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Some of the many reasons to come to IVM:

Performance opportunities and repertoire

IVM opera, song and other vocal courses provide students with the perfect opportunity to develop their performance skills in real circumstances and without the artificial tensions so often created in institutional situations.  Repertoire is carefully chosen in consultation with students to ensure that you will study music which is suitable for your voice and level.  As well as working in detail with our tutors and pianists you will have the opportunity to perform in circumstances designed for relaxed music making.  Our 'Sing a Song at Six' recitals and 'Out Reach Programme' provide popular and real performance experience.  The 'Cabaret' performance on Thursday night is always a highlight and hugely popular with performers and audience alike. Over the years we have noted many courses which only allow a few chosen singers the chance to perform, which of itself often makes those performances stressful and unsatisfactory.  At IVM the desire to perform is the deciding factor.   Similarly we quarantee that all participants will sing part of a named role in a staged opera scene which will be performed on the final evening. 

Singing as a dramatic art

IVM considers the training in the dramatic arts which a singer needs to be of the utmost importance.  We engage three currently working professional directors, one of whom is a choreographer and movement coach.  All students take part in an opera scene in which they study part of a named role which is fully staged.  They work one to one  with a director on two opera arias and may bring one of their pieces to a new class which will look at movement and singing.  There are stagecraft and movement classes for all to attend on a drop-in basis.  It all adds up to an extraordinary amount of training and experience in a short space of time.

Staff/student ratio

IVM provides one of the best staff student ratios of any music course, given the range of programmes on offer. At any one time students can be seen rehearsing an opera scene in groups, performing songs to a small audience, or working individually with a coach on technique, a pianist on repertoire, or discussing language with an expert. To this can be added many other activities, but the underlying principle is the same – our commitment to bringing tutors and students together as efficiently and supportively as possible, to provide an optimal experience for all concerned.

Staff and pianists

We pride ourselves on very high standards of tuition at IVM. This means that we not only employ acknowledged experts in their own field with a sound track record, but also those who understand the wide diversity of experience and expertise amongst our students and can respond to it. The result is a very high level of satisfaction amongst participants, and where feedback features descriptions such as “brilliant tutors and pianists”, “I felt totally supported”, “I have made astounding progress this week”. In addition our teaching staff are always willing to make themselves available outside their timetabled sessions to provide help and advice where needed. Thus the whole course develops a wonderful momentum based on a shared passion and interest in self-improvement and performance.

Performance

IVM offers many opportunities to perform.   Every student can, if he/she wishes, perform as a soloist in all parts of the course.  The small numbers on our course mean that you won’t get swamped by others: every one can have their moment!

Activities:

Scenes

The staged Opera scenes provide the highlight of the week with a public performance on the final Saturday.  These offer the opportunity to sing from a whole range of operatic roles.  The selection of scenes is always very varied, thereby offering dramatic music from different periods, styles and mood. We allocate roles according to the aspirations and experience of the participants.  Most singers will perform in a named role and in a bigger chorus.   The rehearsal time is generous, with four long sessions allocated to each scene.  Students find this close work with the Director, Musical Director/Accompanist and their fellow performers in the scene, a most exciting and rewarding time.  Performing in the scenes allows you to taste something of a larger role which you may not yet have sung on stage.

Arias

The Staged Arias allow you the luxury of working in detail on two of your favourite arias.  This is a class in which the aim is to allow you to grow dramatically into the arias, transforming them into complete performances which could be used in auditions, in concerts or just for your personal satisfaction, insight and growthEach singer works individually with one of the stage Directors who will suggest ways of presenting the pieces as if they were being performed in the context of the whole opera.

Motets in the morning

For the past two years a small group of singers has assembled daily in the Chapel to sing from the repertoire of Renaissance Church Music. Led by Brian Mckay, they have discovered some fantastic pieces.  This class also offers the opportunity to improve your sight-reading in a completely supportive atmosphere.  For the first time in 2008, some of this work was performed as part of the Oratorio Concert and it is anticipated that this year too a similar performance will take place.  We hope that this will be in the beautiful setting of the Chapel at Maynooth.

Sing a Song at Six

IVM is a great champion of Song and so participants are invited to perform those songs which they are studying in short, informal concerts at mid-morning break, lunch-time and in the evening.  The programming of these mini-recitals is so organised that a student will have the chance to perform their song after they have studied it in class.  This system gives many students the chance to perform in public, but to a sympathetic audience!   We welcome a wide range of repertoire in our Song Classes and in these performances, so here is your chance to present unusual repertoire and to explore the more obscure corners of this rich material.

Outreach

We want to spread the news about our fantastic course, to inform the wider public of our work, to offer musical entertainment in possibly unexpected places and to capture the attention of potential new students. So we are moving out into the community.  In 2009, we hope to sing in several venues in and around Maynooth.  As happened last year, singers will be asked to perform in this programme whom we know to be accomplished communicators and experienced performers.  We have many such singers at IVM and we want to showcase their talents as much as we can.

Mentoring

This is our very latest project and one of the most interesting to date. We will be offering free places on our course to around 6 young singers aged from 16-18.  We want to give them a taste of what a high quality course can offer and help them in their desire to sing.  They will be mentored by 6 experienced singers, with whom they will build up a close rapport during the week.  For some of their time, these 6 young singers will shadow their mentors and experience the course at their sides.  At other times, these 6 will receive teaching, join in the Opera Scenes and generally benefit from the buzz of IVM.  We consider this to be a very exciting and worthwhile venture and hope that many of our participants will feel able to help with the Mentoring process.

Language coaching

Several staff members are excellent linguists and so help can be offered with French, German, Italian and Russian.   It is often possible to spend a few minutes at break to work on language points but the relevant staff will be equally happy to book a longer session with any student in particular need. 

Stagecraft and Movement

We offer a wide range of activites in these drop-in sessions.  Past years have witnessed Latin American dancing, fighting, script writing, all types of drama games, much laughter and great food for thought as skilled theatre practitioners have challenged us with what it is to perform on stage.   These sessions offer a vital grounding and preparation for other classes in the week and are highly recommended.

Meditation

Meditation is available each morning for a short period and gives the opportunity to focus and energize oneself for the day, as well as clearing mind and body of tensions and tiredness. It is led by Vaughn Malcolm, who has been studying with Meditation Masters Ken and Elizabeth Mellor for over twenty years, and has been teaching their material for the last decade.

Reflexology

Reflexology can be a powerful tool in the relief of aches, pains, tension, and many other complaints. At the very least it offers very deep relaxation to complement the rigours of the IVM course. Appointments are made on an individual basis, with Vaughn Malcolm, who is a qualified Reflexologist.

Life Coaching

This is becoming an increasingly popular element of IVM, and allows participants to consult Life Coach Vaughn Malcolm in private and in confidence on an individual basis. Vaughn is a very experienced coach and mentor who has worked in Business, Education and with private clients over a number of years and has his own practice in the UK.

Full details of course: Dublin 2009

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