Here are some comments about Claire’s teaching from students, their parents, educational establishments and opera companies:
“Claire explains things really well and makes it fun” – Josie, age 7
“I love having singing lessons with Claire – she’s great” – Jacqui, age 7
“Claire is kind and happy when she is teaching, which makes me happy” – Rosie, age 7
“I really enjoy my singing lessons with Claire because she lets me sing all the songs I like” – Alice, age 11
“Claire Surman is a truly inspiring teacher, with a stunning voice, friendly, humble personality and amazing sense of humour. In just over a year, I was able develop to a high standard, having been accepted to study opera at Birmingham Conservatoire in September 2015, and continue to make excellent progress. Due to her precision, sensitivity and acute knowledge of the voice, Claire has helped me grasp the technical aspects of singing without overwhelming me with convoluted explanations. Instead, her use of concise metaphors and gestures to support specialised vocabulary have enabled me to improve and are now an essential part of my practices. Additionally, Claire’s technique is rock solid, enabling the healthiest production of sound, and she has offered indispensable advice on vocal well being. If you take up lessons with Claire Surman, you will be in very able and safe hands indeed.” – Jack, age 18
“I started lessons with Claire Surman 5 years ago when I was 13 years old. Claire is an incredible teacher who makes you make so much progress you never thought you would make. Her friendly, chatty personality made me settle immediately and I felt so comfortable singing in front of her. In my first lesson she brought me back to the basics on how to sing. I thought she was crazy when she told me to hold my finger up like a policeman but everything she did worked. Her knowledge of anatomy and techniques is vast, which was so important in helping me understand the voice. Furthermore, Claire’s knowledge of various repertoire is huge. She has helped me choose numerous audition songs and performance numbers and has been such a source of support to me. As well as this, she took me through my ABRSM exams from grade 4 up to grade 8. I am not a classical singer and in fact want a career in musical theatre. However, these exams have helped develop my technique, improve my music theoretical knowledge and most importantly build my confidence in different genres of singing. I’m now studying musical theatre at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and I cannot thank Claire enough for such an amazing 5 years.” – Amy, age 18
“Although in the past I have never been good at singing, singing is something that I have always wanted to learn how to do, so over the years I have had three different singing teachers. Claire is definitely the best of the three. The main reason for this is her ability to adapt her communication style and lesson content to the situation – so in every lesson I am able to pick up something new and relevant to work on. The things that Claire has asked me to do to date have improved my singing ability dramatically in just a few weeks. One example is that I can now pitch notes confidently and accurately when previously it took me ages to just get close to the correct note. Claire has also worked hard on building a solid foundation for my voice and the methods she uses seem to be paying off in my improving singing abilities. Overall, I would strongly recommend Claire as a very skilled and very dedicated teacher who always gives everything she can in lessons to help improve those whom she teaches” – Ian, age 50
“Claire has been my singing teacher since July 2011. I love to sing, and also to choose what I want to sing – especially musical theatre. Claire is very happy to look at whatever music I bring. I look forward to my singing lessons every Friday. Thank you Claire for your patience and support for my singing, for helping me to reach the high notes and reach my potential” – Caroline, age 41
“Claire was designed to teach children. She understands how they think, is lots of fun, oozes enthusiasm and is always positive and kind. As a parent you will find her to be well organised, honest and reliable. She is also the only teacher I have found who is truly flexible. Your child will be able to sing all their favourite songs from classical right through to pop. My daughter’s singing has improved beyond recognition in just a few months – thank you Claire!”
– Ann (Alice’s Mum)
SCHOOLS AND MUSIC SERVICES:
“Claire worked with an energy and passion that was both encouraging and supportive, whilst being appropriately challenging. The constant balancing of these teaching skills is difficult to achieve and I was impressed at the way in which Claire was able to adjust the balance to suit the particular pupil she was working with. Claire brought a real sense of fun to the day and this, combined with her superb voice, helped all the singers gain so much from every session.”
– Tim Parker, Secondary School Music Teacher and Vocal Co-ordinator (individual singing lessons given in front of music staff and invited guests)
“Claire clearly has complete control over her instrument and this enabled her to easily demonstrate vocal techniques ranging from the basic areas of posture, breathing and vowel shaping (to name a few) to the much more advanced skills of cadenza work, ornaments, register transition (particularly working with the female singers on the transition from modal voice into thin fold – an area that many young singers struggle with). Claire was able to demonstrate all of these techniques with ease, showing the pupils the ‘next steps’. This attention to pupils’ progression ensured that all pupils felt that their individual needs were being addressed.
Claire clearly has a very good understanding of how to work with a range of group sizes (from an individual student to a group of 25+ as she did on this particular day). This is one of the most essential skills of a successful teacher as, without proper control over pupils, Claire would have not been able to pass on so much advice (in such an enjoyable way). Claire very quickly built up a very good rapport with all the singers and they were engaged throughout the day, clearly showing that they had a huge amount of respect for Claire.
I therefore have no hesitation in recommending her as a singing teacher.”
– The Vocal Co-ordinator for Bath and North East Somerset Music Service (Masterclass with individual singers, given in front of an audience of their peers)
“For many years, Claire has been involved in delivering educational projects to a variety of age groups for Glyndebourne Education…from primary and secondary school students to CPD training for music and drama teachers working in mainstream and specialist education.
Claire’s ability as a performer has led to a number of principal roles working for major opera companies, concert halls and television. However during her career she has always found time to include substantial education projects in her schedule.
Her leadership skills and her communication and interaction with a room full of people allows her to draw the focus of any group towards engaging with an activity to the greatest possible extent. This, combined with her background in teaching, ensures she understands what teachers are trying to achieve and makes her sympathetic to the needs and resources of schools when trying to develop performing arts in the curriculum.
We are extremely grateful for the work and outcomes she has achieved, and I have no hesitation in recommending her for other opportunities to engage and enthuse students in singing and performing.”
– James Hancox, Education Projects Manager, Glyndebourne Education