Sara - "I'm exploring my voice in new ways"

12 January 2023

Sara de Los Campos, from Uruguay, decided to pursue her passion for classical singing by studying at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Now in her second year of her bachelor's degree, she fills every spare moment with courses and projects that she finds both fascinating and meaningful. In this interview, she shares her journey with us.

"Music is deeply ingrained in the culture of Uruguay. Folk and pop music are a part of our everyday life. My decision to study classical music may not have been the most conventional choice, but my family supported me fully. I was first introduced to classical singing when my music school, where I was taking piano lessons, held auditions for a children's opera. I auditioned and landed a small role. My first encounter with classical music and opera was through that."

I have a diverse vocal range and enjoy singing in various genres, not just opera. I discovered my love for early music whilst studying in the Netherlands. Alongside my classical music degree, I am also pursuing a minor in early music," said Sara.

“I'm exploring my voice in new ways.”
Sara notes that the course offerings at the Royal Conservatoire are quite extensive. "I can tailor my studies with various electives, from early polyphony to jazz choir. Even within the core curriculum, there is a wide range of subjects, which has taught me skills I never thought I would need as a classical singer."

This year, Sara is participating in a project called "the vocal project," where she works with composers in their first year. "It's been an exhilarating experience because I am paired with a fellow student who is into improvisation and vocal effects. As a result, I'm exploring my voice in new ways.”

Artistic development
Sara also emphasises the benefits of working with students from different departments. "Interacting with students from other departments really helps my artistic development. For example, my classes include classical, early music and jazz singers, allowing me to meet and learn from a diverse group of people. The school also organises unique projects, like the Monteverdi-jazz project last year, where we sang madrigals and contemporary music with different singers. It's one of the things that makes the Royal Conservatoire stand out."

She remarks that the conservatoire has a strong sense of community and that once you're there, you feel that. "Moving to a new continent for the first time can be a bit disorienting, but I believe that everyone can find someone to trust and confide in. For me, that person was Amand Hekkers, my main subject teacher. Even before I auditioned, he took the time to answer all my questions about my studies and the country. I am incredibly grateful to him for making me feel welcome from the very beginning. Now that I am his student, he supports me as a singer and helps me with my technique.”

“Since I began studying in The Hague, my ideas and visions for the future have become more defined and apparent. As a result, I better understand the opportunities available to me."

Sara adds that versatility is key to making a living and having artistic freedom in today's classical music industry. "The conservatory places a strong emphasis on the practical aspects of building a career as a singer. In the professional integration courses, we learn how to write a strong CV and build a professional network."

Finding your sound
"We have lessons with the entire vocal department, which is special because we get to know all the vocalists from different years very well. In addition, the department places a strong emphasis on our well-being, both physically and mentally."

She also talks about how the conservatoire supports the student's well-being with resources such as tutors, counsellors, and psychologists: “The vocal department encourages us to find our sound, and as a result, it is less competitive than some other departments. Auditions for projects are based on finding the best fit for the project rather than competition among students. I am still discovering my authentic sound and building a solid technique while exploring different vocal styles.”

Authenticity is key
"I've learned that remaining authentic to my artistic development is crucial for success and happiness. Attempting to imitate others will only lead to failure. Instead, I must incorporate my personal and artistic background, even when interpreting music from composers like Händel, as it is an integral part of my musical expression."

Interested? Go to our 'Apply now' pages for more information about the Royal Conservatoire.