This course has concessions available

The Mary Ward Singers

A lively choir singing a wide range of music, much of it acappella. Students need to be able to read music. The aim is for students to enjoy choral music and occasional concerts are given.
Please see our website for more information:

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

This course is for all who enjoy choral singing (not solo singing, or songs from shows etc) and who enjoy preparing repertoire for performance.

An ability to read music is a distinct advantage as most of the material is read and not learned from printed music. However, those keen to join the class should not be put off since some students have managed very successfully in the past. A 'good ear' is essential.

Because this is a group activity students should make every effort to attend regularly.

What does this course cover

The choir sings a wide variety of choral music, from 16th to 20th century, in 4 - 8 parts. The repertoire covers shorter and longer works by classical composers in a variety of European languages. The pieces will range in difficulty from relatively straight-forward to reasonably demanding. Each term we aim to learn one piece from memory, as well as studying a work of polyphony. Students can expect to increase their knowledge and understanding of choral music and to develop their taste for choral music. They are encouraged to suggest pieces for possible study. The choir aims to perform several times a year in a variety of performance spaces, some of which may be venues in the community. Past venues have included St James' Picadilly (for the Royal Academy Arts), The Foundling Museum, and St. Pancras Old Church.

What will it be like

Each session begins with short 'warm-up' exercises, and continues with concentrated rehearsal of individual works. A considerable amount of time is spent making sure all are familiar with their own 'part'. Most sessions provide an opportunity to develop sight singing. Relative sol-fa is sometimes used in the learning of new material though no prior knowledge of this is required. A rehearsal pianist is available for half the course hours. Where appropriate a brief historical/cultural background to the pieces will be given.

There is usually a short tea-break of 10 - 15 minutes organised by choir members.

Please note that while we aim to keep a balance between sacred and secular music each term is likely to have a bias towards one or the other depending on the programme of music being studied.

The conductor will determine the progress of the choir, but students will be given opportunities to discuss problems of intonation, ensemble, balance, pronunciation etc. There will be detailed rehearsal of 'problem' and difficult passages to ensure all are comfortable with what is required. A lot of the music performed is a cappella (unaccompanied).

What else do you need to buy or do

Students will be required to purchase their own copies of works that are to be rehearsed and performed. The cost will vary according to repertoire, but an estimate would be around £30 for the whole year. Students on low incomes may apply to Mary Ward Centre Bursary Fund for help with purchasing music. Students may also be asked to pay a small 'performance tax' (maximum £5) to help with the cost of performance where extra costs are incurred (e.g hiring of venue, engaging other musicians). Students will need a black file or folder for performances and, of course, a pencil to make notes on the music during rehearsal. For performances the choir tends to wear black.

Please note that students are responsible for bringing their music to each rehearsal as extra copies are often not available.
Students will be encouraged to practise their parts or specific excercises on their own between rehearsals (about 3 x 10 minutes a week would be good guide) and they will be expected to go over the words.

They are also encouraged to take part in various aspects of concert-promotion (e.g designing posters, preparing programmes, liasing with concert venues).

What this course could lead to

Students progress to more difficult repertoire within the same class. Some students may wish to take individual singing lessons. Many students progress to choirs that demand an audition.

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: and from the following websites:;;;;


The singing class I took was for people who thought they couldn’t sing. I was really nervous at first but the teacher was supportive and inspiring so by the end of the class we’d all lost our inhibitions!



This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’