International Summer School

View of Liverpool waterfront.

Towards harmony in the post-Reformation church

Liverpool, Monday 8 – Sunday 14 August 2016



The 2013 ISS at York

The 2013 ISS at York

Artistic Director Andrew Reid - Director of the RSCM

Artistic Director Andrew Reid – Director of the RSCM

One of the best ways to learn is by trying things out in practice. The 2016 RSCM International Summer School takes its cue from the Reformation, and will explore a wide range of worship with music devolving from Reformation practice and thinking.

Liverpool, with Roman Catholic and Anglican Cathedrals, Free Churches, and other venues is particularly apposite as a location.  As Hope Street runs between the two iconic cathedral buildings, so, we pray, does the goodwill and wish for unity, not uniformity, run through the “study, practice and improvement of music for Christian worship” to which the RSCM is called by its foundation documents.

See a video report of the Summer School at York in 2013

Adrian Lucas

Adrian Lucas

Graham Kendrick

Graham Kendrick

The Summer School will be interactive and busy: in the mornings, you can elect to follow one of two streams of study. The rest of the day is freely available for choice, and there will be a raft of skills-based training available alongside lectures, seminars and concerts.

Highlights will include a broadcast on Radio Three; the Millennium Youth Choir joins the Summer School for this as choir-in-residence in the early part of the week.


Presenters include:

  • MYC director and choral expert Adrian Lucas
  • Graham Kendrick, often called the “father of the worship-song movement”
  • Martin Ashley, specialist vocal-coach on boys’ changing voices (see his website)
  • Trio “In Voice and Verse” (see their website) presenting a full-length concert/reading in their trademark format.
  • RSCM staff tutors will offer relevant and sympathetic help at all levels of proficiency.
A typical room at the University

A typical room at the University

The Summer School is an ideal way to refresh the thinking, courage and persistence needed by church musicians working in isolation.

You can book a range of options from day-student to full board, with en-suite rooms for privacy and comfort only a short walk from the training venues.





ISS Venues

Linked by Hope Street, Liverpool’s two cathedrals are masterpieces of twentieth century architecture. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s monumental Anglican Cathedral is the UK’s largest, and is easily visible on the skyline from much of the city. With an equally striking silhouette, the Metropolitan Cathedral to the north was completed in 1967. Both of these places of worship will provide us with a diverse choice of spaces for learning, music-making and services throughout the week.

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Residential accommodation will be in en-suite bedrooms at the modern (2012) halls of Liverpool University, within walking distance of the two cathedrals, and we will also be visiting other churches and venues close by for some sessions.

VineCourtBed vine court university liverpool

The city of Liverpool

The city of Liverpool grew to international significance as a centre of shipping, trade and manufacturing. More recently it has seen an economic and cultural revival (not least as the home of The Beatles, of course!), and has a vibrant arts and music scene, stimulated in part by its position as European Capital of Culture in 2008. On the Mersey River waterfront, contemporary architecture stands alongside redeveloped docks and the grand Royal Liver Building to create a striking landscape, part of Liverpool’s World Heritage Site.

Much of the city centre is within walking distance or a short bus ride from our summer school venues, with plenty of shops, restaurants and museums to enjoy during your free time!

MarketingLiverpool6Getting to Liverpool

Detailed information will be supplied to delegates prior to the course.

By car:
Liverpool is easily accessible by road, about 30 minutes west of the M6, about an hour from Manchester, and under 4 hours’ drive from London.

By bus:
Liverpool is approximately 6 hours by coach from Central London, and accessible by bus from other cities and airports.

By train:
The city has good rail links from London, Manchester and other major cities. Travellers from Europe can take the Eurostar train to London St Pancras Station, connecting to London Euston Station for services to Liverpool.

By ferry:
Ferries run to Liverpool from Belfast, Dublin and the Isle of Man.

By air:
Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Manchester Airport are both close by.



  • YorkEvensongA creative cycle of worship drawing upon reformed and modern catholic forms, at the Roman Catholic and Anglican cathedrals.
    The Millennium Youth Choir will be choir-in-residence, with
    participation by all attendees of the ISS, and a possible radio broadcast.
  • Workshops and discussion open to all.
  • Elective programmes of study covering choices of conducting, organ playing, cantor skills, vocal training, choral training, using instruments in worship, working with children, teaching methods, history of church music, and composition.
  • Exploration of new repertoire and varied liturgy.
  • A chance to meet senior staff of the RSCM and discuss a vision for the future of church music with delegates from around the world.
  • Concerts, gala dinner, fellowship, socialising, free time.
  • Publishers’ exhibition.
  • Music shop on site, with deliveries to your home.



Presenters of training, seminars and worship include:

  • Martin Ashley (voice coach, specialist in boys’ changing voices)
  • Dr Hugh Benham (author on English church music)
  • The Revd Helen Bent (ministerial)
  • Teresa Brown (Roman Catholic practitioner)
  • Rosemary Field (organ)
  • Graham Kendrick (songwriter and worship leader)
  • Adrian Lucas (choral)
  • Dr Chris McElroy (Roman Catholic recent historian)
  • Miles Quick (congregational and instrumental)
  • Eoghan Desmond (Composer)

Also presenting a themed concert of words and music are In voice and verse (Andrew Graystone – actor, Belinda Yates – soprano, Heather Chamberlain – pianist)


As well as individual coaching, specialists will present sessions on:

  • plainsong
  • development of English choral repertoire
  • Lutheran/Presbyterian/Calvinist worship
  • Sibelius music typesetting
  • working with children
  • modern congregational RC repertoire
  • contemporary worship developments
  • musician/minister collaboration
  • composers’ forum
  • What makes a good hymn-book?
  • Iona and Taizé for parish use
  • The shop-window church – how does music/text display God to the seeker?
  • Half a century since Vatican 2 – heritage and innovation in RC-ism
  • Scottish Presbyterian worship
  • How to teach – interactive
  • By Priest and People sungen” – the shared ministry of clergy and musicians
  • Decisions, decisions! Composers’ forum
  • Lutheran worship
  • Christian song-writing in England – an overview of the last 40 years
  • Instrumentation – practical, basic
  • How to teach Sight-reading
  • Organ Improvisation – practical


Open Sessions

Some sessions at the Summer School will be open to the public – details will be made available here nearer the time.

Please note: The RSCM reserves the right to change or cancel elements of this programme, and the full timetable will be sent to delegates in due course.

Elective sessions

Elective sessions

Choose one programme of study from the four choices in each group.

Group 1

The development of English choral music

An historical study with practical musical examples. Explore the heritage behind today’s choral worship!

Developing your voice

Practical group singing lessons, with advice on helping others too.

The art of organ accompaniment

Practical sessions to include:

  • hymns
  • Anglican psalms
  • chant
  • congregational singing
  • choral music
Liturgy and music for parish mission and ministry

Explore the ways liturgy and music enable and integrate with parish mission and ministry.

Group 2

Working with children

Practical sessions and seminars.

  • Directing a children’s choir
  • work on children’s worship
  • getting children involved
  • psychology
  • recruitment and retention
Training a choir

Work with various choirs in these practical sessions.

Singing the chant

Practical sessions. Explore notation, repertoire, purpose, style and methods of performance; and sing the glories of the plainchant repertoire.

Contemporary congregational music

What is available? How does it work best? What can you bring in from different traditions? How does a church maintaining contemporary repertoire integrate older repertoire and maintain a coherent musical voice?

Accommodation and prices

Accommodation and Prices

A range of packages are available, with residential and non-residential options to suit your requirements. All residential accommodation is at Liverpool University (Vine Court) in en-suite bedrooms.

All prices exclude lunches and an optional gala dinner.

Those entitled to RSCM member rates are Individual and Student Members, and members of Affiliated organisations. For details of RSCM membership, please contact the Membership Administrator on +44 (0)1722 424841 or

Tuition, resources and concerts
Option 1: £495 (RSCM member)
Option 2: £618 (non-member)

Tuition, resources, concerts, five dinners
Option 3: £552 (RSCM member)
Option 4: £690 (non-member)

Tuition, resources, concerts, bed & breakfast
Option 5: £727 (RSCM member)
Option 6: £908 (non-member)

Tuition, resources, concerts, bed & breakfast, five dinners
(discounted price until Friday 15 January 2016)
Option 7: £688 (RSCM member)
Option 8: £860 (non-member)

Tuition, resources, concerts, bed & breakfast, five dinners
(price if booked after Friday 15 January 2016)
Option 9: £764 (RSCM member)
Option 10: £955 (non-member)

For details of other accommodation in Liverpool, you may like to try the link below:

Day Sessions

Day rates are available on the next tab.


A small number of bursaries are available for students in full-time education and overseas participants.

For more information, contact the Education Administrator on +44 (0)1722 424843 or

*NEW*Day rates

Day rates

Booking for individual days is now open. The price for each day includes tuition, resources and the evening concert, if there is one that day. There is an option to book and pay for dinner separately (£12.50 per evening), if you would like to do so. Lunch is not included.

Morning worship and choral rehearsals take place throughout the week. Elective training sessions take place Tuesday – Friday mornings; there are two sessions of these and students choose a topic for each session and follow it for all four days. If you wish to “dip into” these, please be aware that each is only part of a series.

If you would like to sing as part of the massed choir in Wednesday’s BBC broadcast of Choral Vespers, you must book and attend both Tuesday and Wednesday, in order to rehearse the music. There is no need to do so if you wish only to attend the service.

Please note that the RSCM reserves the right to change or cancel elements of this programme if necessary.

Monday 8th August – 14.00-22.00 (based at the Anglican Cathedral)

£40 (RSCM member) /£48 (non-member)

  • Keynote speech from Artistic Director, Andrew Reid, RSCM Director
  • Afternoon workshops
  • MYC sing Choral Evensong at the Anglican Cathedral
  • Contemplative evening worship at St Margaret of Antioch Church, Toxteth
  • What makes a good hymn-book?
  • Sibelius typesetting level  1 – practical
  • Introduction to Plainsong  – practical
  • Iona and Taizé for parish use


Tuesday 9th August – 08:45-21.10 (based at the Metropolitan Cathedral)

£50 (RSCM member) /£60 (non-member)

  • Two elective sessions – part 1 (click here for the options)
  • Afternoon workshops
  • Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral with plainsong
  • The shop-window church – how does music/text display God to the seeker?
  • Sibelius typesetting level 2 – practical
  • Half a century since Vatican 2 – heritage and innovation in RC-ism
  • Scottish Presbyterian worship
  • MYC concert at St Francis Xavier Church


Wednesday 10th August – 08:45-21:45 (based at the Metropolitan Cathedral)

£50 (RSCM member) /£60 (non-member)

  • Two elective sessions – part 2 (click here for the options)
  • BBC broadcast of Choral Vespers (to sing, you must also attend on Tuesday)
  • “The Bible in Voice and Verse” – concert with text and context by the In Voice and Verse Trio at St Bride’s Church


Thursday 11th August – 08:30-22:30 (based at the Anglican Cathedral)

£50 (RSCM member) /£60 (non-member)

  • Two elective sessions – part 3 (click here for the options)
  • Afternoon workshops
  • Lutheran Vespers at the Anglican Cathedral
  • Gala dinner (price £19.95)
  • Compline
  • How to teach – interactive
  • By Priest and People sungen” – the shared ministry of clergy and musicians
  • Decisions, decisions! Composers’ forum
  • Lutheran worship


Friday 12th August – 08:30-21:50 (based at the Anglican Cathedral)

£50 (RSCM member) /£60 (non-member)

  • Morning worship – praise band with Graham Kendrick
  • Two elective sessions – part 4 (click here for the options)
  • Afternoon workshops
  • Visit to David Wells Organ Builders (coach fare extra)
  • Devotional service of the Passion in mixed musical idiom at the Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Christian song-writing in England – an overview of the last 40 years
  • Instrumentation – practical, basic
  • How to teach Sight-reading
  • Organ Improvisation – practical


Saturday 13th August – 09:00-19:30 (based at St Bride’s Church)

£40 (RSCM member) /£48 (non-member)

  • Organ demonstration at the Anglican Cathedral
  • The reforming church – theology lecture
  • Debate
  • Vigil Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral (modern liturgy)


To apply for a place on the course, you can either book and pay the deposit online, or download the booking form below and send it with payment of the deposit by post to: RSCM ISS, 19 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EB, UK.

Please read the terms and conditions carefully, particularly with reference to deposits, refunds and visas.

The booking deadline for residential places was Friday 29 April 2016 (please contact us to enquire about further availability). Individual day bookings are now available.

Terms and Conditions apply to this course as follows:

  • All fees are stated and payable in pounds sterling.
  • Fees are subject to change only in the event of circumstances beyond the control of the RSCM, including changes in taxation and exceptional surcharges imposed by suppliers.
  • A deposit of 20% of the full fee is required on booking.
  • Deposits are non-refundable (except in the event of the course being cancelled by the RSCM), and cover administration costs.
  • The balance of the full fee is due 10 weeks before the start of the course. After this date, the RSCM reserves the right to re-allocate any places for which the fee has not been paid in full.
  • In the event of cancellation by the applicant:
    – more than 10 weeks before the start of the course, amounts paid in advance, except for the deposit, will be refunded.
    – less than 10 before the start of the course, a partial refund will be considered if the place can be re-allocated.
  • In the case of cancellation by the RSCM, fees paid will be refunded in full.
  • The RSCM cannot take responsibility for other costs incurred when the place is cancelled whether by the applicant or by the RSCM. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you take out your own travel insurance.
  • If you are travelling from outside the EU and will need a visa, please be aware that deposits are non-refundable, and you may wish to secure your visa before paying the deposit.
  • The RSCM reserves the right at any stage to refuse an application without stating the reason.
  • If a tutor or lecturer is absent, the RSCM will provide a suitable replacement.
  • The RSCM reserves the right to alter other features of the course, including venues and facilities.
  • You must notify the RSCM of any special access, mobility, medical or dietary requirements when you first book to attend if these will affect your ability to participate fully. The RSCM will endeavour to help where possible.
  • Under 18s may, at the RSCM’s discretion, attend adult courses if accompanied by a parentally-designated adult guardian. Terms will vary according to circumstances; these must be confirmed before booking.
  • All adults on residential courses with under 18s will need to comply with the RSCM’s Safeguarding policy and procedures.
  • Any dependent adult student must be assisted by a full-time carer paying their own costs. The RSCM is unable to accept responsibility for the supervision of dependent adults in the care of students attending courses.
  • Pets are not allowed. It may be possible to accommodate assistance dogs if advised in advance.