Life as a Singer and Vocal Coach
When I moved back to Port Macquarie I decided to take a break from singing. I was fortunate to be handed a job as a builder’s laborer, which was a world away from life as a singing student! After a few months of early mornings, back breaking work and sweating in the hot sun, my passion for singing quickly returned! I auditioned for the leading role in the musical “Carousel” and got it. I felt like my life was heading in the right direction again. Unfortunately I became quite sick for the majority of the performances. Unfortunately I didn’t have an understudy so I had to perform the role night after night which was a struggle but I got through it.
In 2002 with my renewed passion for singing I decided to audition for the Queensland Opera Company for a second time. I was accepted and was given a contract for two operas. Life as a professional singer is great. To get paid well for a job that you love is a dream come true. I loved the rehearsal process, working with world class directors and sharing the stage with international guest performers. Performing for over 2000 people a night was a little more daunting to performing for 250 people in my home town, but I loved every minute. The only downside to the life of a professional singer is the work is very seasonal. Unless you have another “gig” lined up you can go months before doing another show with a company. I decided I would move back to Port Macquarie (again!) as I knew I had a steady (real) job to go back to if I wanted it. My plan was to base myself in Port Macquarie and move away for a few months at a time when I was offered a singing contract.
Upon my arrival back home I was offered a job teaching singing at a local music school. Up to this point I hadn’t considered teaching as a profession but I thought with my experience I would be able to offer students some insights into the world of singing. I started out with just a few students but as the year progressed I ended up teaching about 15 singers. I knew I had the experience to teach but what took me by surprise was how much I enjoyed it! I also saw the need in the area for an experienced qualified teacher as there are a lot of “teachers” out there who basically have no idea of what they are doing! Having been a student myself I know how damaging it can be if you don’t have a good teacher from the start.
At the beginning of 2004 I faced a dillema. I was in a serious relationship and I had discovered a new passion for teaching. I was also offered a contract for another 2 operas in Queensland. It would mean leaving my girlfriend and students for four months. I will never know if I made the right decision for my performing career but I decided to stay where I was. I had established myself as a respected and fresh singing teacher and my students were certainly very happy that I stayed.
Fast foward to 2009 and I can honestly say that I don’t regret my decision to focus on teaching in any way. I stopped teaching at the music school in 2006 as I knew I could manage myself as a business. I don’t like to call myself a “Singing Teacher” these days as most of the singers who come to me already know how to sing. I consider myself a Vocal Coach. A coach knows how to work with the strengths of an individual. I also work with a lot of dancers, giving them the skills needed to succeed in a very competitive field. The techniques that I use are an interesting mix of classical and contemporary. I also focus on energy and try to simplify singing.
I am blessed to live in a town that has a very strong performing arts community. I constantly have the opportunity to perform both professionally and for charities. As I write this post I am winding down from a performance for the opening of a $60Million theatre just minutes from where I live. I have built up a clientel of over 70 students during the past couple of years. I can’t physically fit any more students into my schedule which is why I have developed Aussie Vocal Coach. I want to help as many singers as I can in this world as I know how much joy singing can bring to your life if you have the right coach.
I would be honored to work with you and have you help me write the next chapter in my life.
Your Aussie Vocal Coach,
Ian CastleShare on Facebook