on all courses. However the first and last courses are specifically recommended. Have a look at Course 1 and Course 6 to find out more.

It is testament to the strength and renown of the courses that so many musicians at the top of the profession are willing to give up their time to teach. There are twelve full-time members of staff, and around four special visitors each week. See the individual course pages to see who’s teaching on your course.

“Any teenager who wants to take singing seriously is guaranteed a whale of a time.”
Daily Telegraph

Who are they for?

The courses are open to all singers (and organists) aged 16-20 from any background and with different experiences of choral music. The concentrated and varied performing experience is of equal benefit to everyone who enjoys singing, no matter what goal is in mind.

The courses were started to provide advice and preparations for choral/organ scholarships and it is now widely known that there is no better preparation. However, the courses offer a whole lot more – we aim to bring to young musicians greater levels of enjoyment in music and help you to fulfil your potential, as singers and as musicians, for the next stage in life, no matter what goal you have in mind.

Under 16 but want to get involved? Look no further here: check out Junior Choral Course.

Is it for me?

Many holiday courses are immense fun. But the Eton Choral Courses are particularly so because of the shared passion for singing and music-making at the highest standards. One of the hallmarks of the courses is the enormous enjoyment that comes from the  concentrated teamwork and sense of togetherness, and many lasting friendships are made. See what course members from recent years have to say.

“If they are already interested in choral singing, they won’t get a better or more enjoyable week of tuition anywhere on the planet.” The Times