Teaching

For fifteen years Stephen has been a professor at the Royal College of Music, where he leads classes in English song, gives individual coaching, and is an examiner. Until 2016 he was also teaching voice at Clare and Robinson Colleges in Cambridge, but now spends more time with individual pupils at his home. He gives masterclasses at universities, festivals and colleges around the country and abroad, and teaches at summer schools in Eastbourne, Sherborne and Norwich.

In 2009 Stephen gained a PhD at the University of York for his thesis on the performance of song. The large amount of research needed for such a project has greatly enhanced his understanding of how the performer creates a meaningful and believable interpretation, and he uses that understanding on a daily basis in his own performing and teaching.

Singing Workshops with Stephen Varcoe at Ansells Farm

As an extension of Stephen’s teaching practice, he runs a series of song workshops at his house in Essex. In a relaxed, informal setting he brings together his own mission to introduce every singer to the joys of the song repertoire and his flair for encouraging inexperienced or less confident solo singers. In recent months workshops have covered such topics as Childhood and Youth, The Five Senses, Music for the Stage, Folksong, and Building a Programme. The group (a maximum of eight participants) is drawn from students of singing, enthusiastic amateurs, choral singers, teachers or semi-professionals, of all ages and abilities. The only qualifications necessary are a love of song and an enthusiasm for sharing ideas and interpretations in a friendly, positive atmosphere.

We have been running these very successful Song Days here for several years now, and underpinning the whole venture is the fact that Stephen is a world-famous baritone, whose expertise and experience in the field of song is second to none – he has made over 150 recordings, and is widely acknowledged to be one of the foremost recitalists of the age.

View information about past and forthcoming song workshops.

If you are interested in taking part in the workshops, would like more information, or if you would like us to add you to the mailing list for future classes, please contact us: stephen@varcoe.com or 01787 269570

The Song Day begins at 10am, and ends at 5pm or later, with breaks for coffee, tea and homemade cakes; at lunchtime everyone enjoys a two-course meal (with wine) prepared by Melinda – this is all included in the price. The winning combination of stimulating teaching and learning, delicious food and glorious music in a beautiful rural setting seems to work miracles! Each performer gets at least two chances to sing, (perhaps more, depending on numbers and time), and during the course of the day people invariably make new friends, catch up with old ones, find fresh inspiration and gain greater confidence to explore repertoire which might have been unfamiliar or daunting.

An experienced accompanist is provided, or singers may bring their own for an extra charge (£35). The cost is £110, with a deposit of £30 payable in advance (non-returnable unless the organisers have to cancel).

Here are a few comments taken either from our guestbook for the days, or from an article in Classical Music magazine in 2004 about the classes:-

“Above all, it was Stephen’s relaxed, engaging manner and good humour, coupled with a passion for sharing his skills and knowledge, that sent me away on a high, buzzing with new ideas.”

“A thousand thanks for a magnificent day of musical joy and instruction”

“…a wonderful day of Kunst and Genüss!”

“The atmosphere was as relaxed as it could possibly be in a performance context…the transformation of one absolute beginner in particular was inspiring.”

“Absolutely wonderful – and so is the food and drink!”

“Comments can be expressed more directly than in a larger setting, and it’s easier for individual singers to get feedback over things that concern them.”

“ I’ve learnt more about song in these classes with Stephen than in all the previous thirty years.”

“The consistency of the chocolate brownies merits special mention!”…

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