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Rita di Ghent, Composer, Vocalist, Bass Player: Study With Rita!

Young Artists Summer Voice Program, Prince Edward County, ON - May 7, 2016

Welcome young singers! Thank you for taking this next step to become involved in the first Young Artists Summer Voice Program, Level 1! Here is a quick version of all the important information you need to know:

What? Young Artists Summer Voice Program, Level I: a program of non-classical voice instruction for 16-25-year olds who love to sing.

Where? Prince Edward County, ON

When? Every day, Monday through Friday, July 18-July 22, 2016. Classes run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Cost? If you register between May 15 and June 1 the cost is $295. 

Auditions? No auditions necessary! There is an application, but all interested young singers need only register to become involved.

Now, for the meaty deets!


Whereas there are a lot of voice programs for choir and solo classical singing, there are relatively few for young singers of non-classical styles. Examples of non-classical vocal genres are pop, rock, country, jazz, blues, hip-hop, R & B.

Is there a difference in vocal technique for non-classical styles? Technically, no, but maybe the easiest way to think about this is that classical singing aims to minimize individual differences from singer to singer; non-classical styles emphasize the individuality. The main aim of classical singing is even tone, pervasive vibrato, and carrying power without a microphone. Because non-classical singers use a microphone, they can use their voice in highly individualized ways that aren't dependent on the need to sing to the back of the concert hall. This involves a different approach from that of classical singing.

Who is the teacher? The teacher is multi-award-winning vocalist/composer, Rita di Ghent. Rita is a vocal instructor at York University and has private teaching studios in Toronto and Picton. Rita's assistant is the talented, fun, and wonderful young gospel singer and Senior voice major at York U, O'Neil Donald!

What kinds of classes will there be? The classes aim to provide well-rounded instruction for our Young Artists. Each day participants will study Vocal Anatomy, Theory of Vocal Production, Repertoire Development, and Musicianship.

Anything else?

YES!! Professional performance experience! Singers will practice a group tune to perform at a well known County music venue Friday evening, July 22!

WHERE? Our location is still TBA, but we're looking at some great spaces in Bloomfield and Picton!

COST? The cost for 5 days of classes is $350. Are there discounts available? YES!! If you register by May 31st, you pay the great discount price $295! Here is the tuition schedule: Registration opens on May 15 Register by May 31: cost is $295 Register between June 1 and June 15: cost is $325 Register after June 15: cost is $350 Registration closed: June 30.  

Are there scholarships available? YES!! This year we're offering a partial scholarship to one singer from out of town who wants to come to Picton to take the program. The scholarship offsets the cost of 5 nights accommodation.

What if I can't afford the program or I love singing but am too shy to sing? No problem! You can audit the course.

What if I want to come but don't have all the registration money now? No problem! You can hold your spot with a $50 deposit and pay the balance based on the date that you paid your deposit.

APPLICATIONS Please email to get an application. Looking forward to meeting and hearing you! .

2016 Weekend Singing Retreats - May 1, 2016






Why Come to a Picton Singing Retreat or Weekend Vocal Workshop?

  • Because expert instruction and a supportive, non-judgmental environment will inspire you to get to the next level in your singing/creative goals.

  • Because you get to fully unhook from your busy life and embrace time and opportunity to focus on YOU.

  • Because whatever your level, you are welcome to get the musical experience and inspiration you deserve.

  • Because you will be empowered with co-creating a program that fits you.

  • Because it’s affordable.


Praise from Past Singers-in-Residence:


"I had a great time at the retreat! All the ladies were a joy to be with. They were musical and very keen on learning. The balance between work and play for me was very good and it was interesting to see a little of the region as I had never been there. I liked the emphasis on our needs for development and how that guided our "program". It was wonderful that you arranged for us to be able to sing at the restaurant. Even though I sang songs that weren't completely polished, it was still a great experience. The audience was very kind. " (Catherine W.)

"This was my 3rd consecutive year attending this fabulous retreat. I love the opportunity to work with Rita and the other vocalists on a wide variety of things over the course of several days. Everyone brings different issues, but often they overlap, and even when they don't I always learn so much from the other participants. The intensity of the workshop is balanced by the beauty of Prince Edward County and the opportunity to explore its beaches, forests and small towns. Spending this kind of time together working on our shared passion brings us closer, and every year I have made new musical friends. I come away from the retreat with a renewed sense of purpose to work on my art, new skills and approaches, and the processing of everything that happens there takes months. Rita is a sensitive and perceptive teacher who appreciates that people approach music differently, and that they need different things at different times. " (Susan R.)

"You have ways to teach absolutely anything and everything! Also, I love how specific an articulate you are. You are, to me, the definition of a great teacher."

"Your singing retreat was a wonderful, relaxed, safe learning environment. I felt all the goals I had were addressed very thoroughly (and I had a lot!) Rita, you have a very intuitive way of teaching and are a great, non-judgmental, supportive teacher. You obviously care for every student and seem to know exactly how to address a student's issues and et the most out of them. I'm leaving this retreat more confident, VERY inspired and raring to go on learning/performing more songs.I would highly recommend this retreat to any singer and will definitely be back." (Tina N.)


"Thank you for providing such a safe place for me. I'm not afraid to make a mistake. (I don't like it! but I'm not afraid)."

"Rita, [your Picton home] has calming energies. It was conducive to study, especially vocal study. The idea of working in a group and alone was challenging; it taught me about new possibilities. It showed me how others integrated and what I could incorporate into my own learning. I found the time just passing by too quickly, and once the groove was was time to leave. Five days would be awesome!... EMPOWERMENT! That's what I feel you were giving me this weekend...things were beginning to happen and [I had] a new breakthrough. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this extraordinary weekend into your world of artistry!" (Christiane G.)

"I felt that the program had a continuity that allowed for progress in a marked way in vocal technique. The exercises employed were phenomenal and entirely clear and useful. I appreciated the freedom and flexibility of the program. The journal and handouts were excellent in terms of adding another dimension to the learning process. Rita was particularly patient and open to suggestions, which further enhanced the program." (Sarah T.)

Rita, I'd like to start by saying how blessed I feel that you allowed me to join in on this journey. I thought that it would be harder for me to feel like a part of the group, but it was not like that at all. I felt like I had a voice. I loved that it felt so spiritual and honest. There was a lack of judgment on the part of the others...There was just the right amount of personal space to permit a distance from the group dynamic when needed and enough structure to get me to challenge myself to accomplish the task at hand. I felt balanced and at ease. Thank you!" (Shiri O.)


Vocal retreats include:

- all instruction 
- discussions and exercises on various topics spanning vocal technique, philosophy and psychology of singing 
- downtime to take in the 400-acre nature reserve just a 5-minute walk from the Guesthouse or to swim and sunbathe at the famous Sandbanks National Park!

 - accommodations

- excursions when applicable 

The Guesthouse is on the Harbour. The shops and restaurants are just a 3- minute walk away. This is a great opportunity to get away and make some serious and focused progress on your singing.


Since RETREATS comprise only 3-6 singers-in-residence at a time, you get the individual attention you deserve.

WEEKEND WORKSHOPS  (all day Saturday and Sunday, no evenings) accommodate groups of 4-20 participants.

FEES: Fees are very reasonable and discounts are available. Please inquire at

Transportation from Toronto to Picton may be arranged if needed.  PLEASE INQUIRE ABOUT AVAILABLE DISCOUNTS . 

The 5-day retreat includes optional outings to some of Prince Edward County's wonderful offerings such as the famous Sandbanks beach, the Mcauley Conservation area, Tydinaga Mohawk Territory, and the quaint villages of Deseronto, Cherry Valley, Milford and Bloomfield.

Also, pending interest by the participants, we perform a live house concert.

New! Master Class Videos on Youtube! - February 14, 2016

In this 10-part video series, Rita teaches jazz to a group of young singers enrolled in an opera program. Enjoy!

Picton Singing Retreat Feedback: August 14-16, 2015 - August 31, 2015

Feedback from singers on the August 14-16 Retreat:

"I'm so glad I went to this retreat not only because I learned so much in such a welcoming, inclusive environment, but I've really bonded with the other students who were all so lovely to be with. So many great memories had made this retreat the highlight of my summer! Thanks again Rita for being a wonderful teacher and an excellent host! Your officially my guru!!!! Can't wait to do this again." --Singer-Songwriter, Miray Klugh


"I can honestly say that the retreat accelerated my growth as a singer. The knowledge I gained was empowering and the incredible creative spirit, left me feeling charged and refreshed. It was a jam-packed weekend - We did various vocal and rhythm exercises; performed and improved repertoire; tackled our individual challenges while learning from each other and had loads of fun while doing it all! Besides being an amazing learning experience, we also developed an incredible bond. I will definitely go back!" --Singer-Songwriter, Aiesha Bristol

"Rita is a wonderfully inspiring instructor with a rigorous teaching methodology informed by years of performing and in-depth study. I would highly recommend her to anyone who wants to enhance their vocal technique and become a better singer. Rita's mentorship will take you to new heights and the Picton retreat is sure to be a life-changing experience!"--Amanda Rosenstock

"My workshop with Rita Di Ghent was very informative, interesting and especially enjoyable. I met and shared music experiences with some very talented ladies, and Rita was a generous teacher and host. I would highly recommend one of her workshops to anyone who wants to develop their skills in a warm and open environment. It was fantastic!" --Singer-Songwriter, Lenni Stewart

Rita as Teacher/Producer: Links/Comments from Students and Clients - June 13, 2015

Feedback by Rita's Students

 "Rita: you have ways to teach absolutely anything and everything! Also, I love how specific and articulate you are. You are, to me, the definition of a great teacher." (Picton Singing Retreat Participant)

Ori Dagan "Canada's Next Top Crooner"

"A seasoned, engaging performer and recording artist in her own right, Rita di Ghent is an exceptional musical educator. Utilizing her background in cognitive psychology, an absolutely encyclopedic knowledge of the jazz and blues idioms, as well as her own life experience, di Ghent has plenty of knowledge to impart and is thoroughly dedicated to her pupils' musical progress and artistic development. "

Eliana Cuevas "Reina Latina: Canada's Emerging Latin Music Queen"

"Rita is a fun and inspiring artist... Studying with her was truly wonderful experience!"

 Ros Kindler

"Rita has been my teacher and mentor for over 12 years, so I can happily testify to her outstanding skills as a teacher. She has the crucial capacity to make her students feel that anything and everything is possible.  She is unfailingly enthusiastic and encouraging, and a font of information for the beginning vocalist.Rita also co-produced my debut CD and I still carry around in my mind, the image of her smiling face with the thumbs-up gesture on the other side of the glass in the studio.  Another track nailed! She has taught me everything I know, and is responsible for the fact that I can now refer to myself as a working jazz vocalist."

Lynn Harrison "a wonderful new talent"

"Rita provided excellent vocal training for me at a crucial time in my life and career.  With great sensitivity and skill, she helped me find my voice...empowering me to sing with authenticity and confidence. I will always be grateful for her teaching." 


Aiesha Bristol ("Fundamentals of Vocal Technique Workshop" participant):

What a great way to spend the day!
Rita created a relaxed and fun atmosphere that made us feel comfortable and excited about the learning process. 

We touched on the fundamentals of the voice and gained a solid foundation for improving our own vocal technique. Rita provided lots of opportunities to practice along with examples and exercises, which really helped to back up the theory. 

Overall, it was a 5 star workshop facilitated by a fantastic instructor!

Past and Present Students Include:


Aviva Chernick "a fearless musical adventurer"

Jeannie Niokos "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"

Suzanne Ramsay

Paula Gardin

Victoria di Giovanni

Jayne Mitchell

Chantelle Wilson and Kira Callahan (Swing Rosie)

New! Skype Lessons! - March 30, 2015

Now Rita can teach singing, piano/accompaniment, songwriting, and career advice to students all over the world via SKYPE! Contact 

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