Verity Bramson

What is your favourite memory of Malvern College?

My favourite memories of Malvern College perhaps unsurprisingly involve music. I enjoyed participating in regular informal concerts and have happy memories of Chamber Choir with former Director of Music, Iain Sloan. I perform much of the same music with my own choirs now and particularly remember that singing a setting of Psalm 121 ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills’ which still makes me think of Malvern whenever I hear it.

I also have wonderful memories of boarding house life in Number 8. Although a day pupil, much to the dismay of my parents, I spent 13 hours a day at school. For better or for worse, most of this seemed to have been spent eating copious amounts of toast and chatting in the dining room for hours on end. I am still in regular contact with many of the girls from Number 8 and cherish my time at Malvern for these important friendships.

What attracted you to your particular career and what do you enjoy most about it?

I knew fairly early on I wanted to pursue a career in singing, having started singing lessons whilst at Hillstone (Malvern College Prep School). A choral scholarship at Cambridge was a logical step after Malvern, and then, after a brief stint working in the Vocal & Opera department of a leading music agency, I decided to complete my postgraduate Vocal Studies. A portfolio career as a performer and singing teacher followed, but I soon realised that voice science and teaching were what really excited me. I was appointed Head of Singing at Christ’s Hospital School in September 2020. The aspect of my role that I enjoy the most is working with young people one-to-one. It is incredibly gratifying to see a student progress, not just in their singing, but in their confidence and self-esteem.

What part did Malvern College play in giving you the necessary skills for your chosen path?

I was very fortunate to have been awarded Music and Academic scholarships and a Drama exhibition whilst at Malvern, which allowed me to take singing, clarinet, piano and LAMDA lessons for free. I was also involved in as much ensemble music making as possible (choirs, concert band, orchestra, productions, concerts) and felt well-supported by the Music Department who helped me to find opportunities outside of school, such as with Ex Cathedra’s Academy of Vocal Music in Birmingham and on the Eton Choral Courses.

What are your ambitions?

My ambitions have changed over the last couple of years, from an international career in opera to a successful singing teaching career. I greatly enjoy my role as Head of Singing at Christ’s Hospital for its balance of the academic, co-curricular and pastoral. In the future I’d like to run a boarding house.

I am also currently completing a part time MA in Voice Pedagogy and look forward to further research into voice science and teaching.

What advice would you give to current pupils contemplating working in your field?

I would advise any budding musicians to research all study options fully before making a decision. Although university is the right path for some, there is much to commend from a conservatoire education, whether you wish to be a performer or otherwise.

I would also advise thinking about the definition of success. So often, musicians can feel that if they have not ‘made it’ as a performer then they are a failure, when in reality only a very, very small percentage receive international acclaim. There are many career paths within music, either aside from performing or as a complement to it, that are creative, fulfilling and provide both stability and progression. Think about what makes you happy.

What advice would you give to current pupils about making the most of their time at the school?

My advice would be to get involved with school life as much as possible. Join the choir, orchestra or band; play sport; socialise with friends; chat to your house tutors and be inspired by your teachers; make the most of every learning opportunity. The facilities and opportunities at Malvern are excellent and can’t be found in many places beyond school. Work hard, play hard, and make the most of it all.