Singing Songwriting

 International Retreats

Pete Churchill & Paola Vera

August 20 – August 27 2022: SOUTH WEST FRANCE



Open to all singers and songwriters, from Beginners to Professionals, all styles and genres: Pete Churchill and Paola Vera will be returning to coach on the esteemed  International Singing and Songwriting Retreat  in the South West of France. The course will centre on the following key skills:

  • the creative process, approaches for writing lyrics, melodies, chords etc.

  • How to accompany ourselves, learn simple to advanced arranging techniques.

  • how to craft a sound & communicate our requirements for other musicians.

  • vocal technique: in depth sessions.

  • guided co-writing opportunities, pushing you to explore new creative approaches

  • group feedback sessions after group meals - constructive feedback and support each day

  • ‘tools not rules’ - encouragement to stretch beyond the familiar 

  • ways to move from self- expression to effective communication

  • high quality Recording facilities available onsite

  • Evening jam sessions and many opportunities to perform in front of others

Our retreats are flexible and designed to allow you to develop in your way at your pace. Space is provided for breaks, walks, naps, meals and whatever else is required for you to remain freshly engaged with the joy of the creative process. 


The retreat will primarily be held in English. We are also fluent in and welcome French and Spanish speakers.



  • alfresco style dining, catering available for Vegetarians (please request).

  • Snacks & drinks throughout the day

  • all Accommodation - see below for options (Arrival sat 2oth pm, departure sat 27th am)

  • Keyboards/Guitars and sound system available


  • Access to student kitchens

  • FULL Access to swimming pool/HEALTH SUITE

  • Bed linen and bathroom towels are provided

  • Please bring your own pool towels - can be hired on request at 3€ each for a week


  • full days of tuition

optional extras


  • € 600 non-participating Partner or friends not studying on the course, sharing the student's room.

  • limited offsite places available - €700 includes all food,tuition, use of facilities. 

Places are limited and frequently sell out. 

Book early to secure your place.


Professor of Jazz Composition Royal Academy of Music

Pete Churchill is a Composer, Pianist, Singer and Teacher with over two decades of experience teaching at top institutions around the globe.


Originally trained in Canada, Pete has been based in England since 1985. After almost twenty years teaching at the esteemed Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Pete is now Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London as well as Head of Jazz Voice at the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels. As an educator and choral director, Pete is in international demand, teaching regularly in Europe, Australia and the Far East (Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore).

Pete is recognised as being at the forefront of Jazz education in the U.K. In 2007 he received the Parliamentary Award for Services to Jazz Education and was nominated once again in 2012. He has also established a national reputation for his work with Primary School choirs across the country.


Pete directs his own professional choir ‘The London Vocal Project’. Previous collaborators include Bobby McFerrin, Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone MBE. The most recent collaboration was with Jon Hendricks, with his premiere performance of his lyricisation of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans masterpiece “Miles Ahead’ in New York.


Pete is renowned as a world-class accompanist, working for fifteen years with the great Mark Murphy and, more recently, Sheila Jordan. As a singer, Pete was also a member of both Kenny Wheeler’s and Abdullah Ibrahim’s Vocal projects whilst working for many years as the conductor of the Kenny Wheeler Big Band, culminating in the 80th birthday tour and the subsequent album, ‘The Long Waiting’.   



Professor of Pop and Jazz Voice, Bordeaux Conservatoire

Vocal Coach/Voice & Singing Teacher, Singer-pianist

BMus (Hons), Mmus (RAM) , Estill master trainer

Professional pianist, composer, arranger and accomplished singer, Paola has a broad base of experience and works in several capacties as a performer and educator. She is an experienced teacher and vocal coach, currently working with a number of higher education institutions in France and the UK. She runs her own international teaching studio VocalProStudio and is the professor of pop and jazz voice at the Bordeaux Conservatoire, and teaches vocal technique at Bordeaux Montaigne University.  She speaks fluently in English, French and Spanish and runs workshops in voice, songwriting, performance and improvisation.

Having worked on countless varied songwriting projects across educational and professional contexts, Paola is fully equipped to help you advance your songwriting goals. As a vocal technique specialist - and one of very few Estill Master Teachers in France, Paola will also be on hand to help you improve your vocal performances with individual feedback.



For more information and to reserve your place

please contact Paola directly.

Pete Churchill teaching .jpeg



Carrouze is set in an elevated position within 4 acres with 360 degree views. It comprises 2 detached properties and an apartment, each with their own private space with unspoilt views of the surrounding countryside. The properties are The Farmhouse, Cherry Trees Cottage and the Apartment. 

Carrouze is close to Armillac in the Lot-et-Garonne, between Miramont-de-Guyenne and Tombeboeuf. Bergerac and its airport are about 40 minutes away. Miramont-de-Guyenne, a market town with its weekly Monday morning market and shops, supermarket, bars and restaurants is a 5 minute drive. Tombeboeuf golf course is only a few minutes away and there is plenty of things to do in the area, from châteaux to lakeside beaches, canoing to carting, water parks to wine tasting...the area has so much to offer.

The fenced heated salt water swimming pool is 'L' shaped (10m x 4m / 8m x 4m) and it can be floodlit at night - perfect for a midnight swim! There is a changing room with hot shower and toilet next to the pool - and a fridge and icebox for keeping things cool. 













In addition, there is a sauna, jacuzzi, sun bed and exercise equipment for your exclusive use (open day and night). Beauty treatments and massage are available upon request from a trained therapist (payable locally).













Although each property has its own differently aspected garden with covered terraces and BBQs for dining al fresco, there's also a large covered terrace at the Farmhouse, complete with outside kitchen and BBQ. For other group social activities, in addition to the heated pool there's a large garden, a mini play park with swings and play tower and an outside covered games area with full size pool table, table tennis, darts, chess, books and other games. DVDs and indoor games are also provided.

The Farmhouse - 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 kitchens


1 Double bed ensuite (Single occupancy) €1350 per person

1 Twin bed ensuite (2 people sharing) €1225 per person

1 Twin bed ensuite (2 people sharing) €1225 per person

1 Double bed shared bathroom (Single occupancy) €1275 per person

1 Double bed shared bathroom (Single occupancy) €1275 per person

Well equipped kitchen with oven, hob, microwave, 2 fridges, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washing machine (a tumble dryer is available upon request)









Cherry Trees Cottage - 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms


Cherry Trees Cottage is all on ground floor level

1 Double bed ensuite (Single occupancy) €1350 per person

1 Twin bed ensuite (2 people sharing) €1225 per person

  • Living area with two sofa-beds, satellite TV (UK and French), WiFi and CD player

  • Kitchen area with cooker, hob, microwave, fridge/freezer, plus dishwasher and washing machine.








The Apartment - 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

The Apartment is on the first floor, up a flight of stairs by the covered games area  

1 Double bed ensuite (Single occupancy) €1350 per person

1 Twin bed ensuite (2 people sharing) €1225 per person

  • Fitted kitchen with oven, hob, washing machine, microwave and large breakfast bar
    Lounge with TV, WiFi, CD player and sofa-bed

  • Double French doors leading to private sunbathing balcony

  • Additional large covered balcony above the covered games area for eating al fresco



Our nearest airport is BERGERAC. A transfer service will be there to meet the main Saturday flights and will return you at the end of your stay. Flight prices can be low if you book early. We strongly suggest you book your tickets as soon as your place on the course is confirmed, and watch out for special offers.

If you choose to fly to Bordeaux or Toulouse you will have to find your own way to Marmande or Bergerac train station/ Retreat venue. Car hire is available.

There is a coach service ferrying travelers between Bordeaux airport and the railway station, Gare St Jean, from there you can take a local train (regular services throughout the day) to Bergerac or Marmande station, where we can meet you.


We can only guarantee to pick up those who arrive on the arrival Saturday and return the following Saturday at Bergerac Airport or Marmande train station. We will do our best to collect students arriving at different times but our ability to do so outside the Saturday transfer days cannot be guaranteed.


Please give us information about your travel plans and we will do our best!