Paul Spicer
Talks and WorkshopsPaul Spicer Talks & Workshops

Talks and Lectures

Paul Spicer is a popular speaker and he gives frequent talks, lectures and occasional sermons and after dinner speeches. He also broadcasts often for BBC Radio 4 on musical matters. Talks and lectures are usually on subjects relating to British Music, and especially his specialist subjects of Herbert Howells, Gerald Finzi and George Dyson. Wider subject matter is always considered. Lectures or talks in recent years have included:

The 2005 RCM Crees Lecture on 'Performing British Music'

Elgar's Influences for the Elgar Birthplace Museum

Lecture for Yale University organ students on the challenges of three different British choral works

Music and the Passion for Gloucester Cathedral's Lent Series

Talk for the National Precentors' Conference

Two major workshop talks for the Diocese of Salisbury

Talk for English Music Festival on Dyson's Agincourt

Many lectures in different venues about Howells, Dyson and Finzi

Many lectures on choirtraining and work with choirs

Talk on Thomas Traherne and music given to the Traherne Society
2005 Truro Cathedral Music Appeal launch

Talk for Walsall church on Christianity and Music

Worksop College Speeches

Talk for the Leicester Recorded Music Society on neglected British repertoire

Benjamin Britten's choral music (Southern Cathedrals Festival and Lichfield Cathedral)

Elgar's 'Caractacus' (Three Choirs Festival and Elgar Society branches in Edinburgh and Manchester)

Dyson's The Canterbury Pilgrims (Three Choirs Festival)

John Ireland: The Royal College of Music

Howells' songs at St/ John's College, Cambridge

Music for Passiontide: Lichfield Cathedral

Britten's choral music for R3's 'The Choir'


Workshops and Masterclasses
Choral Workshops

Paul Spicer enjoys giving choral workshops almost more than anything! He loves being with a disparate group of singers and making them sing like an experienced choir by the end of a day. He also enjoys working with existing choirs, helping them to move on a stage, realise their potential, workshop a particular work, or simply give them a day's break from their regular conductor!

He moves through some extensive physical and vocal warm-up exercises – all of which will be relevant to the music sung during the day – and moves to music making which will hopefully inspire the singers to give of their best 100% of the time. The sessions are also intended to be continuous singing lessons as Paul works extensively on vocal technique, and all the music is prepared and rehearsed with good vocal production in mind. It is exhausting, rewarding and fun!

A day will often end with a culminatory workshop 'performance' of the music rehearsed.

Paul has given hundreds of workshops all over the UK, New Zealand, Canada, America, and on the continent of Europe. He has also given many workshops for Making Music (NFMS), for the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD) and the Royal College of Organists (RCO).

Report from the Helensburgh (Scotland) Oratorio Choir on  choral workshop on Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius

Paul also gives masterclasses to conductors, choirs and chamber ensembles. These have included classes for the Royal College of Organists (for whom he also examines) and the Royal Academy of Music. He has wide experience of giving classes and has been involved as a coach and presenter in numerous BBC Radio Masterclass programmes. His role as well-known teacher of choral conducting has given him considerable further opportunities to instruct young conductors.


Summer School
English Choral Experience

Paul runs three courses under the banner of the English Choral Experience. See for the full details of all courses. The principal week takes place in July in the ancient Cistercian abbey building at Abbey Dore in the Golden Valley of Herefordshire. It is a perfect setting for our music making and we have been running this course since 2007.

Abbey DoreThe course is available for up to 60 singers and a small Consort is taken out of the bigger group to sing Compline on two occasions during the week and sing at the Sung Eucharist in the Abbey service on the final Sunday. The music for the course is English (hence the title of the course) reflecting Paul's specialist interest and has at its heart a big-scale work which we do with piano accompaniment (Mark Opstad is the pianist) and the programme also has shorter choral works from a variety of periods.

The course is also a mini Arts Festival with late evening concerts (starting at 9pm for one hour), a talk on a musical subject usually related to our singing programme, and a wonderfully varied series of art exhibitions.

The catering for the course is a much-anticipated part of the week's activities and is expertly cooked by Mary Powell who uses all locally sourced food. All the wine sand soft drinks are included in the price of the course. There is Pimms party to get everything going at the beginning which is also a Private View of the exhibitions, and a Bucks Fizz party after the final concert.

The course encourages experienced singers to come and enjoy a wonderful week in fabulous surroundings. We also take two student conductors on subsidised fees who conduct both the main choir and the Consort throughout week and have short daily lessons with Paul.

Abbey DoreIn May we runs weekend CAMERATA chamber choir course for expert singers. We meet in Dore Abbey on Saturday and sing the Abbey service on Sunday morning and a concert on Sunday afternoon. Lunch is provided in Abbey Dore Village Hall on both days. This course is only for advanced singers.

Abbey DoreIn the week immediately following Easter Sunday we go to France for a week of singing at Chateau Béduer in the Lot region of South West France near Figeac. The programme follows a similar pattern as the Abbey Week described above but the music is not exclusively English and there is a whole day off in the middle for exploring the beautiful local area. Chateau Béduer is a stunning building with fabulous accommodation. The course is accommodated in the chateau and in several gites on its estate as well as in local B&Bs if we exceed the numbers that we can put up on site. We are also fortunate to have our own popular caterers, Alison and Ken Miller, well known to previous course attendees from the two years we were at Roujan, near Montpellier. They give us breakfast, home made cakes at coffee time, lunch and supper with, again, all drinks provided in the cost of the course. See the website for full details.

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