WCGC singing workshop - introduction to gospel singing

This is the first in a series that WCGC aim to run and provides a firm introduction to gospel singing. Rachel Bradley, Director of Wakefield Community Gospel Choir, leads this one day workshop that teaches gospel style singing - exploring its history and its influence on contemporary secular pop music.

Gospel is a highly emotional vocal style that has not only provided the foundations for soul music but has also had a far reaching effect on pop and contemporary culture in general. If you have a passing interest in pop music you may already have more of an appreciation of gospel music than you might realise.

This singing style has been a major influence on artists such as Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Al Green, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, Elvis Presley, and Stevie Wonder to name but a few. And beyond soul music, it's prevalence has carried to funk, disco, R&B and even rock music.

Gospel still resonates within contemporary music and you can hear its pervasiveness in many songs released in recent decades - in the music of artists such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Amy Winehouse, John Legend, CeeLo Green, and Adele. What is evident is that you don't need to be religious to enjoy gospel music and you don't need to be religious to sing in this style either.

This workshop will allow you to learn some of the basic techniques that lie at the heart of gospel style singing and by the end of the day we will be encouraging you to apply these techniques to your own singing.


This workshop will provide a brief introduction to how the voice works, exploring the difference between head voice and chest voice. Some of the historical context of gospel music will be presented and used as the basis for exploring gospel singing techniques such as melisma, word painting and improvisation. The workshop will also look at how to create and establish harmonies in group singing. This course is suitable for all levels including beginners.

The second part of the workshop will involve the teaching of a secular pop song that has been influenced by gospel.

**Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult