Singing & Theatre Arts Teacher, Musical Director, Piano Accompanist & Composer
Teaching singing is a huge passion of mine as working with every voice is different. I teach a huge range of pupils of different ages and varying abilities but with different interests. This can be recapping and improving basic technique, working towards exams, a single concert or an audition for a drama school. I use the Estill model in my teaching and specialise in musical theatre but I do teach and work with people performing many different styles. A basic and fundamental understanding of how the voice works supports all styles of singing.
I have been working as a singing teacher since 2012 determined to provide young people and musical theatre performers with an excellent education in how their voices work and how to use them efficiently. Musical theatre and other contemporary vocal styles often receive concerns from performers and teachers about the damage it causes to voices and the longevity of a career. This is complete nonsense and there are many musical theatre, pop and rock vocalists who have been singing and performing all their lives with excellent technique, keeping their voices healthy. Also the research is continuing to grow to help us understand more clearly; how our voices work and how to use them efficiently.
I am a supporter of the Estill model and attend regular courses led by Anne Marie Speed to use in my teaching but I also call upon other techniques I’ve learnt from other teachers and researchers. As well as Anne Marie Speed I follow advice from Ross Campbell, Mary Hammond and Mary King who teach on the musical theatre course at the Royal Academy of Music.
My experience involves working with children privately and in group lessons focusing on musical awareness and developing their sense of pitch and singing as an ensemble (if in a group). I’ve led children’s choirs and do a lot of work for youth theatre groups providing support for when boys and girls start to go through their voice change. I do a lot of work especially with young boy’s voices; supporting them through the change and helping them find their “new” voice.
Other experience includes working with musical theatre and acting students with developing technique and interpreting material. I offer support working towards auditions for drama schools and other vocational courses and assisting professional performers prepare new material for their auditions. Past pupils have gone on to study at Arts Ed, ALRA, Chichester, Italia Conti, The Brit School and the Urdang Academy. Others have appeared in West End shows such as The Lion King, Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
For pupils wanting to take exams in singing and musical theatre I do that too. Most of my pupils take Trinity College exams as their syllabus and exam experience in my opinion is excellent. The singing exams are flexible to suit any pupil and the range of repertoire to perform is huge. Previous pupils have also taken London College of Music exams in Music Theatre and Rockschool vocal exams with a 100% pass rate across all three boards.
Normally lessons are an 55 minutes long but for younger children I tend to offer 40 minute lessons. I am flexible regards timings; some pupils have an hour and a half or two hours depending on their requirements and preference. If you have a piano at home or there is space for me to bring a digital piano I can travel to you for a small extra fee or you can come to my studio in Kingston upon Thames.
Please read my testimonials to see what previous students and parents say about me as I aim to make lessons fun and engaging whilst striving for improvement in every lesson. I aim to provide all my students with the tools to enable them to understand their voices and how to get the best out of them including how to recognise vocal problems. All my lessons are tailored to the student and their needs or requirements.
Previously I’ve worked for Italia Conti Arts Centre, Academy of Performance Training, The Ultimate Voice, Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools and Richmond Theatre.
To book or for any queries regarding group tuition, choir leading or worshops please email
or call: 07531926132
For private tuition please fill in the form below or book a lesson via the scheduler.
Jeremy Todd (Actor) Date: December 2018
Our sessions had a considerable impact on my working year - thank you for giving me the confidence to say yes to an acting job with a demanding singing element.
Liam Buckland Date: August 2016
Having trained part-time at Italia Conti Arts Centre, Guildford, for at least 5 years now, James has only just recently started teaching us singing, and I now wish he was there right from the start of my time there! He has not only brought a positive and energetic vibe to our lessons, but his teaching skills in technique and performance are exceptional! I have only known James for a few months now, but in those few months I have learn't so many things that a singer needs to have in the industry- such as having great stage presence, believing in your character, and applying technique to the songs you sing in order to give a fantastic performance to your audience. James has managed to help me in all these areas with my singing! In addition to this, I am not a very confident singer, being criticised a lot in the past, and James has really helped me to overcome this fear of mine and has really pushed and improved me! I would highly recommend.
Hayley Date: December 2015
I started lessons with James having had a six year gap from taking lessons with the aim of completng my LCM Music Theatre grade. My previous experience of lessons involved learning how to sing a song, however, what really marks James out as a teacher is his ability to help you actually deliver it as a performer focusing on characterization, movement, mood and subject-matter. His patience, friendly personality and good humour will make your lessons an enjoyable experience. I got my first distinction in a singing exam and his focus surely had an impact on my overall grade so thank you James!
Connie Allen Date: June 2015
James prepared my daughter for her Grade 8 singing exam which she successfully passed with merit. He was always reliable, very professional and well prepared for lessons and she really enjoyed working with him. We can thoroughly recommend him as a singing teacher.