The Mary King Practical Pedagogy Pathway

Course Description

This short course is aimed at teachers who, though having a variety of backgrounds themselves, are united in the fact that they teach a wide range of students, from children through to young adults, and up to senior citizens. Students might be beginners, keen amateurs or aspiring professionals. What skills do teachers need to inculcate in their students from the beginning – and indeed remind them of when they are further along the line?
Using all the teachers as our resource pack (i.e. without any “students” to demonstrate on or experiment with!), we will explore over the 2 days the following subjects – of which the following is an overview, giving several starting points for discussion.

For an application form and info: Please contact

Day 1

29th August

  • Posture and alignment: why it matters, what to correct and tools to assist awareness
  • Breath: flow and pressure; continuity of air without holding; should we concentrate on the out breath, or the in breath?
  • How to achieve a good legato: the importance of balancing vowels and consonants within the breath stream
  • Developing and extending range: when should we encourage singers to stay within a small range and when to start aiming higher (or lower)
  • Legit singing in musical theatre: how does it differ from classical singing

We will look at a range of music, and see how all these factors impact whatever the style of music.
Please bring:
UP to three pieces that demand some of:
Fast singing (semi-quavers); slow singing (minims); long phrases; big leaps (6th -8ve or more)
Bring contrasts of styles (classical / musical theatre / pop) whenever possible, especially if this variety reflects the range within your teaching practice.


What makes a good performance? Which should we teach first: understanding of musical style, confidence of communication, the importance of words and stories and language? Or are they all equally important, and to be interleaved within all lessons?

What constitutes a “good song” or a wise choice? Puccini or Mozart? Arie antiche or bel canto? Wicked or Oklahoma! (to give some examples….)

NB if you are teaching classically, and using languages other than English, please bring this rep in the original language. For preference: French, Italian or German. Please also bring a literal translation of whatever songs you bring. (And of course, this rep can be the same as the earlier material for technique)

Day 2

30th August

  • What is support?
  • Where is the work in the body?
  • How to work efficiently so that the big muscles do the tasks they need to
  • Speech quality and belt voice

In all these cases we will look at isolating different parts of the body, but particularly looking at openness of throat, relaxation of jaw and the effective use of the articulating muscles (tongue / teeth positions)
For this purpose, please ensure that you have wordy / patter songs – or songs with complex grammar or punctuation; and something that demands powerful delivery (including belt if this is the material you are working on yourself, or with students)


What makes a confident communicator? How can students improve? What can be done about nerves? Are there strategies to practice that will help?


  • Discussion on the best ways to ensure that students know how to (and how not to) practice; how much and how often; what, when, where and why.
  • Discussion on how to instil good habits with regard to vocal health, so that singers are sensible (and not neurotic).


There will be a pianist present for both days. Please bring 2 copies of your chosen songs. Mary will also bring a variety of material that she thinks demonstrates the topics above – most of it fairly standard, that people are likely to be familiar with.
Any questions you have before the day, please ask!
MK July 2017

Fees, Dates & Locations




Super Early Bird – £295 (VAT inclusive)

– Deadline ends 14th August 2017

Standard Fee – £495 (VAT inclusive)

Course dates:

Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th August 2017


This course will run between 10am – 5pm


The Urdang

Finsbury Town Hall

Rosebery Avenue




Apply now!

“It was great to meet you today and thank you for organising such a fantastic couple of days. I can’t wait to try out everything we worked on and it was great to meet with such a positive and versatile group of singers. Mary has such incredible energy and we managed to cover so much!”

Alexander Wynne, Sept 2017

‘Just to thank you for the great two days with Mary.  Only downside was that I think we could have easily filled three days – so many fascinating subjects to discuss and interesting fellow participants!

Mary was, as usual, an inspiration and the whole workshop was well thought out and executed.  It was informative, reassuring – and above all – fun!!’

Glenys Groves, Sept 2017

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