Paul Wingfield is Head of the Vocal Department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
Learn more about his role, his team, and what he looks for in students auditioning to join the Vocal Department.
What is your ethos for the department?
Learn-by-doing. Supportive, encouraging, challenging.
What do you look for in musicians auditioning to join your department?
A desire to tell a story well. They should be quick-witted, passionate communicators.
Do you perform outside of teaching? If so, could you give details?
I conduct regularly around the UK. Recent engagements have included work at the Royal Opera House, Opera North and Garsington.
What are your main responsibilities as Head of Department?
I take a great interest in all our students and their own personal journey. It is my main responsibility to make sure everyone is fulfilling their potential, whatever that may be.
What have been your career highlights so far?
Conducting at the Royal Opera House and welcoming Roddy Williams to our department as Visiting Consultant in Vocal Performance.
How did you come to your current role, what have you done before RBC?
I had trained on the Jette Parker Young Artists Scheme at the Royal Opera House and then spent several years as a freelance conductor - a job I still continue alongside my role at RBC. Before training at the Guildhall and National Opera Studio I was a school teacher so I am proud (and privileged) to have made music at all levels from the grass root level to the very top!
How would you describe your team in the department?
Caring, passionate, expert.
What is your favourite thing about working at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire?
The students and the special atmosphere of inclusivity here.
What do you think sets RBC apart from other conservatoires?
The students and the special atmosphere of inclusivity here! Also, the Vocal Department is unique in getting students on stage much earlier than would be the case in other UK institutions. We also have an award-winning Chamber Choir which regularly records (also unique amongst conservatoires).
What do you think are the greatest challenges facing new music students?
Making yourself employable/useful in a challenging marketplace. We give you the tools to build a portfolio career to make you COMFORTABLE and COMPETENT in a huge range of scenarios.
What do you think makes a successful musician in your field?
You must be a team player – there’s no room for divas these days! Being a singer is 99% hard work, 1% glamour. If you’re happy with that ratio then you’re on the right track!
What can prospective students look forward to the most when they join your department/Royal Birmingham Conservatoire?
Unparalleled performance opportunities. Intimate class sizes. State of the art facilities. A passionate, caring faculty which will demand, challenge and inspire you.