RAM and TEACHING "She is a very perceptive person ....is Mary Hammond".....
I had known and worked with Mary for many years as members of various professional choirs and had sang (and sat) next to her for just as many years in small vocal groups. She is also very charming (and persuasive) too. So she was on the day she phoned me inviting me to direct a vocal project on her recently established Music Theatre Course at the Royal Academy of Music.
It was the proverbial carrot on a stick and although I had turned her down a couple of times beforehand (because I was concerned of being labled 'failed singer turning to tutoring' on this occasion I said yes. I don't quite know why - but I am so glad that I did. She knew that as soon as I started to work with her talented Post Graduate Company, I would be hooked........and of course, I was.... and still am.
That was a little while ago now, and I am proud to say I am still happily involved with the RAM Musical Theatre Course, being a core member of Staff, one of the dedicated Vocal Coaches and also The Choral Director of the Course.
Working on a one year Post Graduate course gives you the valuable time to work with the students on a 1-2-1 basis, enabling them to work on a personalised catalogue of repertoire suited to their individual voices, characters, vocal ranges and personalities, as well as their casting suitability.
And, of course, I get to work with all the Students as their choral director, teaching them the very exacting choral and vocal disciplines that will be required of them when they enter ‘The Profession’ and to explore vocal colours and styles many of which are new to these talented young performers.
My work at RAM has since led me to be invited to other professional training establishments for dedicated choral courses and projects. These include Guildford School of Acting, Drama Studios-London, where I get the chance to work with acting students, something else I particularly enjoy.
An invite to the frozen North of Sweden to work with students at the MusikAlakademien in Umea on a special four-day choral project has been one of the highlights of my teaching workshop so far. A most beautiful Campus with a stunning Theatre just 400 km from the Arctic Circle. Oh, and some very talented young performers too!!
And for the last 2 years I have been working as a vocal coach at Mountview Theatre School, working exclusively with 2nd Year and Post Graduate Music Theatre students.
I count myself so extremely lucky that I am enjoying such a wonderfully diverse and exciting Singing and Directing career, and that now I can pass on some of my experience to the future talented performers of Tomorrow.
So, Mary Hammond, I thank you for tempting me to take that leap of faith into the unknown ‘World of Coaching’. Work that I absolutely enjoy.