Today we’re speaking with Ben Parry, the Artistic Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain – but as you’ll hear that’s just one of many musical roles he has, including formerly being a singer and arranger with the world-famous a cappella group The Swingle Singers, and directing the London Voices choir which has performed on many of the Hollywood film soundtracks that we all know and love.

We recently had the pleasure of attending a workshop Ben presented at the London A Cappella Festival and he had such a great way of getting people of all ability levels quickly singing some quite complex music, we knew we had to invite him onto the show to share his ideas with you.

In this conversation we discuss:

  • His own journey from classical church music to cabaret and a cappella, and how it’s all informed the way he helps people sing now.
  • Why having a choir get their tuning from a piano can be a really bad idea.
  • The pros and cons of using intervals versus using scale degrees (such as solfa or note numbers)

Ben is clearly a man who has thought deeply about singing in all forms and brings his unique experience and perspective to all his roles to the benefit of his singers. We loved having the opportunity to pick his brains, and whatever kind of singer you might be – whether you’re a vocal pro or just do karaoke at the pub, or you sing with your local choir or in a barbershop group, or you’re only willing to sing in the shower but you wish you could do more – we know you’re going to really enjoy this episode.

Listen to the episode:

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Seasoned singer, arranger, and choir director Ben Parry talks ear training, approaching singing, and the unique requirements of a capella.