Leaving your child or young person in your care in an unfamiliar place makes many parents feel unsure: how will your young person cope? Who will be there to listen to them? Who will notice if something is wrong and they're too worried to say anything? This page aims to answer questions for parents, current or prospective.
How much do courses cost?
Who looks after the young people on NYCGB courses?
NYCGB residential courses are lead by a member of the permanent NYCGB Music Director team, who is Course Director. The Course Director has overall responsibility for everything on the course. The Course Director is supported by a Course Manager, who oversees all areas of the course.
Each course has a Head of Pastoral Care, who is usually a professional in a similar role in their main or termtime careers; many of our regular Heads of Pastoral Care work in social services, children's homes, or have pastoral responsibilities in boarding schools. They are trained to high levels and they have a wealth of experience. Their role is to care for the wellbeing of every young singer and they put welfare before music-making in every circumstance.
Support for the Head of Pastoral Care depends on the age range of the singers on the course. For junior and training choirs, there are one or two Senior Pastoral Care staff who have considerable experience on NYCGB courses, and a team of Pastoral and Social Assistants. A number of the staff on junior courses are current members of the National Youth Choir, the Chamber Choir, or recent alumni, who have applied to come back to work for NYCGB to gain experience and who bring an understanding of what it's like to be a young person away from home on a challenging, intensive residential course.
There is also a range of other staff for the musical side of the course, but in practice the roles overlap. Singing teachers and section leaders take equal care to be aware of how each singer is getting along, and have equal responsibility for flagging concerns with senior pastoral colleagues if necessary.
What is a typical day on an NYCGB course?
Days on courses generally run along similar lines as the example here. This example is for the Girls' Choirs course, which includes the youngest singers. During the early part of the course, singers in the junior choirs will also have individual singing lessons, or in the National Youth Choir, smaller sectional singing sessions.
You can review sample timetables for all of our choirs by browsing the Discover Our Choirs pages.
Will my child have any one-to-one time with an adult?
Yes, almost certainly: for a singing lesson held during the first few days of the course (junior and training choirs). From experience we have found that young people find it easier to talk about vocal concerns and worries if they are away from their peer group, and this enables the singing teacher to help support their individual needs better in the relatively short time they have available.
NYCGB takes its responsibilities for the well-being and safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults in its care seriously.
What are the overnight arrangements on an NYCGB residential course?
NYCGB courses are usually held at boarding schools. There are two key criteria: We need two good rehearsal spaces, preferably not miles apart; we need boarding houses to sleep everyone preferably also close by, not ten minutes' walk down a lane or up a hill; and we need to be able to afford to keep the costs low.
Members sleep in rooms housing between one and four people. On junior courses we try not to put people in single rooms unless there is a specific request. Many people ask to share with particular roommates after they have made friends on previous courses. On courses for mixed choirs, boys and girls each have specific boarding houses.
Each boarding house has pastoral team present for any overnight needs, and these staff can alert the Head of Pastoral Care if they need to.
What kind of food is available on an NYCGB course?
There are cooked food and fruit and fresh food options at every mealtime, with salad options at lunch and tea. We frequently request catering for singers with specific dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten- or nut-free.
It is obviously easier to ensure that everything is set up if specific dietary requests come to the administrator in good time before a course.
Recommending singing teachers
NYCGB is often asked whether we can recommend singing teachers. Unfortunately, we are not sufficiently resourced to be able to vet singing teachers so we’re unable to recommend anyone to our members. We also don’t have the resources to keep an up-to-date list of singing teachers around the UK.
The best place to start would be your local music service and/or music hub for advice on a regional basis; alternatively, you can enquire via the music department of your nearest Cathedral. NYCGB's choir finder will soon be installed on this website, so you can search for a local choir for advice.
Where do other young singers on NYCGB courses come from?
Singers come from right across the UK, urban, rural, north, south, west and east; and some from slightly further afield. NYCGB's nationwide auditions programme and bursary scheme aim to make access for outstanding young singers from any background possible and realistic.
All NYCGB members are different, except for one key area: they are passionate about singing and as keen as your own child is to meet other people who love singing as much as they do.