I always thought I wanted to be a performer. My entire university study was focussed toward that goal, and I was completely convinced of my aspirations. I always taught ‘on the side’ to earn some money and, even though I hardly knew enough to sing well myself, let alone pass that knowledge onto others, I enjoyed teaching very much and happily took money for my guesswork!
Imagine my surprise when, years later, I have almost accidentally fallen into a teaching career, with performance as my ‘on the side’ gig. And I couldn’t be happier. I have been so lucky to be guided by some incredibly wise and experienced mentors, and have gradually amassed my own ‘toolbox’ of pedagogical knowledge and applications. I have spent many hours teaching students from 7-70, Disney to Dvorak, in individual and group settings – and each new person that walks through my door is a bundle of possibilities waiting to be unlocked. I can’t say that between us, we get it right every time! But I absolutely love my ‘job’ and I know that if you are reading this, then most likely you do too.
Like many of us here in Queensland, I was encouraged to join ANATS by Adele Nisbet, who has spent her entire career dedicated to the promotion of healthy vocal pedagogy. Teaching can sometimes feel like a solitary pursuit, but discovering an association such as ANATS, which is committed to bringing vocal professionals together in the pursuit of knowledge and skills, was a revelation to me. Suddenly I realised what I did not know, and how much I wanted to learn more! The quality of events offered by ANATS provides a structured learning curve for new teachers, and deepens existing knowledge for more experienced pedagogues. Each event I have attended has provided me with a more detailed understanding of our uniquely changeable, wonderful instrument and how to best progress it with the singers I work with. And I have met such a vast array of dedicated, intelligent and generous voice ‘specialists’ with whom I have variously received and shared knowledge.
Over recent decades, vocal pedagogy has progressed enormously in terms of embracing a wide variety of styles and genres under the banner of ‘healthy singing’. ANATS is a wonderful leading light in this respect and I have very much enjoyed delving into the diversity of style that is represented and respected within the ANATS community. There truly is a place here for every singer and singing teacher to find their unique voice in a healthy way.
Growing up in a regional area as I did, I am proud to say that we are committed to providing access for regional teachers to all that ANATS offers. We offer bursary assistance for our regional members to attend city events, and I hope in the very near future we can also stream every event out to every member. Stay tuned!
I hope to see you at one of our events or masterclasses, so that you too can experience the warmth, support and encouragement that emanates from our wonderful association.
Immediate Past President ANATS Queensland Chapter and National Council (QLD) Representative
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