Ian’s Life Story. “School and Discovering My Voice”

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Ian's Blog

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It was time to do some research into this fascinating world of singing.  My Grandmother had quite a collection of CD’s.  Ranging from classical, country music, ballads, and musical theatre.  I asked her if I could borrow all of her musical theatre CD’s.  Night after night I would listen to amazing singers believing without a doubt that I could sound like that too.  When alone in the house I would sing along completely oblivious to any “technique” required to sing these very difficult songs.  I had absolutely no preconceived ideas about singing.  I was fearless and singing with pure passion, but at this stage completely in secret.

Here in Australia our final 2 years at school are dedicated to the HSC (High School Certificate).  We are required to nominate subjects to specialize in.  Music was obviously my specialty so that was one of the subjects I chose.  Throughout the year I was required to do “assessment tasks” which usually meant a performance of a piece of music from a particular genre.  For the first half of the year I performed some piano pieces and a couple of saxophone solos.  My moment of truth came when I had to perform something from “stage and screen”.  I decided “This is it!  Look out world here I come!” I decided to play and sing “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera”.  I had a small audience of my music teacher and 3 classmates.  They were left speechless.  I was known as the quiet guy, who had a few friends but mainly kept to himself.  Here I was singing this huge song from one of the biggest musicals in the world.  My secret was out!

I had the same reaction from my parents when I performed the song for them that same night.  My Mother’s response was “where did that voice come from?”  Things progressed very quickly from that moment.  Not only did I love to sing, but I loved seeing the shocked expressions on people’s faces.  My school was very well known for its sporting achievements and during the 90′s you were very popular if you were a part of the school team.  It was not popular however to be a 17 year old musical theatre singer!  That did not stop me from persuing my dreams and performing at every opportunity!

During my final year at school my music teacher suggested that I have some singing lessons.  Being an overly confident 18 year old my first thought was “I don’t need them”.  My sister was also interested in singing and wanted lessons so I thought “Ok I’ll give it a go”.  I started having lessons with an older gentleman who by his own addmission didn’t focus on singing technique.  He was a very experienced performer and shared with me a lot of advice and gave me plenty of opportunities to perform in public.  It was during this year that I debuted in the muscial “Hello Dolly” as the leading man playing opposite someone more than twice my age as the leading lady!  It was a wonderful experience and gave me plenty of confidence.

At the end of 1996 I auditioned for a position in the musical theatre course from WAAPA (Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts) which is the same course Hugh Jackman did.  Unfortunately they said I was too young and needed more life experience.  So I decided to take a year off studying to focus on singing.  My teacher suggested that perhaps I might be better suited to opera.  I trusted his advice and began studying the art form.  My voice certainly suited the classical style and I enjoyed the challenge but my heart really wasn’t in it.  During this year I performed the lead role in “Oklahoma” and had my own “gig” at a local club singing to mostly intoxicated sportsman!  I also entered as many talent contests as I could winning some very nice prizemoney and the respect of some industry heavyweights.

My teacher encouraged me to audition for the prestigious Queensland Conservatorium of Music at the end of 1997 to study Classical Voice.  I did so and was offerred a position in the 4 year course for 1998 with one of Australia’s best classical teachers.  I accepted the position and began the next chapter in my life.

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4 Responses to “Ian’s Life Story. “School and Discovering My Voice””
  1. Robert LaBrecque says:

    Ian.I love your videos.I have two Questions.First do you have a DVD Lesson with advanced lessons not shown on Youtube,Facebook ect.Second my biggest problem is breathing mostly breathing inbetween nots while singing and holding that breath while singing.For example The Wonder Of You By Elvis at the very end,Thats the wonder (pause)The Wonder Of Youuuuuuuuuuuuu.Thanks.If you have a dvd that incules this please leave me know how to purchase

  2. Aussie Vocal Coach says:

    Hi Robert,
    At the moment I don’t have an advanced DVD for purchase. If that is something you would be prepared to pay for what topics would you like covered in more detail? I could arrange something like this in the near future if that is something my “online students” would like.

    I think I see your problem with breathing. I use a technique called a “surprise breath” when I breathe during a phrase. It is very useful when you don’t have much time to get a breath in, but need enough air to sustain the next phrase. As the name suggests, imagine someone has just said something completely shocking to you, let your jaw drop Now take a breath in at the same time. You need to relax your abdomen and let the air race down to your lower lungs. You should feel a sudden expansion of the lower ribs and stomach. You need to hold this position while singing the next phrase.

    I hope that makes sense to you. It’s a little hard to demonstrate via text.


  3. Rafael says:

    Nice Story Ian! It reminded of my self
    when I was a young teenager and would
    sing in my house and act as if I was in
    a real concert! Lol

  4. Aniah Griffin says:

    Dear Ian,

    I Can not even begin to thank you enough for how much you have improved my singing just in the mini course, i get excited everytime i see “aussie vocal coach” in my email, i know i am getting more closer to my dreams. I am 16, and i love to sing but being i am that age i am unfortunatley unable to purchase your program fully, But trust and beleive me if i had the funds there would be no doubt i would buy the 97$ one. I Love this program sooo much and i want say THANK YOU VERY MUCH IAN FOR ALLL The Help You Have Given Me So Far, And When Im Famous Ill Be Sure To Giive You The Credit Where It Is Much Due, After GOD Of course (LOL). But Once Again Thank You Ian And Please Continue To Help Others You Are a Wonderful And Inspirational Person Keep It Up!….

    Ps. I ReallyWish I was Able to Buy Your Program Im Sorry I Cant! :-(

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