Lauren Carley

Come in. You are all welcome no matter what your experience or ability. You will make music here by singing from the moment you arrive, learning by doing, employing your whole body as a unique expressive instrument.

Vocal play, circle singing, echo, listening, call and response, imitation, music games and self-conducting are my vehicles for sharing music fundamentals, vocal pedagogy, and choral singing skills. At every class, workshop and choir rehearsal you will learn rounds, part-songs and choral arrangements from around the world.

Lauren Carley, (Master in Musical Arts from New York University) is a music educator and choral instructor for UC Berkeley’s Life Long Learning Department. She leads community choruses, world-wide singing retreats and choral workshops at colleges, conservatories, and music festivals and Academies. Her teaching is informed by Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, Interplay, mime, acting and Orff training. She is a classical singer and recording artist in oratorio, opera, recital, cabaret, music theatre and film.

Close to her heart is her work with Parkinson’s Disease-Active with which she teaches singing as a healing pathway for those with neurological diseases. Past appointments include Vocal/Choral Director for the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, Oakland Youth Chorus choral conductor, Guest Professor in Drama at Colorado College, Adjunct Professor of Voice at New York University and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy Vocal Faculty.



I enjoyed your Joy of Singing class so much. I usually never sing and was told that I could not carry a tune so I never sang my whole life. I ended your class singing full out. It was so much fun.
--Dorothy Kay

thank you for this extraordinary course. you get us to learn to sing by singing, and learn to make music by what we are already doing. you are a remarkable teacher.
--Jean Lave, Anthropologist, UC-Berkeley

I enjoyed the the joy of learning with a skilled musician and consummate teacher. My vocal range is getting larger and my posture has improved. my lung capacity has increased (to the amazement of my physicians).
--Rani Cochran

You teach us dynamics, breath control and help us increase our range. That’s exactly what I needed. You are the best, bar none.
--John White, Senior Center Assistant, Vietnam Veteran

Lauren's enthusiasm made everything she did fun and interesting for all. Most of the music she selected was something I'd never heard or sung before. However, it was meaningful and joyful. The course was much more interesting than I could have imagined. Thanks!

Upcoming Retreat

Dear singers, I would like to invite you to the 2016 Joy of Singing Retreat scheduled for September 7-15, 2016 in Bath and Oxford, England.

Our retreat begins in the World Heritage Site of Bath, known for its Roman-built baths, in the southwest of England. We will arrive in Bath on the afternoon of Wednesday September 7 and stay for five nights at Bath University.

Thursday and Friday we will sing our pre-prepared music with a wonderful 40-voice chorus and their songleader, Jane Harris. Jane and I will lead the singing days at St. Swithin’s, a resonant, beautiful church in walking distance from town center, after which we will share lunch together in the crypt.

Our residence provides breakfast. For other meals, we will share cooking in our kitchen facilities as well as eat at a variety of restaurants near the University or in the town center.

On Monday September 12, we will take the train to Oxford and take up residence at St. Stephen’s House, a theological foundation and permanent private hall at the University of Oxford. Our residence includes single and double ensuite accommodations with board from September 12 (dinner) through Friday September 15 (breakfast).

The University of Oxford dates from the twelfth century. Its record of academic excellence stretches back to its earliest days, when it was the only university which could claim to rank alongside that of Paris. Today, the university is composed of thirty-eight colleges with five permanent private halls (of which St Stephen’s House is one).

Joy of Singing participants will join choral conductor Gitika Partington and her 80+-voice choir to sing together at St. Barnabas, an amazing iconic church in Jericho Oxford centre. We will sing in the House Chapel at St. Stephen’s House.

There are many historic tours and museums to see in Oxford. However, as far as I am concerned, one of the wonders of the world is the great Bodleian Library, which houses one of every book that has ever been published in the UK and Ireland. As part of our residency at St. Stephen’s, we have rare special access to visit this library.

What Joy of Singing Retreat in Bath and Oxford, UK with Lauren Carley When September 7 – 15, 2016 Cost $1,900 (Checks only please)

I want to keep the cost down so that you can take this trip. Comparable trips cost around $3,900.00. This trip costs $1,900 and includes accommodation, transport between Bath and Oxford, 14 meals, singing with English choruses and tuition. Your airfare, rental vehicles, other internal travel and other costs will be your own.


Dates: September 7 – 15, 2016
Please plan to arrive at Bath University Quads on September 7.
Please plan your departure from St. Stephen’s in Oxford for September 15.

Accommodations (included in cost)
5 nights lodging (single rooms) at Bath University in Bath, England (breakfasts provided).
3 nights lodging at St. Stephen’s Retreat House, Oxford, England ( 9 meals provided).
Rooms are double. Limited single rooms available with surcharge of $125.

Cost and Deposit
Cost $1,900 (Checks only please) Register your interest by sending your deposit of $800 on your double occupancy rooms. Deposit must arrive at 3945 Harrison St., #32, Oakland, CA, 94611 by March 15, 2016. Deposit is refundable minus $150 administrative fee up until April 1, 2016.
Remainder of $1,100 is due at the above address by May 1, 2016. Checks only please.

Services Provided
Preparation with Lauren Carley. Choral singing opportunities with English community choirs in ancient spaces. Choral chants and song arrangements by UK and American composers, with special emphasis on spatial acoustics. Casual performances will be in English churches and abbeys. Expect an open, relaxed schedule.

Independent Activities (not included in cost)
You are responsible for:

  • Your own travel arrangements, including getting to and from England.
  • Airfare, rental vehicles and other incidental costs.
  • Personal tours of Bath and Oxford’s history, music, and art.

The workshop is dependent on a minimum of 12 participants. If the workshop doesn’t fill, your deposit will be refunded in its entirety.
Payment is based on February, 2016 exchange rates. If the exchange rate changes significantly the rate will be adjusted accordingly.

To cancel your booking for the Joy of Singing retreat in England from September 7– 15, 2016, notify me in writing (by email or letter) prior to July 31, 2016. Cancellation is effective on the date I receive your written notice. Workshop fees can be refunded as follows:
- Deposit is refundable minus $150 administrative fee up until April 1, 2016
- 60% of total ($1140) can be refunded from May 1 – May 31, 2016. - 40% of total ($760) can be refunded from June 1 – June 30, 2016.
- 20% of total ($380) can be refunded from July 1 – July 31, 2016.
- In case of cancellation on or after August 1, 2016, or if you must interrupt your workshop time, there is no repayment.

You will be provided with directions, travel suggestions, and copies of the music to bring to England. You will arrange your own travel. Please let me know if I may share your email with other participants. I suggest you share information with each other about travel.

Release from Liability
Lauren Carley shall not be held responsible for personal injury, illness or theft of anyone attending this workshop. Each participant will provide and pay for any medical treatment that may occur during their stay.

Contact Lauren Carley with any questions: 510 652 1298 or e-mail:

Community Choruses


  • Do you like to sing?
  • New in town?
  • Want a steady place to hang your hat?
  • Interested in improving your musical skills in a supportive way?
Playful, committed chorus Variety Pack members come from diverse disciplines and backgrounds, and bring a love of and desire to learn more about music and the art of singing in ensemble.

Artistic Director Lauren Carley, provides vocal, sightsinging, stylistic and performance instruction. The ensemble sings traditional, folk, gospel, classical, world, pop, theatre and original , a cappella and accompanied music.

  • Rehearsal are on Thursday nights, 7 – 8:30pm in Oakland.
  • 2 yearly performances.
  • For more information, call Artistic Director, Lauren Carley 510 652-1298

Ms. Carley is Artistic Director of Variety Pack and Rhythm Society community choruses in Oakland, faculty at UC Berkeley’s Lifelong Learning Institute, retreat leader for women’s song circles around the US, past Vocal/Choral Studies Director at the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music and conductor for the Oakland Youth Chorus, Visiting Drama Faculty at Colorado College, Adjunct Professor of Voice at New York University and NYC’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Throughout her life on the stage, Carley has collaborated with composers for stage, concert and screen and theatre directors to create new work. She has worked with Eleanor Johnson, Edmund Campion, John Cage, Marc Ream, George Coates, Walter Hilse and Merce Cunningham. She performs locally with jazz and classical artists.

Carley teaches privately, focusing on helping you: explore the anatomy of your vocal body, singer’s breathing, projection, agility and range, discover the secrets of projecting a relaxed positive while singing or speaking, learn the harmony to the hymns you love to sing, cant liturgical chant with confidence, sing your part well in chorus, learn your musical theatre or operatic role quickly, belt better karaoke, sing jazz standards with verve, learn that new song, gain confidence in your song styling and stage presence, practice your audition, strengthen your public speaking and have fun.


Lauren Carley, mezzo-soprano, sings and records with early to experimental music, dance and theatre ensembles. Specializing in new work, she has premiered works by Philip Glass, Edmund Campion, Hugo Weisgall, Miriam Gideon, Walter Hilse, Judith Lang Zaimont and John Cage. Ms. Carley’s CD, “Hooked on Weill” features original arrangements of the music of Kurt Weill, which she performed in original solo shows throughout the US.

Concert Formats

Lauren has five unique concerts she presents, each with its own song list and style. They can be tailored to perfect fit your audience, space and the length of performance you desire.

I. Art Songs & Spirituals Celebrating Black History Month

The Heart of a Woman—Art and popular songs, and concert spirituals by African-American composers and poets. Interpreted by mezzo-soprano Lauren Carley with Skye Atman, piano, and Kelly Takunda-Orphan, drum, this one-hour concert is appropriate for the stage, or for special events or celebrations. The repertoire includes songs by Leslie Adams, Georgia Johnson and Edna S.V. Millay, Charles Lloyd, Jr. and Paul Dunbar, Erik Jekabson and Alice Walker, Mark Fax, Florence B. Price, Duke Ellington and John Carter.

II. Medieval Holiday Music

Lauren Carley, mezzo-soprano, sings a medieval and folk holiday concert accompanied by Tim Rayborn on medieval oud, percussion, Celtic harp, and dulcimer. This one-hour concert brings to life the medieval music of England, Ireland and Spain in song and word, from unaccompanied Latin chant to arranged Christmas carols, Sephardic melodies, Gaellic tunes and Appalachian lined-out hymns.

“The spaciousness and simplicity of the solo voice with ancient instrument is captivating.” —John Miller, audience member

III. Jazz &: Popular Standards

Lauren Carley interprets jazz and popular standards from the 1920s to the 70s with jazz pianists Angie Spinelli and Chris Salerno. Sit back and enjoy the music made famous by Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, Sarah Vaughan, Lara Fabian, Della Reese and Diana Krall. You might even by tempted to sing along!

IV. Cabaret & Light Opera

Lauren Carley, mezzo-soprano, uses her wonderful singing and acting ability to bring to life a variety of cabaret and light opera characters. Accompanied by Bay Area pianist, Skye Atman, lovers of the music of Kurt Weill will enjoy I’m a Stranger Here Myself, Pirate Jenny, September Song and Youkali. Lauren embodies the audience favorite Prince Orlovsky from Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, and Bess, Sportin’ Life and Serena from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

Lauren Carley interprets the art songs of award-winning, contemporary classical composers, including Ofer Ben-Amots, Paul Suits and Bay Area musician, Eric Jekabson.

Contact Lauren Today

Call (510) 652-1298 to contact Lauren about her coaching, teaching, or performance services.