Wednesday, 23 September 2020

September is bustin’ out all over (because June was cancelled)

Apologies for taking so long to write an actual post for you. It has been a crazy 6 months. Lockdown, Zoom classes, baking, daily walks, endless webinars on all sorts of subjects. So how are we all feeling about singing face to face again?

I haven’t hated teaching online at all and, in fact, I will continue to teach online in conjunction with my face to face teaching for the foreseeable future. I have found online teaching to be an excellent way to deliver singing lessons. They are not a total substitute for being in the same room as my students but it definitely has its uses. I now have some students who don’t live near enough to me to have face to face lessons so the ability to meet with people online means I can offer lessons to a wider group of people.

I have been teaching face to face for the past 2 weeks and, so far, it's been great. I am not teaching from home anymore but my local church hall has done me a great deal which means I can teach in a huge room with plenty of scope for social distancing and I, and my students, feel very safe. I'm only doing 3 or 4 face to face sessions a week right now but aim to increase this a little over the coming weeks. 

My choirs are still online, 3 sessions a week, and new members are welcome. Tuesday evenings will remain online forever so if you don't live anywhere near Selsdon/Croydon but are looking for an online choir to join you might want to consider Songsations. Email me at songsations@outlook.com or visit songsations.net for more details.

I thought with this new post I would tell you a little story. I have been watching endless free webinars over the past few months. Most have been pointless and resulted in me losing many hours of my life that I will never get back but the odd one has proved interesting and actually useful. I have had tasks to complete over the past few days and today's task was to write about something in your past that has been a lightbulb moment in your career. This is what I wrote:

I realised I could sing when I was 10. From that moment I knew that my career would be a musical one (this was a lightbulb moment but not THE lightbulb moment). I went to university and music college and trained to be an opera singer. I was pretty successful and ended up side-stepping into musical theatre along the way. 

Back in 2002 (ish, can't remember exactly) I did a job where I was one of 3 professional singers employed to put on an opera in a week with a group of amateur singers making up the chorus. Part of this job, that I was not informed about when I took the job, was to deliver a masterclass with a couple of the amateur singers who had signed up to sing their favourite operatic arias for the rest of the group and I would help them make it better. I objected to having to do it as I really didn't think I could do it or that I would be any good at it. Anyway, to cut a very long story short, I did it and I LOVED it. I worked with 2 women who had very little confidence when it came to singing but got up and did it anyway and by the time we had finished working together they left the stage with a spring in their step and big, beaming smiles on their faces. It was at that moment I realised I possibly had a knack for coaching.

I received praise and thanks for a job very well done and our director of the opera, who had come to the masterclass even though he had the afternoon off, stopped me in the street to tell me how good a job I had done. At this point I wasn't really thinking of teaching/coaching being part of my life's plan but a few years down the line I had no performing work but needed a job that would allow me to still go to auditions. I remembered the masterclass I had done all those years ago and how much I had enjoyed the coaching experience and helping those 2 women become more confident singers and wondered if I could do something with this skill.

So 10yrs ago I started teaching as a side hustle. That side hustle has turned into my full time career and ultimately led to my starting my choirs, Songsations, which has allowed me to help even more women find somewhere they can sing without feeling judged or scrutinised.

So if you are looking for a singing teacher (either online or in person) or if you're a woman aged 18+ looking for a choir to join, get in touch and we'll see what we can do!



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