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

JOY OF SINGING choir camp at Mercy Center, Burlingame

You are invited!

Sunday, August 27 through Friday, September 1, 2017, Lauren Carley will lead our yearly choral singing retreat in the San Francisco bay area.

If you would like to jump start your singing with “get ready for anything” vocal training: performance, contemplation, protest, fund-raising, healing or just good old fashioned fun and relaxation among like-minded, friendly people, consider joining us.

All levels of musical experience are welcome, from none to plenty.

Everyone begins the day with full-body warm-up exercises to prepare body and voice for concentrated, longer rehearsals. All sing rounds to exercise the voice and build confidence for more challenging choral music that’s accessible to all levels. More experienced singers will be coached in duets, trios and quartets. Whether you’d just like to relax into the whole of the choral sound and not think about your individual voice at all, or sing a solo, it’s up to you.

Our repertoire may include swingin’ gospel, Shape Note, rounds and arranged music of Peter Hunt, Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, Velma Frye and Ali Burns. We will sing daily in our own private hall and in Mercy’s chapel.

Mercy Center features small private rooms with sinks, a desk, a closet, and an easy chair; a bookstore, a small library, and free wireless internet; three simple, tasty meals a day; access to bodywork by appointment, a contemplative environment, group meditation if desired, and grounds of ancient oaks set in a quiet reserve inside a residential Burlingame neighborhood, just over two miles from Milbrae BART.

5 days and 5 nights of singing with Lauren’s teaching.
Accommodations in private rooms, 15 meals.

Sunday, August 27 to Friday, September 1, 2017


Please send a deposit of $400 to reserve your room by February 15, 2017

Contact Lauren Carley by 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.