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Othona Community, West Dorset – The Singer and The Song

A six day (five night) course of intense music making, designed to support Gold Award participants with a love of singing and/or songwriting for their Residential. Open to 16-24 year olds only. At the Othona West Dorset centre, set in meadows and woods overlooking an unspoilt beach. Joanna Eden is a singer-pianist/songwriter and mentor to Sam Smith (yes, the Sam Smith).

Steve Watts is a vocal and performance coach. Together they lead six days of singing and songwriting, culminating in performance (among ourselves!) and the opportunity to go home with a demo-quality recording of one song. Through group workshops and individual classes in vocal technique, Joanna Eden and Steve Watts aim to unleash in each participant the joy of performance, by harnessing their natural energy and learning how to address fears and anxieties. The atmosphere will not be competitive; you may be a confident performer or a relative beginner, but everyone will be given equal respect.

There’ll be a lot of creativity about this week, with some singing and jamming together just for the fun of it and space for you to evolve your own musical collaborations. If you are a budding songwriter Joanna and Steve will offer their experience and positive hints to help you develop that skill. There will also be guidance on song and gig promotion and how to turn your gifts into positive personal and career outcomes throughout your life. Apart from her teaching credits, Joanna has been a recording artist and songwriter for over twenty years. She also runs community singing and writing projects in her native Saffron Walden. She has led ‘Let’s Make a Musical’ summer activity weeks at Othona. For nine years she was Sam Smith’s personal singing teacher and co-wrote one of his first songs! (See interview with Jo about Sam!)

In a 25 year stage career, Steve has appeared in plays, musicals and operettas in the West End, at the National Theatre and on major national and international tours. Steve’s other vocation is in education, about which he is passionate; he is proud to be highly experienced and skilled as a teacher of both acting and singing. This residential within the special community ethos of Othona West Dorset does not just offer you great music-making. There is also a unique experience of building community with other participants, something Othona has been doing since 1946. Everyone lends a hand with a simple household task each day, one evening a local gig trip will be on offer, and the beach is ten minutes walk through woods and fields. Othona is a spiritually-based community of the most open sort – you’ll be welcome to join the residents in their morning meditation if you wish.


For more information, or to book, please contact us on;

Tel: 01308 897 130

E-mail: [email protected]

Web: www.othonawestdorset.org.uk

Course date:
15th - 20th July
Course location:
Othona West Dorset centre
Course fee: