What is Vocal Leadership?

Vocal Leadership is the innovative method for choir leading that has been developed by Jim Daus Hjernoe in Denmark over the last ten years. Since September 2015, a wide selection of courses is being offered at Codarts Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Rotterdam. ‘Vocal Leadership’ is a replacement for ‘Choir Direction’. The method inspires choir leaders to let singers be co-responsible in the musical process, within a safe environment and with a positive approach. Vocal Leadership is taught by several different choir leading teachers. This team combines score-based (notated) vocal music with ‘expanding the comfort zone’- using improvisation as a tool. The Vocal Leadership roots can be found in rhythmic, Scandinavian vocal music, but as the title implies, the method is style-free. Classes are taught in both English and Dutch.

For whom is Vocal Leadership?

Vocal Leadership has been created to help conductors, (music) teachers, singers, students and vocal coaches. The method provides inspiration for working with a capella groups, large (pop) choirs, vocal groups, chamber choirs and more. Vocal Leadership can be of use in any (vocal) style: classical music, pop and jazz music, improvisation and folk. The roots of the methods can be found in the rhythmic music scene.



“Very fun exercises, great teachers and a great atmosphere! I use what I learned at Vocal Leadership almost every day. Immediately usable in practice and a strong boost for your own musical development! Your brain gets completely confused during some exercises, but if you persevere and practice further and eventually succeed, you will burst with fun energy!”

Anja Kwakkestein


“At Vocal Leadership I have learned new ways to teach scores to my choirs that make it easier. The process has been started that my choirs are taking more responsibility in singing, and have a better understanding of what they are doing with rhythms and timbres. Inspiring and liberating! I now look at conducting differently.”

Annemarie van Os


“My golf teacher (sorry) taught me how to chip better. He said, “First two yards beyond the hole; now two meters in front of it. And finally: now in.’ Fascinating. It was like hearing Merel & Peder! Floor Roof exercises are so valuable! Thanks for that insight!”

Leo Aussems


“I have enjoyed conducting for almost thirty years. I never had the feeling that I was lacking in anything, but now that I have done two weekends of Vocal Leadership, everything seems to have been turned upside down. My entire attitude in front of a group is different because of the beautiful non-verbal communication that you learn with Merel when singing, for example. Something different is asked of the choir members, which makes them much more active. And you will receive an infinite amount of baggage that you can start working with straight away. It really is a gift for yourself and the choir members!”

Juliette Damen


“As a novice vocal leader, the full-time Vocal Leadership master’s program really gives me all the tools I need! We have incredibly inspiring teachers from our own country and as a gift we also receive guest lessons from the team from Denmark! All this together means that I can make enormous growth not only professionally, but also personally! I can immediately practice and use everything I learn and there is an eye for individual development! This was (and still is) one of the best courses I could have chosen!”

Marleen Spierings