A Vocal Improvisation immersion.
August 23-30 2019 | @ The Beautiful Penpont, Brecon, on the edge of the Beacons.
This is a week for confident experienced singers who want to dive into the challenging, thrilling, sacred art form of Vocal Improvisation.
Vocal improvisation – the Contemporary American approach to which was pioneered by masters like Bobby McFerrin and Rhiannon – is the art of vocal composition in real time, alone and with others. It’s a medium for performance, community music, music learning and teaching, therapy healing and growth, spiritual life – and perhaps recording!
This is a week-long retreat on the edge of the Brecon Beacons for up to 16 experienced singers, to dive into this delicious artform. We will:
Open the full resonance of your body and come more vibrantly into your true voice; singing with ease, power, beauty and authenticity – as well as vocal health and sustainability.
Sharpen our chops: we’ll refine our use of rhythm, harmony and melody, and integrate these ‘chops’ into our musicianship.
Learn to improvise with lyrics. You can do it!
Learn forms for improvising with others, from introductory to advanced.
Connect to a wellspring beneath all of our creativity, and surrender to it. We’ll be nourished by it. I hold it as sacred.
Support one another. Singing goes deep.
Be outside a lot! When the weather is clement. We’ll study by the river, sing to the river, sing to the land and the sheep and the hills.
Eat healthily and detox. It’s a drug and alcohol free week. The food is organic, sugar-free, wheat optional. Every morning 8-9 will be optional yoga, dance, or you’ll walk or run on the land if you want to.
Ultimately, these weeks support your voice, your musicianship, your creativity, your aliveness, your growth and your wellbeing. They always sell out.
Sliding scale: £700 – £500 sliding scale which includes five days’ tuition, 7 nights sleeping 2-3 to an (exceedingly comfortable) room, and full organic and very healthy board cooked by one of our wonderful chefs; you’ll be asked to help with washing up.
Friday 23rd August 3pm onwards: arrive and settle in, welcome dinner.
Saturday: Opening, getting started with Vocal Improv.
Sunday: Free day! Packed lunch provided after breakfast. Explore the beacons. Rest. Be.
Timings for Saturday and Monday – Thursday:
8-9am | Yoga or dance
10 – 1 | Morning Vocal Improv session
3 – 6 | Afternoon Vocal Improv session
There’ll be one led evening session, and the option for self-led campfires, jam sessions and so on.
Thurdsay 4pm: Closing circle
Friday 30th August 10.30am: leave Penpont.
Briony Greenhill teaches vocal improvisation internationally in weekend, week long and year long courses. Briony typically teaches performing and recording artists, music teachers and graduates, choir leaders and those with a deep relationship with singing.
This will be pitched at an intermediate level with capacity to take it in a slightly more or less advanced direction; improvisation is flexible and ‘personalisable’ like that.
Briony has studied with Bobby McFerrin, and has studied and performed with Rhiannon. She released the world’s first entirely improvised 5 voice album, Listen, with The Elements quintet. Briony teachers, performs and studies; and is currently geeking out on non-diatonic harmony, transcribing Esperanza Spalding and Abduallah Ibrahim by ear, and is basically deeply in love with music.
Please direct questions to Daniella Dean: Dee@brionygreenhill.com.
Penpont is a beautiful, 350 year old home with extensive grounds on about 2,000 acres of land, including a 2000 year old yew tree; on the banks of a beautiful river with swimming holes right by the bridge.
Previous students have said:
“It was epic – and that’s an understatement.”
“You are a master.”
“Briony is the Rolls-Royce of voice teachers!”
“It was deeper than an ayahuasca ceremony; I grew more than in workshops with leading psychologists, and it’s the safest I’ve ever felt in a group.”
“One of the most powerful experiences of my life! I feel changed on a cellular level!”
“Being bathed in beauty. Being held in love. Being winkled out of a shell. Being birthed into a new world.”
“You made it feel like a womb. Protected, loved, nourished, warm and holding.”
“Most unqualified joy of the entire week.”
“Some singing teachers teach you sing with your voice. Briony teaches you to sing with your heart and sing from your soul.”
“What a joy! Such delicious healing offered in the sound therapy in small groups. I intend to emulate her in my own workshops and include several of the exercises she offered.”
“At the end it was like “Wow! did that happen?”
“Everyone I send to you comes to me afterwards and says, “she is f*****g rocking my s**t!””
“Watching you facilitate was a demonstration of a kind of mastery (or should that be mistressy!) of the energy flows around groups, singing and Improvisation.”
“You take people through the window of music into the Cathedral of consciousness. The spiritual energy is grounding, uplifting, beautiful.”
“It was seriously fun, crazy, inspiring, opening and meditative, all at the same time.”
“Classically experiential. Heartfully and skillfully and humbly led and deeply moving for those in my little group.”
“Briony really made us all feel at home – starting off with exercises that didn’t force me outside of my comfort zone, and a no judgement pact, really allowed me to feel comfortable with the group, which then gave me the confidence to try out some solos.”
“I work with Briony because she teaches me how to use my voice to get to know myself, express myself, and expand myself.”
“it gave me confidence to be more playful and enjoy my voice which I’m often nervous about in non-classical settings.”
“I am so glad that I did it – what an exhilarating experience!”