Singing Teachers

Choral Scholars and Volunteers and Organ Scholars all receive six free singing lessons per term from one of our experienced and highly-respected singing teachers.

All of our singing teachers are accomplished singers in their own right with a wealth of professional experience as soloists and ensemble singers.

Ann De Renais

Ann De Renais is a Belgian soprano, singing teacher, piano teacher and song writer. She holds a BMus(Hons) from the Royal Conservatoire Brussels, a BA(Hons) Singing from Luca-Arts in Leuven, and the Certificates of Post-Graduate Studies and Teaching Technique from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

1996 marked her first visit to the voice teacher David L. Jones in New York City, and the start of her studying Mr Jones’s Swedish-Italian School of Singing. She became his associate singing teacher in the UK in 2002 and continues her teacher training with him on a regular basis.

Ann’s singing career started as first soprano with the five-time Grammy award-winning vocal group The Swingle Singers with whom she performed at venues including La Scala, the Lincoln Center, and the Berliner Philharmoniker. As a soloist, she has sung many opera roles, oratorio, and song recitals, and music by contemporary composers including Luciano Berio, the late Sir John Tavener and Peter Eötvös. Her versatile voice has seen her contribute as a session singer to over 200 film scores, including Harry Potter, James Bond, The Lord of The Rings, and The Hobbit. She was the UK and worldwide soloist of The Lord of The Rings – Live to Screen performances with orchestra from 2007 to 2012.

Her songwriting with co-writer Ben Parry began in 2015 and her songs can be heard on radio and television, The Syndicate, National Geographic Channel, the Antiques Roadshow and others. She teaches singing and piano privately in London and at St Christopher’s School for Girls in Hampstead.



Roderick Earle

Roderick Earle was born in Winchester, where he was a chorister in the cathedral choir. In 1974 he graduated from St John’s College, Cambridge where he read Music and was a Choral Scholar under George Guest. He was then awarded a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music and studied on the Opera Course, later continuing his studies with Czech baritone, Otakar Kraus.

He went on to being awarded a Greater London Arts Association Musician of the Year Award, and, after making his opera debut with English National Opera in 1978 and then joining the company for two years, he joined the Royal Opera at the age of 28, making his Covent Garden debut as Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro in 1980 with Sir Colin Davis. He was a member of the company for 21 years, during which time he made the transition from bass to baritone, and sang over 60 roles.

He has a wide experience of concert work which has included singing the bass solos in Monteverdi Vespers with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the start of his career through the Classical and Romantic repertoire. He has been fortunate to sing with some of the greatest conductors of the age not only at Covent Garden but also on the South Bank and abroad.

Roderick has taught singing for more than 25 years. As well as being a singing professor at the Royal College of Music (since 1990) he runs workshops, which include coaching in language (French, German, Italian and different pronunciations of Latin), style, communication and stage craft. He has been a tutor on a regular basis for the last 12 years at the East Anglia Summer Music School in Norwich and taught in New Zealand and Singapore. In 2010 he founded The Colchester Chamber Choir of 30 auditioned voices which specialises in pre-baroque and 19th and 20th century a cappella choral repertoire. He now also directs a chamber choir for the McKinsey European Music Festival in Kitzbühel, Austria each summer.

Sheila Barnes

Sheila Barnes trained at the Yale School of Music, where she took both a Masters and a Master of Musical Arts degree.  Since coming to live in the UK in 1991, she has maintained a thriving London private teaching practice, in which she is sought after by professional singers currently coming from the UK, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia, Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as teaching Choral Scholars at Trinity College. 

Her private singing pupils perform regularly as soloists at English National Opera, The Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Glyndebourne, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera Holland Park, Opera North, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera, The Royal Netherlands Opera, and ReisOpera (the Netherlands), as well as with consorts such as Exaudi, The Sixteen, The Tallis Scholars, The Cardinall’s Musicke, and the Temple Church in London, at St Paul’s Cathedral, and at Westminster Abbey.

Sheila acted as Vocal Consultant to the Oper Kiel (Germany) for four seasons, teaching private lessons for the soloists, members of the permanent company.  She maintained a studio for eight years in Holland, in The Hague, where she developed her individual approach to teaching singing.

James Oldfield

The bass-baritone James Oldfield was born in Ipswich and was a chorister at Leicester Cathedral. He subsequently held a Choral Scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Geography, and then a Lay Clerkship at St John’s College, Cambridge. James then held scholarships at the Royal College of Music and the RCM International Opera School, and studied with Ashley Stafford and Graeme Broadbent. His awards included the Eric Shilling Prize, the inaugural Independent Opera Award, and a Sybil Tutton Award from the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.

He has a wide experience of oratorio and operatic work. James’ solo concert appearances include performances with London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Hallé, Manchester Camerata, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, De Belgische Kamerfilharmonie, and Northern Sinfonia. His recordings include Handel Messiah with the Huddersfield Choral Society and Monteverdi Vespers. James’ operatic performances have been for Opera North, Garsington, Gothenburg Opera, Israeli Opera, and Royal Opera House 2. In 2010, he received the Leonard Ingrams Award from Garsington Opera after his professional debut as the title character in Le Nozze di Figaro.

James conducts an annual partsong and madrigal course at Benslow Music. He is passionate about young people singing, and teaches regularly for the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Rodolfus Choral Courses, the National Youth Choir of Wales, and Gabrieli Roar. He teaches singing privately, and at Tiffin School near his home in Surrey.