Plateforme Interrégionale Échange et Coopération pour le développement culturel

Tours October 2014


A unique professional rendezvous dedicated to vocal practices : artistic forms, challenges, mentoring…

Repertoires : Innovative preformance forms (singing without a leader, performance design…); Audience diversity; Presentation of projects mixing musical and social practices (singing in hospital, prison…)

You can find bellow the detailed report of all the workshops and sessions.

Full report of the session


Presentation of the session by Stéphane Grosclaude, Coordinator

Participants : List and contacts (on request to the coordinator)

Press release


Special concerts :

  • National youth choir À Cœur Joie – 18 October / Website : CNJ
  • Mikrokosmos chamber choir – 21 October / Website : Mikrokosmos

Paralell events :

See the programme (in french)

Professional day of Polyfollia : show case with the guest ensembles, october 23rd

See the programme in english and in french (in french)

Programme of the session : Programme


Warms up

The morning warm-ups varied on different days. Each morning three different 45-minute sessions were offered, and delegates could chose between the six different warm-ups offered in 3 days which they wanted to attend :

Organic choir Peder Karlsson
Vocal Games in French language Erwann Jan
Voice and Qi Gong Melanie Jackson
Renaissance Music: dancing and singing Denis Raisin Dadre
Vocal games “Tribute to Meredith Monk” Loïc Pierre
Intelligent choir Lucas Tuan Minh Hoang

Comments of participants concerning the warms up

Peder Karlsson:

Denis Raisin Dadre:

Lucas Tuan Minh Hoang:

Melanie Jackson:

Erwann Jan:

Loïc Pierre :


This session was an exploration of the musical vocabulary in Europe, with the aim of achieving some consistency and improved understanding among vocal practitioners from different countries over the use of vocal terminology. The question posed was “do we understand what one another mean when we use words that appear similar?”.

Gérard Authelain introduced the session

In order to begin to investigate whether we are accurately conveying our meaning when using vocal and musical terminology across different languages and genres, participants were split into groups to share and discuss terminology and meaning across four different areas: Typology of vocal groups, Aesthetics, Vocal Terminology and Conducting.

The aim was to begin to create a glossary spanning different languages, which would describe different aspects of singing. The groups were instructed to first create a list of the words that they used to describe a certain element of their assigned topic, in English and in the languages represented in the group. Once the list was created, group participants would define what they meant by a certain word. The groups would then come together for the last 30 minutes of the session and report on their findings.

This was an interesting exercise which highlighted the differences not only between use of terminology between different countries, but the significant gaps in understanding between vocal practitioners in different styles of singing. It also became clear that aesthetic attributes could be positive, negative or neutral depending on style and context.

Typology of vocal groups

Finally, it seemed more evident to define and to draw up two tables listing the type of vocal ensembles in terms of number of singers and according to the age of the singers.


Rather than defining aesthetics, word that did not seem to be shared in all languages, the group chose to address the issue in terms of styles, distinguishing them from the perspective of the aesthetic and the point of view of the form.
The stylistic forms can be qualified under the positive side or negative, considering that the meaning may cover some terms with misunderstanding from one language to another.

Vocal termonilogy

There substantial mutual respect for one another made the conversations interesting and constructive. The group started by randomly writing down terms that could cause misunderstandings in our own language and English. Then the group divided terms into categories, skipping the terms that would need more time for to discuss.

A lot of misunderstandings appear to be created by people mixing different descriptions: imagery, audible, visual, kinesthetic and logical / anatomical. Being aware of this fact could solve a lot. It is also notable that professional tend to use more and more the correct anatomical terms.


The language about conducting led to distinguish what is part of :

  • Conducting as a profession
  • Technical part of conducting
  • Connected professions
  • Rehearsal vocabulary

Report conducting


The full list of word and agreed definitions have fed a glossary being compiled by Gérard Authelain. Gérard proposes that this glossary will utilise English words which will be given a standardised meaning for vocal practice across different languages.

Introduction to the glossary :

Exemple of glossary for the term rhythm :

 Exemle of glossary for the term voice

Master classe

The master classes are usually scheduled for solo singers with a vocal coach, but it is important for a choir to also have the opportunity to work with a singing teacher and / or with a choir conductor about vocal color.
AFPC-EVTA France had organized last year a conference with Agnès Brosset (singing teacher) and Regine Teodorsco (choir conductor), both in charge of the artistic direction of the National Youth Choir of À Chœur Joie from 2011-2013.
We wanted to continue this discussion with a practical session of two Master classes on classic and pop vocal music.

The vocal sound of the choir unsing the collaboration of a voice teacher with a conductor, with Susan Yarnall-Monks

Susan Yarnall-Monks worked with the choir National Youth Choir À Cœur Joie, directed by Philippe Forget. Susan is experienced in working with non professional choir singers and showed us how she works technically with them. It would be useless to use technical terms with people that don't know what those words mean. In order to communicate with them, she uses exercises from the methods of Kristin Linklater (Freeing Shakespeares Voice) and Alfred Tomatis (The listening posture). The result was beautiful. This voice teacher certainly knows what she's talking about, with a great modesty.

Documentation – ressources :

Susan Yarnall-Monk:

Ensemble techniques for rhythm, blend, intonation and phrasing, with Peder Karlsson

Like a true leader of a rockband, Peder Karlsson instantly turned the auditorium into a concert hall and made us sing All you need is love wholeheartedly, without saying a lot, before he started to explain his method during his work with an ensemble. He communicates in a very intuitive way, instead of literally telling the singers what he wants, which motivates them in a natural way. Every choir member is given responsibility concerning nasality, vibrato, breathiness, and so on. It's not the director who chooses what to do with the music. It's the whole group together. He didn't choose All you need is love by coincident !

Link to the PDF containing some extra material.

Feedback by Nancy Gillio-Terry

Peder Karlsson:

Practices and repertories

Soundpainting, with Angélique Cormier

Soundpainting involves the use of a large “vocabulary” of hand gestures which are used to convey instructions in improvisation to large groups of people. This was a participatory session in which participants became a performance group and were asked to create random improvised sounds of a nature that was indicated by the gestures of the leader. The leader then selected elements of these group sounds to focus on and shaped the performance in this way. Gestures were used to show participants when they needed to remember a certain sound and bring it back later for “playback” during other periods of the performance.

The technique can be useful for helping choirs to experiment with improvisation.

Angélique Cormier:

Orchestre soundpainting de Tours

Contemporary arrangement of traditionnal singing, with Géraldine Toutain

The aim of this workshop was to explore the diversity in Europe of the way of writing arrangements based on traditional music. It was great to do music together and to discover new language (Luxemburg or Occitan for example), to discover how the arrangements give different colours to the voices and to the pieces (jazzy, neo-classical, traditional…). People were very interested and the workshop could have been longer with pleasure for everyone !

Here is a table of the material presented, which readers may wish to explore for their choirs :

  • Songs from France

Rossignol du bois sauvage, Jean-Christophe Rosaz, edition Delatour – France

Le rossignol messager, Arr. Joseph Samson, extrait des Chants du Jura, edition Presses d'Ile de France

Montségur 1944, Music : Pascal Caumont, Text : René Nelli

  • Songs from Germany

Die gedanken sind frei, Volkslied (um 1880), Arr. Olivier Gies, edition Gustav Bosse GhBh

  • Songs from Luxemburg

D’Kanéileliss vu Weier, Music: trad. – Text: Jempy Welter – Adapt./Arr. Georges Urwal. Weis: Sabinchen-Moritat

Text of the song

D’Margréitchen, Michel Lentz 1883 Laurent Menager – Arr. JMK

  • Songs from United Kingdom

O Waly, Waly, from Somerset (Cecil Sharp), Arr. Benjamin Britten

O Waly, Waly, from Somerset, Arr. John Rutter

Waly, Waly, Arr. Jonathan Willcocks

  • Songs from Spain

El cant dels ocells, nativity traditional from Catalunya, Arr. Enric Ribó

Géraldine Toutain :

New spaces and forms of concert

Urban art Center “pOlau” (pôle des arts urbains)Research Institute on Arts & urbanism.

Young planners Award 2010  MEDDEMaud Le Floch.

Presentation by Maud le Floc'h

Under an initiative by Maud Le Floc'h, director-urban planner (Mission-Repérage(s), Compagnie Off, festival Rayons Frais…) and commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, the pOlau-pôle des arts urbains, develops its singular position of research center and platform of experimentation between artistic, cultural, and urban actors. The center is located in Tours, where the pOlau works at the national level. Its activities are articulated around three windows :

  • Support of urban artistic creation (residencies)
  • The conception and artistic programming on urban issues
  • The urban future, R&D programmes and cultural urbanism agency

Maud le Floc'h :

Creation and interdisciplinarity, with Erwan Jan

This session, led by musician, songwriter and choir director Erwann Jan, had to do with the creation of cross art-form productions which blend song, theatre, video, improvisation and storytelling. Erwan has directed 15 of these productions for children aged 10-14 years old, and used Powerpoint slides and video clips from his website to inform the audience about his productions. The presentation was focussed on the content of the productions, all of which seemed to follow a similar formula in which songs, storyline, and overall artistic direction was largely directed by Erwann Jan.

Erwann Jan:

The influences of the visual arts and the theatre on today's choir, with Loïc Pierre

The conductor Loïc Pierre gave a captivating presentation on the effectiveness of considering visual and theatrical aspects when working with choirs. With his choir, Mikrokosmos, elements which may include film, movement, lighting, costume, and narrative are planned and rehearsed with as much care as the musical elements, and the result – as delegates experienced at a concert on the final night of the conference, is a spell-binding performance: seamless, engaging and compelling. To illustrate his points, Loïc Pierre had created a film presentation of highly skilled choirs competing in an international choir competition. As Loïc Pierre progressed through his presentation, the effectiveness of adding visual performance elements became starkly clear.

Loïc Pierre emphasised that even small changes can make a difference to a choir's presentation, which can enhance the entire performance for both singers and audience. Choice of choir dress, spacing singers around the performance area, utilising lighting, scripting, film, movement and interaction with the audience were among the techniques demonstrated both in the demonstration and in the stunning performance “Nuit dévoilée” by Mikrokosmos at the City Hall on the final night of the conference.

Presentation (list of choirs and artists, Loïc Pierre’s biography)

Loïc Pierre:

Hip Hop and Choir singing, with François Bazola & Abderzak Houmi

In their show Face à Face, they have made a marriage of two seemingly not combinable disciplines – hip hop and baroque music, which resulted in a true thing of beauty like it has always been meant to be.
It was very inspiring to hear them talk about the process, their concept, the difficulties and their vision.

François Bazola:
Abderzak Houmi:

French and European Vocal Newtworks

The purpose of this session was to brief members on the range of French and European Vocal Networks available, to explain the purpose behind them, and to describe how they interact.

Reminding that LEO Sings is also a important network, the following organisations were pointed out :

  • A focus on french Missions voix network joined in the Plate-forme interrégionale, umbrella association of regional organisations in charge of public services for information and support for cultural development
  • The presentation of IFAC – the French Institute of Choral Arts – which serves as a resource centre for choral singers, composers and choirmasters
  • À Coeur Joie
  • Confédération musicale de France (CMF)
  • Ancoli (church choirs)
  • Peuri Cantores (children’s choirs)
  • Europa Cantat: 50 choral and conductors’ organisations in 27 European countries, organising singing weeks every year and every three years an choral festival with 4000 singers and conductors. Next one will be in Pecs – Hungary, end of july 2015!
  • International Federation of Choral Music, orgnaising every 3 years the World Symposium for Choral music, next one in Barcelona in 2017 (same as Korea this summer where LEO Sings projects was presented)

Social practices

Global overview

The term “prevented public” is used in the cultural language in France, but there is no literal English translation. Here’s what we mean by “prevented public”.

“Prevented public” designate the public who can not attend an all public activity, on the usual place of artistic practice (to sing) or cultural practice (to attend an a concert).

Behind this general term, we refer to people with severe disabilities preventing their movement (and not all disabilities), the very old people, people in hospital, people in jail… To sum up, a lot of different and varied situations, which are difficult to treat all in a single and in a same way. Another word has existed in France for several years, but that also means the school public, business…: captive audiences. As if being in an institution (hospital, prison, school…) automatically captivated people to take part in an artistic or cultural activity.

For the workshop, we have chosen to have a look at this situation through 3 axes, which can interfere at some points :

  • Singing in jails
  • Choral singing and disabled people
  • Singing in hospitals

Introduction, by Isabelle Humbert and Mériam Khaldi :

  • Elements of context : History, legislation and Science approach
  • Quantitative approach
  • Challenges

Context – introduction

Goals in each workshop :

The purpose of the session was to have a look at this situation through 3 axes (choral singing and disabled people, Singing in jails, Singing in hospitals), with the same goals of each workshop :

  • To identify and share (good) practices and information in different countries, to debate and reflect together about and from personal experiences
  • To Identify lacks and needs and to initiate the building of new contents/forms/practice based on collective ideas
  • Areas of intervention which could be explored, the means to put them into practice, each at our own level (national, European, individually and collectively).

> Resources to share

Feedback of the workshops :

In some of the workshops, we can notice a lack of experience and knowledge among the participants in artistic practice with desable people. Thus, it was not so easy to discuss the uses in the different partner’s country, to share information, to debate and reflect together about and from personal experiences…

However, some interesting experiences have helped to address the issues andto identify ideas to further explore the issues it raised.


  • First, each partner can collect information and resources in it’s own country and try to answer the 4 questions which was asked in each workshop.
  • Otherwise, we could create a workgroup with interested people to gather and share all the information and resources, to identify and share “good practices”, to debate and reflect together about and from personal experiences, to identify lacks and needs in the country and the structures…
  • The next World Symposium of CHoral Music, hosted by MCC in Barcelona in 2016 is an opportunity to present the results of this work, perhaps in the form of a workshop,
  • It is also entirely appropriate to create a new sheet in the vocabulary book about the topics “prevented people” : what are the good words, which words and expressions are “politically correct” to speak about prevented people…

– Choral singing and disabled people :

  • Legislation
  • Forms of intervention
  • Role of stakeholders
  • Training and job for musician working with disabled people
  •  Wrap up and prospects

Report of the workshop

Transcription of paper board

The situation in France : contribution from Isabelle Humbert

– Singing in jails

Descriptive scheme

The situation in France : Contribution from Mériam Khaldi

– Singing in hospitals

Transcription of paper board

Isabelle Humbert :

Mériam Khaldi :

Choir/voice teaching

The format of this session was to take the first step in creating a map of all accredited degree programmes for singing and choral conducting offered in higher education and further education institutions throughout Europe. The idea was that this information would be used to create a directory which students could use to find vocal and choral courses, and to compare the degrees available.

To provide an example of what was intended, a representative from IFAC (the French Institute for Choral Arts), listed the conservatoires in France and described the degrees available from these conservatoires, and whether they offered specialised degrees in vocal studies and choral conducting. He also described in less detail the relevant degrees available from the universities in France. This encompassed the higher education accredited pathways to choral conducting and vocal studies available in France.

The group was then asked to complete the same exercise for all of the European countries represented. Two large maps were provided (one for vocal studies and one for conducting) on which it was proposed to write the programmes, degrees and institutions available in each country.


This proved to be a difficult exercise for some countries, and very simple for others. For example, Luxembourg has no music college or university offering conducting or vocal studies degrees. Prospective music students from Luxembourg must look to study elsewhere, such as Belgium, Germany, or Holland. Other countries, such as the UK have a much higher number of institutions offering music degrees. The UK's 2015 university ranking table lists 75 accredited programmes of study, which includes both universities and conservatoires, but misses out institutions which offer singing courses in different capacities such as the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (which has a department of Singing and Music) or Rose Bruford College (which offers a BA in Actor Musicianship, and has vocal teachers on staff). There are also a large number of Further Education institutions in the UK offering Foundation degrees in singing (often in popular music or in association with acting). To map them all would be a daunting task.

Delegates suggested that this may be a research exercise that could be better undertaken outside of a conference session, although it was interesting to note how varied the opportunities for study were from one country to the next.

Higher education for conducting in France, by Pascal Baudrillart :

Places and higher education structures of choral conducting in France. The courses are eminently varying (volume levels, diplomas and competitionsprepared ) and evaluation of such contentlevels remains to be done

General education

  • 22 Universities of Music and Musicology issuing licenses and/or Master and preparing for Teachers diploma (CAPES and Aggregation) of musical education and choral singing

Music school education

  • National Conservatory in Lyon, delivering a Bachelors and Masters (9)
    + The Certificat d'Aptitude (CA) – diploma of professor
  • 7 high schools (Poles Superieurs) delivering a License and a DE (National diploma of singer/conductor) : Strasbourg, Dijon, Rennes, Toulouse, Lille, Paris (Boulogne and Aubervilliers)
  • 4 Cefedem delivering a DE (National diploma) : Nancy-Metz, Sud Aubagne, Lyon, Normandie
  • Pascal Baudrillart,

    Resources : Music higher education in France – Presentation of diplomas and music high schools in France.

    Assessments – prospects for Freiburg and future cooperation

    Florian Städtler, president of EVA, partner hosting the session in Freiburg, presented the guidelines of the session :

    List of participants