Voice for Life & Singing Awards
The Voice for Life training scheme provides a framework for choral singers to develop their vocal skills, their musical understanding and their knowledge of repertoire. It comes with a range of teaching material and supporting resources, and gives plenty of advice on the practicalities of running a choir. Voice for Life is easy to use for both choir trainers and singers and deliberately sets the vocal work of the choir in its musical and wider context.
RSCM Singing Awards celebrate singers’ achievements and progress, through formal examinations at three levels; Bronze, Silver and Gold. Designed to run in parallel to Voice for Life, they affirm the work done by singers and choir trainers in choirs in a standardised way.
‘Singing lies at the heart of worship. Voice for Life has a valuable part to play in giving life and soul to us all as we worship and learn.’
Dr John Rutter, composer and conductor
Bronze/Silver Awards entry
Bronze and Silver Award sessions are arranged by local area committees. See events below for upcoming sessions, or visit the relevant Area page.
Gold Award downloads
Gold Award entry
Each year there is a ‘summer’ and an ‘autumn’ exam session, with entry deadline dates of 1 May and 1 October respectively. There are two ways to submit your application:
either send your submissions, signed submissions form and entry form to firstname.lastname@example.org (you will be sent a payment link with confirmation of receipt)
or send two copies of your submission, signed submissions form and entry form to RSCM Gold Award, 19 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EB (payment can be made by cheque, payable to ‘RSCM’, or online once received).
Gold Award upcoming session dates
Dates and regions for the next Gold Award session will be published here two weeks before the closing date for entries (1st May and 1st October each year). Dates cannot be guaranteed, and are dependent upon at least 3 Gold Award candidates indicating they are available on the date shown and in that region.
Entries must be submitted complete with ALL documentation.
The autumn 2019 regional dates are:
|9 November (Sat)||South Wales|
|9 November (Sat)||Central South|
|12 November (Tue)||Scotland|
|13 November (Wed)||North West|
|13 November (Wed)||South London|
|14 November (Thu)||South West|
|15 November (Fri)||West Midlands|
|15 November (Fri)||Berks., Bucks. & Oxon.|
|18 November (Mon)||North East|
|19 November (Tue)||South East|
|22 November (Fri)||Guildford|
Write your choice of region, if you wish, in Box 5 of your Gold Award application form. Regions and dates as listed here are subject to change, depending on the number of candidates requesting each venue, so don’t forget to mention any impossible dates in Box 6 too. Exact locations and final timetables for each session are confirmed after the entry deadline, once all the candidates’ details are known. Gold Award candidates in Ireland should contact their regional coordinator, Elena Henriquez (email@example.com).
Q. How does Voice for Life work?
A. There are five Voice for Life levels; white, light blue, dark blue, red and yellow. Each level has graded targets which the choir trainer or teacher assesses. Once a singer has completed the necessary training for that level, reached the targets and finished their workbook, they can be awarded their RSCM Voice for Life medal and the appropriately coloured ribbon (for robed choirs) or coloured lapel badge (for non-robed choirs). They then move on to the next level.
Medals, ribbons and badges can be bought from RSCM Music Direct.
Q. How do Singing Awards fit in with Voice for Life?
A. White, Light Blue and Dark Blue help a candidate prepare for their Bronze award, Red for the Silver award, and Yellow for the Gold award.
Q. What is taught in Voice for Life?
A. Module A: Using the voice well
This module teaches singers how to develop good vocal technique. It begins by helping singers get used to the physical sensations of healthy vocal technique, and in the later levels develops their understanding of the physiology of the voice.
Module B: Musical skills and understanding
This module develops knowledge of music theory and notation, and then encourages singers to demonstrate this understanding through sight-singing and aural skills.
Module C: Repertoire
This module develops a good understanding of the musical and historical contexts of the music performed by the choir or individual singer. It also gives singers the opportunity to demonstrate the musical understanding they gain in Module B through simple musical analysis.
Module D: Belonging to the choir
This module considers the wider issues related to being part of a choir, including commitment, punctuality and responsibility and how singers can be encouraged to make a good contribution.
Module E: Choir in context
This module encourages singers to explore the wider context of its choir’s existence: Why do they sing in that particular choir? Why does the choir exist? For whom does it sing? How does the choir benefit its members and those outside the choir?
Q. Is Voice for Life suitable for adult singers?
A. Absolutely! Voice for Life is designed to be suitable for singers of all ages. The language used is clear and straightforward, but is not directed at a particular age group.
Q. Does every singer have to start with White level?
A. Definitely not! Some singers will enter the programme with previous vocal or instrumental experience, so it is important that they start at the level which best suits them.
Q. There’s too much to fit into my choir’s schedule already – how can I fit Voice for Life in too?
A. Much of the training will become part of your usual rehearsal time; for example, the vocal exercises can be incorporated at the beginning of your rehearsal as warm-ups or to break up the rehearsal, and you can provide training on posture, breathing, diction, etc. Module C can be explored simply through the music you sing each week. And bear in mind that choir trainers don’t necessarily have to do the training themselves – why not involve a senior member of your choir in aspects of the teaching?
Q. What if a singer doesn’t want to take the awards?
A. That’s fine! Voice for Life can be used on its own to provide training and motivation to singers within a choir. There is no need to take the awards if your singer is unhappy about undertaking such formal assessments.
Q. What resources and supporting materials are available?
A. Five singer workbooks and three books for choir trainers are the core programme materials. You can also buy medals, badges, certificates and wall-charts to mark your singers’ progress. All Voice for Life products are available at a discounted rate to RSCM affiliates and individual/student members from RSCM Music Direct.