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
The new syllabus for RSCM Singing Awards (Bronze, Silver and Gold levels) is now available below.
Please note: the new syllabus is valid from 1 September 2021. All exams taken after this date will be examined according to the 2021 revised syllabus.
RSCM Awards Examination sessions for Bronze, Silver and Gold are listed under Our Events when released for booking. All three levels are now examined within the same sessions. Please contact your Area’s Regional Manager with any session queries.
NB. Paper entry for all Voice for Life Awards has now ended. Please click here to request registration as Awards Representative for candidates from your affiliation.
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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.
We have recently introduced a raft of digital Voice for Life materials hosted on the Showbie platform. These materials are designed to help candidates understand the breadth of information they need, and to help them learn on their own. Further information on these materials and how to access them will be found on the following page: Showbie Training Materials.