Bracha Music

Bernie Bracha: teacher, choir leader and coach

Experience the sheer joy and pleasure of joining others to create music!

Bernie Bracha in a blue dress sitting on a wall

Bernie Bracha

Music has been a lifelong passion and I have always loved making music in various choirs, orchestras and musicals. I soon realised that I’m better at encouraging others to perform and a career in education seemed obvious.

As a teacher, the most rewarding part of the job was encouraging young people to experience the confidence and feel-good factor which comes from singing in a choir or a musical production.  I believe it’s singing with others that really helps build a sense of fun and belonging. Having spent thirty years as a teacher, I now work with adults to pass on that same sense of achievement which comes from group singing.  You can’t beat walking out of a choir session feeling uplifted and with songs going round and round in your head!

My Music-Making Experience

Education

After completing my degree in Music and Education in Leeds, I started my career as a secondary school music teacher in Rochdale. It was here that I developed a love of teaching and a determination to ensure that all students, regardless of background or ability, had access to the enjoyment that comes from making music with others.

Teaching

My progression as a teacher continued when I moved to Nottinghamshire where I worked in three different schools as Head of Music, Head of Arts, Assistant Headteacher and Acting Deputy Headteacher. The highlights of my career were always the extra events that I organised: annual school productions, arts festivals, collaborations (one was with the Royal Ballet School), achieving awards for the schools (such as Artsmark Gold) and performing in prestigious venues in the UK and Europe. I love it when I bump into former students and they tell me how much they enjoyed these experiences!

Community

After 30 years in Education, I left the classroom to work with adults in the community where I lived. I was determined to set up a choir which would be accessible to all. I acquired my diploma in Choral Directing with the Association of British Choral Directors and I attended conducting courses and workshops with a number of organisations, including Sing for Pleasure. In March 2012 I launched the Ruddington Community Choir, an adult choir for all ages and abilities, with no auditions and no need to be able to read music. This was followed by the Lady Bay Community Choir. I also directed the Radcliffe on Trent Male Voice Choir for a few months while their Musical Director took maternity leave.

Tuneless Choir

In 2015 I met Nadine Cooper, who was told at a young age to stop singing because she was spoiling it for everyone else. This led to us launching the West Bridgford Tuneless Choir in January 2016 which attracted lots of attention from the media and we appeared on numerous radio and TV programmes including the BBC News and the One Show. There are now around 30 Tuneless Choirs in the UK, all singing like no one is listening both in person and virtually, including Nottingham City Tuneless Choir which I also run.

Music Making

I get my own musical challenge from singing with Mirabilé Vocal Ensemble, an award-winning female ensemble based in West Bridgford, and through membership of the Creative Choir Leader Inspire group, which links me to choir leaders all over the world and provides me with courses, repertoire and masterclasses so that I continue developing my own skills as a choir leader.

Education Consultancy

A little piece of my heart will always be in Education and, in addition to my work as a choir leader, I’m a leadership development coach, working one-to-one with leaders in challenging schools across the country.

My Approach

My choirs are accessible to all. My two community choirs are un-auditioned and, whilst we do use sheet music, there is no requirement to read music. Learning tracks are supplied for all the pieces we learn, so you can listen to your part and learn by ear. The emphasis is on fun, community and the occasional challenge!

Tuneless Choirs are for those who LOVE singing but lack the ability, practice or confidence to do so.   Research tells us that singing in groups brings physical, emotional and social benefits and so we believe everyone has a right to sing whatever their voice!  We sing purely for the pleasure of it – with no pressure to improve – and just aim for everyone to leave their Tuneless Choir session feeling uplifted!

 

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