Sarah Wright - Owens
BSc (hons) SLT, PG Cert, GBSM
Singing Teacher & BAPAM registered Vocal Rehabilitation Coach
Sarah is a Singing Teacher, registered Vocal Rehabilitation Coach for the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM), and an NHS Clinical Vocal Consultant currently working at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. Having initially trained as an Opera Singer, she toured the UK and abroad for several years before qualifying as a Speech and Language Therapist. She now combines her knowledge of the speaking voice into her coaching.
Sarah is currently a visiting specialist lecturer at the University of Birmingham and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. She has accumulated a wealth of experience coaching students of all ages and abilities in schools, FE and HE institutions, and in private practice. In addition to this, she has regularly worked with theatre companies such as The Royal Shakespeare Company, and a number of national musical tours including ‘Grease’ and ‘We Will Rock You’. She has also had the pleasure coaching professional Bhangra singers and CCM artists when preparing for studio and live performances.
Sarah is passionate about how singing benefits mental and physical wellbeing, and runs a ‘Singing for Lung Health and Wellbeing’ group in Birmingham, which is supported by the British Lung Foundation. She is also an elected Director of the British Voice Association, and is currently researching singers who suffer muscle tension dysphonia and vocal fatigue.
Sarah offers private singing lessons which are planned around the singers strengths and needs. Lessons are currently offered over Zoom and 'live' in a large ventilated space in the centre of Birmingham due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Lessons can be genre specific - concentrating on one particular musical style of singing, or have a more flexible, 'cross-train' approach to enable singers to learn vocal techniques of different styles. Singing healthily is emphaised throughout training, and students learn to warm-up the voice, increase balance throughout the vocal system, gain a greater understanding of vocal physiology, and improve performance skills and artistry.
Sarah is experienced in teaching all levels from beginner to advanced, amateur or professional singers and teachers. She regularly enters students for singing exams, prepares students for auditions, and is keen to help her pupils perform to the best of their ability sharing techniques to increase confidence and dispel any performance anxiety.
Sarah is part of the ENT multi-disciplinary team in the Professional Voice Users Clinic at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and also rehabilitates the performers voice in private practice. Recently Sarah has been providing online vocal rehabilitation clinics for BAPAM
The overall aim of vocal rehabilitation is to restore a performers speaking and singing voice back to normal function. This usually takes between 2-4 sessions and if necessary, Sarah may refer the performer to another health professional and/or liaise with the performers voice/singing tutors if applicable to ensure a long term resolution of the vocal problem.
Sing for Health
Sarah has been running a Singing for Lung Health and Wellbeing group at All Saints Church in Kings Heath, Birmingham for several years now in association with the British Lung Foundation.
Singing is recommended by the NHS as a therapeutic tool to improve physical and mental health. The groups last for 1.5 hours and run alternate weeks; singing experience isn’t required so you don’t need to audition! A great variety of songs from the jazz, classical, folk, musical and pop genres are sung together along with exercises to improve breath control, vocal resonance, range and to sing in harmony.“
'Sarah has helped me combat tension and confidence issues when singing. I have used her holistic breathing techniques to help anxious students in my professional practice. At the age of 59 I took my first ever singing exam and was awarded a merit at Grade 8! Sarah used imaginative multi-sensory strategies to help me memorise the words and music and to interpret the repertoire.'
- Dr. Sue Partridge, Teacher/Dyslexia specialist
'What can I say about Sarah that would do her justice? I guess if I’m being honest, if our paths hadn't crossed in 2005 I probably would have had to give up singing. I owe her so much...she helped strengthen and mould the voice the world hears today. Anyone can teach you the do's and don’ts of singing but Sarah has this amazing ability to connect it with your feelings and brain. On top of that she was able to brilliantly associate & manipulate all her western techniques to help with my style of singing which many teachers would have found beyond them. She talks you through the psychological aspect of singing as well which plays such a huge role in connecting the mind, body and vocal cords. I cannot recommend her highly enough. She is as much a part of Jassi Sidhu as I am!'
- Jassi Sidhu
'My problem was vocal muscle tension. It manifested itself in the form of a split or brake when I sang, what I would call singing between the cracks! This caused me great distress as I never knew when it was going to happen. On meeting Sarah for the first time I was immediately put at ease by her calm and professional approach; she worked through some vocal exercises with me and was able to allay my fears so that I left her in the knowledge that I had not damaged my vocal folds. I then continued visiting Sarah for singing lessons. There is no doubt in my mind that without Sarah’s help and advice I would not have been able to continue performing. I can highly recommend Sarah both in her capacity as a Vocal Rehabilitation Coach and as a Singing Teacher.'
- Jayne Butler, Soprano
'We have had joint singing lessons as a couple for 12 years. Sarah’s methods are uniquely problem-solving and responsive to our needs. No lesson is ever the same! We do warm ups together, then each sing to our strengths and capabilities. Sarah has helped us preserve and increase the resonance in our voices, bearing in mind we are now in our 60s, when we might expect to be losing quality. We have maintained our places for over 12 years in a top audition choir, thanks to Sarah’s coaching.'
Bhangra is a very high energy form of Punjabi folk/pop/dance music and the vocal is usually placed in the higher end of one’s range and singing at live shows can go on for 2/3 hours at a time with 2/3 shows a week and all with bad monitoring and a loud and very percussive 6 piece behind you. After 30 years of gigging like this, vocal stress and abuse had become a part of my performing life, but for the last decade, Sarah has helped me to get through the rigorous shows that I have to do. The techniques and vocal exercises that she has given me over the years have helped tremendously to not only get me through my shows, but also to understand singing and how the voice works and how to look after it. Her knowledge in the physical mechanical and therapy side of singing is extensive and her friendly, wise and reassuring advise has always acted like a ‘pick me up tonic’ and even if I do not have any vocal issues, I make a point of seeing her once in a while to get a ‘Vocal MOT’ as I call it. I would not be lying if I said that Sarah has definitely added years onto my singing career.
- ShinDCS, Front man and lead singer of UK based Bhangra Band DCS