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

Would you like to treat yourself to a spirit-reviving week of harmony singing and listening- no cares, no dishes, no office, no driving, and no distractions?

Join Lauren Carley and a wonderful group of singers for a JOY OF SINGING retreat in the Sonoma wine country at Bishop’s Ranch September 7 – 11, 2015. The cost for 4 night’s lodging, 12 prize-winning meals and 5 days of instruction is $925. ($175 surcharge - single occupancy).

The music is accessible to all, no audition, vocal or note –reading expertise necessary, just the desire to come together in a beautiful place to sing. We will prepare choral music as well as duets, trios and quartets. Our repertoire may include world traditional, classical, southern gospel, chant, contemporary folk and improvisational music.

We begin singing together in Bishop’s Ranch’s mission-style chapel at 1pm, September 7 and finish with an informal performance at 4pm on Friday, September 11. In between we’ll sing in the Ranch House’s lovely common rooms.

There will be plenty of time each day for learning, rehearsing and performing music, exploring your voice and being in your body. There will be chill time for swimming, movement, connection, walking in the countryside, reading, conversing, spending time alone and community singing and sharing every evening. We have daily access to the new swimming pool, hiking trails and Adirondack chairs under the sun or olive tree shade by day, and stars by night. Healdsburg is 5 miles from us and we are surrounded by the wine country’s vineyards, vistas and wine tasting.

I urge you to call me with questions: 510 652-1298 or write me at: I can also put you in touch with past singing retreat participants, with whom you may talk about songs, teaching and general feel of our retreats.

A $200 deposit is due by April 1, 2015. The remainder ($725-double occupancy) is due June 1. If, for any reason you need to withdraw, you may do so up until June 15, 2015 and receive a refund minus a $100 administration fee.

“Bishop's Ranch is about two hours north of San Francisco. The Ranch is high on a ridge overlooking the Russian River Valley at Healdsburg. Participants occupy rooms in buildings on the grounds. The Ranch's 240 acres of pastures, woodlands, and nearby country roads offer opportunities for walking and solitude. There is a large swimming pool.”

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.