Voice Studies, MA/MFA

Duration: MA: one year, full-time, October start. MFA: two years, full-time, October start. Full-time, on-site attendance between July and October is not mandatory.

Award: Master of Arts in Voice Studies (180 credits); Master of Fine Arts in Voice Studies (240 credits).

MA/MFA Voice Studies
Overview

A specialised education in the study and practice of the spoken voice for acting and performance. Central’s Voice Studies courses are nationally and internationally renowned and have a close relationship with the celebrated International Centre for Voice, based at Central.

About the course

These courses are for graduates of appropriate disciplines who wish to follow a career in voice teaching or speech training, and who seek specialised study and practice in voice and speech.

They are particularly likely to appeal to professionals who already have an interest in, and knowledge of, the voice and for applying it to the fields of performance practice, performance training or other related pedagogies, for example actors, directors, drama teachers, trained singers and speech therapists.

Course Detail

MA and MFA students study together for Terms One to Three. MA students complete their course in Term Four while the MFA extends into a second year, beginning in October.

Term One (MA and MFA) develops awareness of personal and professional needs and gives a foundation in practical skills, related academic disciplines, vocal pedagogy and research methods for the more applied work that follows.

Term Two (MA and MFA) builds on this by relating acquired knowledge and practical experience to the needs of others and seeks to develop growing confidence and abilities. Practical experience of teaching, both of groups and of individuals in institutions where voice work is relevant, begins in this term.

Term Three (MA and MFA) consolidates the work already done, extends the teaching experience in a variety of contexts, and allows for a deepening of thought about voice as a field of study. It includes advice on preparation for a professional career.

Term Four (of the MA) is focused entirely on the preparation and submission of a portfolio or dissertation.

The MFA second year widens the opportunities to develop voice knowledge within a variety of professional contexts in which pertinent questions can be asked, protocols tested and new structures suggested. This will involve a combination of workplace attachments, mentorships and reflective observation where appropriate. Students are encouraged to specialise in one or more directions, building on their first year’s teaching.

Students are expected to undertake tutorials and occasional seminars throughout the year, although these may be via Skype, as part of an ongoing process of pedagogical reflection and engagement leading to the submission of a final dissertation.

The MFA offers a further embedding of skills and concepts learnt during its second year. In some countries the MFA is more recognised, particularly for those interested in teaching, or researching in a higher education environment.

Assessments

During the first three terms of both courses, assessment is through written work, practical projects and teaching practice.

In the fourth term of the MA, students complete a dissertation or portfolio focusing on their specialist area of enquiry arising from the work of the course.

In the MFA second year, assessment is by means of documents based on field experience and related research.

Download MA/MFA Voice Studies Course Specification 2015-2016 (463.24 KB)

Professional Focus

Recent Visiting Staff

Annie Morrison, Joanna Weir-Ouston, Barry Kur, Penny Dyer, Jan Haydn Rowles, Helen Ashton, Tim Birkett, Alex Bingley, Ilan Reichel, Debra Leigh, Natacha Osorio, Frankie Armstrong, Patricia Bardi.

Beyond Central

Graduate employment and career pathways include:

Chorus Director, Bromley Youth Music Trust.

Voice Lecturer, Central, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Kingston University.

Voice and Singing Tutor, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Drama.

Voice Internship, Royal Shakespeare Company.

Voice Tutor, Arts Educational.

Head of Voice, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.

Lead Vocal Supervisor, Mulberry School, London.

Head of Acting and Voice, University of Oklahoma, USA.

Voice Coach, Oregon Shakespeare Company, USA.

Head of Voice, Head of Accents and Dialect Teaching, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Lead Voice Trainer for business clients, Central Connects.

Entry Requirements and Admissions

An understanding of voice informed by appropriate work experience of at least two years is normally an essential prerequisite, or a degree (or equivalent) in a subject which has included an element of voice and speech studies. Graduates of other disciplines will be considered if they can provide evidence of previous training in voice and/or speech. You will also normally be required to have the equivalent of 20 hours teaching experience in the field of voice and/or performance-related subjects. Applicants without an undergraduate degree (or equivalent), but who have professional experience working with voice for at least two years, e.g. actors and directors, will be considered for interviews for non-standard entry. An offer will normally only be made after interview.

A top-up year for those with an exciting MA or PGDip in this subject will be available from October 2014 entry.

We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented in higher education, such as students with disabilities and members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Find out more information on Central’s commitment to equality and diversity.

English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to prove their English language proficiency by gaining an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications. Applicants are advised to gain this certification as early as possible.

Interviews in London

If you are selected for an interview for a place on the MA or MFA Voice Studies course, we will require you to bring the following:

  • an essay (1500 words) on your understanding of the nature of Voice Studies and its application to an area of professional training, e.g. actor training, oral communication skill, public speaking
  • a poem of your own choice which you can speak from memory and which is not to last longer than two minutes
  • written evidence of your academic qualifications, together with a passport-sized photo.

Please bring or wear clothes suitable for a voice/movement session.

The interview process will also give you an opportunity to find out more about the course and the School.

International Interviews

Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central traveling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.

Distance Interviews

Central does allow applicants to undertake a distance interview for this course. If you live abroad and are unable to attend an interview in person you may, at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor, be offered the opportunity of a distance interview. If you are selected for interview in this manner you will be contacted (normally by email) in order to arrange a suitable time for an interview. This will be conducted on Skype, telephone or by ‘live’ email exchange and will normally be based upon material you will have been asked to submit in advance. The interview will be conducted by the Admissions Tutor in liaison with a colleague who will have sight of your submitted materials.

Further information is in the How to Apply section.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.

Staff

View profiles of the academic staff who teach on these courses. Click on each staff member to see their CV.

Jane Boston, BA, MA, ADVS, DLT

Principal Lecturer, Course Leader MA/MFA Voice Studies, Head of The International Network for Voice

Daron Oram, BA, MA, SFHEA

Senior Lecturer, Voice

Alumni

Notable graduates of this course include:

Jess Chambers (2014) is a Voice and Dialect Coach. She has worked for a number of West End productions, such as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical, in London and Sydney, and the West End musical Made in Dagenham, as well as for other productions at The Young Vic, The Finborough Theatre and The Bush Theatre in London.

Caroline Goyder (2003) is a Voice and Public Speaking Coach and author of Gravitas: Communicate with Confidence, Influence and Authority. She is Founder and Creator of The Gravitas Method, designed to help others learn how to express themselves clearly, with passion and confidence. She regularly contributes as a voice expert on Radio 4’s Word of Mouth, BBC2’s The Speaker and BB4’s The Voice.  

Stephen Kemble (2006) regularly works as a Vocal Coach for The Royal Shakespeare Company, recently working on their productions, Wolf Hall, Bringing up the Bodies, Queen Anne and Love for Love. He has also narrated many programmes across major TV networks such as, BBC TV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Discovery Networks Europe.

Daniele Lydon (2009) has worked as a Dialect Coach for a number of West End productions including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (The Palace Theatre), The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre) and Billy Elliot the Musical (Victoria Palace Theatre). She has also worked on a number of television productions, including Poldark (BBC), An Inspector Calls (BBC) and Girl Meets Boy (BBC).

Liam French Robinson (2011) is a Freelance Voice, Accent and Dialect Coach. His previous work includesThe Bastard Executioner (FX Productions), Mr Selfridge (ITV) and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (BBC).

Rebecca Root (2008) is an Actor, and Voice and Speech Teacher. She stars in Boy Meets Girl (BBC2), and as a Voice and Speech Teacher, her fields of expertise are speech training, accents and vocal clarity for actors and drama students, and vocal adaptation for transsexual and transgender clients.

Testimonial

Jess Chambers

Graduated 2014, member of the voice teams for the RSC’s Matilda The Musical in London and Sydney and the Shaw Festival in Canada.

The practical teaching experiences I had on the MFA Voice Studies course and the pedagogical and personal reflection that the teaching staff encouraged, helped me to develop my practice and confidence and prepared me for success in the profession. Through workplace attachments and mentorships, the course offered me the opportunity to connect with industry professionals who have been key to my career development. I graduated as a highly employable coach and with work prospects that I could never have anticipated.

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