Today Alexa is joined by the President of the British Voice Association, who is also a jazz singer, composer, and educator teaching at Chester, Leeds, and York Universities, Louise Gibbs. Join in the chat from all things from gardening to jazz to improvisation and all you need to know about the British Voice Association. 


  • Louise has always had the instinct as a musician to create rather than reproduce. After she had her first piano lesson, Louise went home and created her own compositions, then when she played them for her teacher in the second lesson she was told never to do it again and to follow the sheet music. That’s when she knew that classical might not be for her. 
  • We need to remember that most music just existed in people’s imagination and in the oral tradition before it was ever written down. 
  • A jazz singer is someone who treats a piece of music as a form which they improvise, it’s a more compositional approach. Whereas a jazz stylist will take the features of that music and reproduce them, with that you often get the same result every time. 
  • Every time you alter something, you’re adding some form of improvisation. 
  • The British Voice Association (BVA) is the ‘voice for voice’ in the UK, an association of multi-disciplinary professionals who work to promote the field of voice in its broadest sense.
  • Their remit is the encouragement of a healthy voice, vocal skills and communication in such areas as the performing arts, business and industry, medicine and education.


‘I was always taken by the rhythm’ 

‘Jazz is the ability to make something new every time and be creative with that’

‘The idea of not knowing what you’re going all the time can put a lot of fear into people’ 

‘You have to be able to embody rhythm and if you’re not familiar with it, it’s very tricky to do’


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Louise Gibbs is a jazz singer, composer and educator, and a graduate in both music and education from Columbia University, New York. She is Visiting Professor at the University of Chester and teaches jazz and popular voice and musicianship for the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and York. She has held academic and teaching positions at Leeds College of Music (Course Leader for the Postgraduate Programme and the Jazz Programmes), Goldsmiths, University of London, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Royal College of Music, and given workshops for major conservatories and international institutions in the US and New Zealand. She maintains active research and writing interests in voice, improvisation, education and musical aesthetics. Louise is currently President of the multidisciplinary British Voice Association. 

Louise continues to perform her own music and the jazz repertoire. Described in Jazzwise as “meeting all musical challenges with creativity and charisma” she has recorded with top UK and US artists and has five acclaimed albums as a leader. Her performance of self-penned song suite, Seven Deadly Sings for voice and septet earned a 4-star review: “Both in its conception and execution, …is an unqualified triumph”. 

Louise is a keen gardener, allotment-holder, and sourdough bread baker. 

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