Vocal Programme

Study Leader: Mary Hitch

The CAT offers tuition in a range of vocal styles, led by an experienced team of tutors.

I found the students to have been very well taught; of course all at different stages of development but they were all responsive and attentive. They seemed to have a real love for their repertoire and this is super to see. I really enjoyed working with them.
Lynne Dawson, Head of Vocal Studies at Royal Northern College of Music

In addition to their individual instrumental lesson and music language tuition, all vocal students rehearse weekly in a large ensemble class, splitting off to study duets, trios and quartets with their fellow students. They also take part in a weekly performance class where they work on their repertoire, which gives everyone a wonderful opportunity to contextualise songs in depth and learn how to take the music from the page to the concert hall. Students are encouraged to sing in a variety of styles, including classical, folk, jazz, pop and musical theatre. Most students enter for Associated Board music exams up to diploma level, or, when appropriate, Trinity Musical Theatre exams.

Most singers take a second study instrument (usually piano) and we strongly recommend this.

Students also participate in an enormous variety of extension activities during the year including masterclasses with artists such as Lynn Dawson (Head of Vocal Studies at RNCM); German baritone Benjamin Appl; Deborah York (Grammy Award winning soprano); and jazz singer and vocal trainer Sywia Bialas.

There are frequent performing opportunities, in many different settings – and students are encouraged to participate whenever they have prepared repertoire, when they are ready.

We expect singers to have reached a certain level of vocal maturity before joining us at the Centre for Advanced Training. As such, it is very unlikely (although not impossible) that a young singer will be invited to train with us if they are under the age of 14.

We also encourage our singers to apply for an audition for Quay Voices which rehearses fortnightly throughout the year. More information is available on Quay Voices here.

For further information on the Centre for Advanced Training, including on dates and content of auditions, please click on Information for Students

Vocal Team
Study Leader: Mary Hitch began her career as a choral scholar at Clare College, Cambridge. She then trained at the Royal College of Music, and the Royal Northern College of Music and where she won the Contemporary Music Prize and the national Wagner Society award for her performance of the ‘Immolation Scene’ from Götterdämmerung. She has recorded with the Cambridge Singers and performed from Los Angeles to St Petersburg. She taught at Lancaster University and is now Senior Lecturer in Singing at the University of Cumbria. She is the vocal tutor for Carlisle Cathedral Youth Choir, and she has recently reduced her hours at the university to concentrate on performance and private practice, and work with the Young Musicians Programme at Sage Gateshead.

Hannah Reynolds received a first in performance and the Sir Geraint Evans award while at Cardiff University, continuing her studies over the years with a variety of singers at a very high level, bringing their ideas and expertise into her own teaching. Having performed professionally in musical theatre and as a classical soprano, she focuses on helping teenagers connect with their voice, and has undertaken courses in the Estill model to enhance that pedagogy. She sings with 2016 Choir of the Year “Voices of Hope” who in 2017 have been invited to the finals of European Choir of the Year in Helsinki.

Hannah Taylor specialises in Commercial, Jazz and Popular music and teaching vocal technique. After graduating in 2005 she began performing professionally and working as a peripatetic teacher. Since 2012 has been actively training in vocal pedagogy, completing a number of courses in the Estill model. She is the Centre for Advanced Training’s specialist vocal teacher in pop, contemporary and jazz styles and is Programme Leader and tutor on the Further Education course in popular music that run at Sage Gateshead and tutor on the Community Music Degree programmer. She is an active performer, singing with a number of function bands as well as her own female a cappella quartet “The Shoeshop Quartet”.