Realise your potential as a creative practitioner and train to be a professional voice coach at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. You will gain highly specialised knowledge in a range of professional contexts and develop advanced expertise as a voice coach, teacher or performer.
Through reading, discussion, reflective writing and practising as a coach or teacher, you will relate theory and practice and learn the ways of thinking and working of a professional voice practitioner. Through full engagement with the opportunities the course provides, you will be prepared for work as a voice practitioner in private practice, in Further or Higher Education, in business, in theatre, performing arts and media.
As part of BCU’s commitment to providing excellent student experience, the content and structure of this course is being refreshed to ensure that it continues to meet the highest educational standards. This page will be updated with the revised course documentation by 31 January 2019.
The starting point is work on yourself: i.e. your voice and its source in your body and breath. It is the experiential understanding of this process and listening to your colleagues on the course that informs your own pedagogy. At Royal Birmingham Conservatoire we advocate a physiological and imaginative approach to voice work that develops the 'practical, intellectual, physical and emotional skills of students in an atmosphere that is enabling, supportive and empowering'*.
Through core learning based on how the voice works, your imagination will fuel the development of your personal artistry and development. If you aspire to learn in-depth, specialist knowledge in professional voice practice, then this programme will not only teach you the skills, but broaden your vital industry connections.
The foundation of the course is rooted in the principles and practices of healthy vocal use. Exploring topics such as vocal function and dysfunction, phonetics and accent analysis, you will build an in-depth awareness of professional voice practice. The content of the course spans from teaching you practice-based methods and strategies to theoretical research.
We will help you establish links to industry through our strong connections with leading companies such as the RSC, Birmingham REP Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. We have a working relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company and with the company’s Head of Voice, Kate Godfrey. We also have connections at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Voice Clinic which can offer students insights to clinical practice. Our Professional Voice Practice course has been developed with the support of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Graduates have gone on to fulfil very exciting careers, working professionally at prestigious organisations such as the RSC, The Royal Court, the Minack, The Cambridge Theatre, the Mountview Theatre Academy and ALRA.
With regular masterclasses and a compulsory placement module you will gain excellent insight and experience of working professional practice. Your course will be led by a mixture of visiting and in-house tutors, all of which have extensive industry experience. Alex Taylor, your course director, has worked internationally with schools such as Juilliard. Alex’s influential background brings a wealth of experience to the course, bringing you comprehensive, informed and exciting study. Our visiting tutors’ range of experience varies from work with professional theatre companies, the field of film and television, Voice Care Network UK, NHS Direct, the BBC, UK Borders and many more.
*(Federation of Drama Schools Core Principles)
Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Thursday 24 January 2019. Book your place to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.
This course is likely to appeal to those who already have an interest in and some knowledge of voice: actors, drama graduates, teachers, speech therapists, singers and musicians with a particular interest in vocal music.
You should normally possess a first degree, performance diploma or equivalent qualification.
You will also be considered if you do not meet the above entry requirements, but possess an appropriate level of performance skills and professional experience.
Admission to this course is via audition and interview. Please see our Guidance for Applicants for more information.
|MA||Sep 2019||FT||1 year||£10,100 per year|
|MA||Sep 2019||PT||2 years||£5,050 per year|
|PgDip||Sep 2019||FT||1 year||
|PgDip||Sep 2019||PT||2 years||
|MA||Sep 2019||FT||1 year||£15,900 per year|
|PgDip||Sep 2019||FT||1 year||
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.
Please download and read the Guidance for Applicants before making your application.
Further information on writing your personal statement can be found on the UCAS Conservatoires website.
If you study this course part-time or via distance learning, you will be charged on a pro-rata basis. This means your fee will be calculated per module.
Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.
The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.
All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.
We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?
The programme is delivered through a series of modules designed to transform your knowledge, understanding and skill. Each module is worth between 15 and 60 credits.
Voice Theory and Phonetics
This module focuses on anatomy and physiology, providing you with the tools to formulate an informed understanding of vocal function and dysfunction. You will gain a detailed knowledge of the organs of speech. You will also explore phonetics, analysing accents and demonstrating knowledge of this through tasks such as ear-training, transcription and diction exercises.
The practical voice module will enable you to discover and understand the physiological principles that govern healthy vocal use. You will explore your own voice as an instrument, utilising a range of practical, creative and imaginative strategies in relation to vocal development.
The singing module will teach you how to utilise precise and appropriate vocabulary in discussing vocal issues with regard to the singing voice through an exploration of your own singing potential. This includes diagnosing vocal issues and articulating the principles that govern healthy vocal use. You will interpret and present sung texts, demonstrating your developing awareness and control of your own voice.
Voice and text
In this module you will explore the poetic and rhetorical devices of complex, heightened texts. You will be able to articulate and interpret selected texts through presentations and, in addition, you will create a persuasive and expressive chamber performance.
This module focuses on philosophical and ethical issues, and the practical demands you may face within a professional context. There are two methods of delivery for this module: seminars and micro-teaching sessions. You will be expected to lead a practical voice session with your classmates, gaining experience and feedback.
Within this module you will benefit from working in a professional context, drawing upon your knowledge and developing your teaching skills. You will undertake a placement one day per week, throughout the final term of your course. Your placement will be in a professional setting, such as a theatre, drama school, college or school, facilitated by the University.
The programme is delivered through a series of modules designed to transform your knowledge, understanding and skill. Each module is worth between 15 and 60 credits.
This module enables you to identify your own areas of interest within a research context. Weekly sessions will introduce you to the key tools of investigative research and of research-through-practice. This will allow you to initiate research that is advanced, innovative and original within your field.
For your final assessment you will produce either a dissertation or research project concerning a topic of your choice. You will be expected to accumulate at least 600 hours of work demonstrating a Masters level of knowledge and understanding.
As a Master’s student you will be expected to take a proactive attitude toward study. You will have timetabled classes as well as time for self-directed study. This one-year programme is delivered through a combination of group lectures, practical sessions, workshops and seminars.
You will explore in-depth the theory and practice of working with the voice. During your studies you will consider innovations in practice, and initiate research. You will be taught philosophical, ethical and aesthetic principles related to voice practice. Conducting private and self-directed study will widen your knowledge of the field and help you acquire a Master’s level understanding of professional voice practice.
Some classes are essentially studio based; they will be practically-focused on the development of your vocal and textual skills. This will enable you to gain an understanding into healthy vocal use, the demands of spoken and sung texts, and the relationship between the singing and speaking voice.
Development of your teaching skills is established through micro-teaching, presentation seminars and tutorials. We encourage you to foster creativity and initiative, teaching you to respond to complex situations. You will create workshops and effective presentations and you will be expected to critically reflect your work in order to advance.
The MA Professional Voice Practice operates either as a one-year, full-time course or a two-year, part-time course.
For part-time students the course modules are distributed over two years of study. For part-time PgDip students, half of the modules are studied over three terms in a first year, and the other half over three terms in a second year.
For part-time MA students the second year of study includes four terms, the final term being dedicated to the production of the dissertation/research project.
You can negotiate your modules with the Course Director, however the Voice Theory and Phonetics and Practical Voice modules must be taken in the first year of the course. The Placement Module and the Research Project should represent the culmination of study and take place at the end of your second year.
While there are not any scheduled trips and visits within the MA Professional Voice Practice course you will be required to undertake a placement. The placement requires you to actively work within a professional voice practice environment. You’ll be encouraged to engage as much as possible with activities and events that relate to your desired profession. We frequently produce performances in venues across the city of Birmingham, throughout the year. Attending these performances will not only familiarise yourself with the Birmingham performing arts industry, but give you the chance to network, and broaden your knowledge.
Graduates of this course have developed essential skill and knowledge required for further study. If you wish to develop your studies to the next level this course will give you the confidence and advanced scholarship knowledge required for MPhil or PhD study.
The programme seeks to advance your knowledge, understanding and practice of professional voice, providing a progression route into further study, or employment.
You’ll be encouraged to think creatively, considering how to apply the knowledge taught to your specific interests or practice. This will allow you to develop a set of tools and transferable skills that will help you translate your knowledge to a variety of professional voice roles.
Throughout the programme you will develop your ability in planning and presenting presentations, performances, and workshops. You will be able to deliver professional voice content to a high artistic, intellectual and professional level. Graduates will be able to make sound judgements and demonstrate a systematic understanding of voice. You will be able to form expert insight and strategies of creative thinking.
The programme is structured to develop your teaching skills, through micro-teaching. You will develop a comprehensive understanding of the techniques applicable to professional voice practice. This will prepare you for a manner of roles within the voice field. Many of our students express an interest in forming their own professional voice companies, providing bespoke vocal services. We encourage you to explore a variety of pathways, ensuring you leave with specialised, yet extensive knowledge and skill.
The content of this course will allow you to progress into voice roles within private practice, teaching in a drama school context or even voice coaching in the industry. You’ll also have the skills needed for voice teaching in other contexts such as working in the community or teaching in a primary or secondary school.
Since graduating, Lottie has worked as a freelance voice teacher at Associated Studios, Birmingham School of Acting (now Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, where she became a Senior Voice Tutor in 2017. Lottie’s time on the course helped her considerably with building relationships and making important industry connections. In addition to her work at Mountview, Lottie gained experience working as a voice coach at a number of London-based shows, she also has experience teaching private clients.
Lottie was originally attracted to MA Professional Voice Practice by the singing module. Her highlights from the course include the accent and dialect module, the masterclasses where she was introduced to leading voice professionals, and the “fantastic group of teachers and students”.
Since graduating Dayle was immediately hired to teach at a full-time acting conservatory in New York City. She has managed to build up her teaching hours from 3 hours a week to 20+ hours in addition to coaching productions every term.
Following her training on MA Professional Voice Practice, she went to become a certified Feldenkrais Practitioner. She is now on her sixth year on faculty at Stella Adler Studio of Acting, where she teaches on three courses. In addition, teaching classes she also maintains private clients. Dayle has managed to keep in touch with his class members from Birmingham who are now situated at different parts of the world (New York City, Los Angeles and Barcelona) they collaborate regularly and help one another to learn and grow. Dayle’s future plans include broadening her knowledge in linguistics in order to continue work with international actors.
James was offered a full time voice tutor role prior to graduating. He later on went on to develop a private voice coaching business before successfully taking on the role as a Lecturer at the Theatre at LASALLE College of Arts in Singapore.
James said “The program introduced me to a much wider world of voice training than that which I’d previously been aware of. There were opportunities to develop the skills to apply voice work to a variety of areas including vocational actor training, professional accent coaching and to the world of commercial business training.”
The first thing that attracted James to master’s program at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire was the expertise and qualifications of the teaching staff. James continues “The breadth of material that was covered on the course struck me as unique within postgraduate voice programmes. From being trained through the vocal progression of Kristen Linklater, to instruction in levels one and two of Estill Voice Training, we covered a variety of voice practitioners. The program also has an excellent staff-student ratio which allows for a great deal of one to one training and personalised feedback.”
Placements are an important aspect of this course, as they allow you to experience a professional work environment. Placements are a compulsory part of the programme, in which you will work and gain further insights into the demands of the practicing voice professional.
In the past our students have undertaken placements in a wide range of contexts, such as regional theatre companies, drama schools, HE and FE colleges, primary and secondary schools, and community or industrial projects. Students have also worked with prestigious organisations such as the Royal Court Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
These placements provide you with real-life experience, and as a requirement you will be actively involved in delivering an aspect of the programmes provided by your selected placement organisation.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Graduates of the MA Professional Voice Practice course have gone on to work in various exciting areas of the profession. James Gitsham, 2014 graduate, was appointed as Senior Voice Tutor for the Mountview Theatre Academy in London.
2010-11 graduate Victoria Williams has worked as a freelance voice coach for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Victoria was also part of the voice team on the award-winning musical of Roald Dahl’s Matilda at The Cambridge Theatre.
Victoria runs courses and workshops across the country for adults and young people, focusing on bringing Shakespeare to the body. Victoria also runs the Raise Your Voice project for the famous open air theatre - Minack – in Cornwall.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
This course is focused on professional voice practice within the United Kingdom, therefore is suitable for international applicants seeking to learn about a specific culture of practice. In the past we have welcomed students from the USA, who wanted to develop specialised knowledge.
International students are able to apply for a one year full-time MA Professional Voice Practice. Applicants are required to audition and interview for this programme. However overseas students are able to audition via DVD, following the guidelines provided by Birmingham School of Acting.
The delivery of the course includes intensive study of vocal interpretation relevant to British professional practice. This will include the study of British accents, and other specialised aspects, a prior knowledge and understanding of this is desired. You must hold prior knowledge and understanding of the English language, this includes the confidence in speaking the language. You must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English Language as a requirement for this course.
If you seek to develop a Master’s level of knowledge and skill in this particular area then Birmingham School of Acting is for you.
If you are based in the USA we normally hold auditions in late January to early February.
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is based at the University’s City Centre Campus. A part of the Arts, Design and Media faculty, we are based within Millennium Point but also have access to facilities at the Parkside Building.
The Parkside Building boasts state-of-the-art facilities such as radio and television studios, edit suites, photography studios, and much more.
There are ten rehearsal spaces, a ‘black box’ performance studio, showers, lockers and workshop space within the Department of Acting. The ‘black box’ performance studio, also known as the Patricia Yardley Studio, is our in-house performance theatre. Using variable acoustics which can be adjusted, and housing a fully operational lighting rig and a quadraphonic sound system.
Each studio contains: specialist acoustic panelling; specialist sprung floors; a heating system that radiates heat equally around the studio; and an air replacement system that maintains a constant room temperature.
Students regularly perform at professional theatres across the West Midlands, including The Birmingham Central Library Theatre; Crescent Theatre; Hippodrome Studio (Patrick Centre); The Old Rep Theatre and The Drum.
Françoise Walot is an actor, director and vocal coach. She graduated from the Conservatoire Royal de Liège (Belgium) with a Premier Prix and a Diplôme Supérieur in Art Dramatique with “La Plus Grande Distinction”. She is a Designated Linklater Teacher, having completed Kristin Linklater’s ‘Freeing the Natural Voice’ teacher training programme in 1993 in the United States. She currently teaches voice in the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and in the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (UK). In the past, she taught voice in the Conservatoire of Liège, at the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema in Lisbon (Portugal), in Mons Conservatoire, and in Cork (Cork School ofMusic Drama Department). She taught movement and improvisation in Well (The Netherlands) for the Emerson College Boston. She has given many voice and text workshops in French for different theatre groups, for amateur actors, and one to one sessions to actors, teachers and other professionals. Other recent experience teaching voice includes workshops for poets with the Ledbury Poetry Festival, regular evening workshops in the Linklater method in London and for the last 6 years, the Natural Voice workshop in Birmingham (Linklater Voice Birmingham) with co-teacher Simon Ratcliffe.