Pictured: Kate Schirmer, ANATS QLD President, Pedagogue and Singing Teacher in the Music Theatre department at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, and at JMC Academy in the Bachelor of Contemporary Popular Music.
I was going to begin by saying that like many others, I fell into teaching “by accident”, but, honestly, when I think back – this is not really the case. My musical life has been influenced by many amazing teachers – my family, who sang to and with me from before I was born, Noni and John on Play School, my Grade 1 teacher, with whom we sang while she played guitar every afternoon, Paul Simon and Mahalia Jackson on the record player, Friday night musicals on the ABC with Bill Collins, Paul McDermott and Mikey Robbins on Triple J, and this was all before I started any formal singing lessons!
I am indebted to two inaugural members of ANATS – Robyn Edgar, who was my choral conductor and singing teacher where I grew up in Bundaberg, Queensland, and Lesley Purvis, my mentor and inspiration, with whom I studied classical voice at UQ, and afterwards until her death in 2008. These amazing women gave me a foundation in “Good Singing” regardless of style. I was (am?) an unruly mezzo, indecisive on style and direction, and they guided me through more than one passaggio – in singing, and in life – as great teachers do! On completing my Bachelor of Music in 2004, I fell into a job teaching at 2 schools on the Sunshine Coast on a hunch, and I was off and away – hoping I was doing the right thing, loving my job but feeling rather inadequate at times – feelings I now know are so common amongst young teachers.
I joined ANATS at the International Congress of Voice Teachers in 2013. It was such a revelation to me, being surrounded by colleagues, networking and discussing the joys and challenges of our vocation, and learning, learning, learning about a world of voice science that I now know will only continue to expand our understanding of what we do and how we do it. I encountered and engaged with new mentors and friends, completed my Masters, joined the ANATS committee and have not looked back, except to thank my lucky stars for the incredible opportunities I have been afforded to learn and thrive in my field, building healthy, versatile, employable voices.
ANATS wants all singers and singing teachers to thrive, and understands that this requires constant nurturing and nourishment of our skills. Through professional development with qualified, generous voice professionals, as well as networking events (online and in person), we aim to encourage great singing in any style through open channels of communication between teachers and up-to-date voice science and research. This is a community for anyone who believes that “Good Singing Is… Good Singing!”.
Growing up in regional Queensland with a teacher who was constantly travelling for hours to attend ANATS events, I am passionate about opportunities for regional members, including web-based events, bursaries, and collaborating with regional communities as to how to best bring ANATS to them.
I hope to see you at an ANATS event soon, so that we can support and motivate each other toward professional excellence, inspiring teaching, and, of course, Good Singing!
President ANATS Queensland Chapter
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