After graduating from my undergraduate music degree in December 2014, I quickly realised that finding singing opportunities was really important to keep the momentum going with my music.
I found myself a reputable teacher - Roger Howell, who studied in Italy in his early career, and teaches the Bel canto method – and was selected for Melbourne Recital Centre’s Master Class with Camilla Tilling in April 2015.
My education taught me discipline and to be prepared for the different situations and performance opportunities that would come my way. It gave me the skills to interpret and perform music with the composers’ intentions in the forefront of my mind, and a hunger to re-create the beauty of their works while adding my own artistry to the composition.
Participating in the Master Class was an incredible experience. It provided an opportunity to learn and grow, and hear a different perspective to your regular teacher. For me, hearing from another soprano provided a really interesting perspective.
I was blown away by how minor adjustments in using my jaw can significantly change the sound, resonance and power of my voice. As simple as it sounds, I had a breakthrough that day in learning how just opening my mouth a bit more and relaxing my jaw to create a larger space for resonance completely changed my voice. I went on to win the Opera Scholars Australia Scholar of The Year competition and its Betty Amsden AO Scholarship, with the piece we worked on in Camilla’s master class. I think the strong foundations of learning the piece, plus Camilla’s advice and refining aspects of it with her definitely helped toward a strong performance.
If I could give any advice to emerging musicians considering taking part in a Master Class, it would be to BE PREPARED! If you think you are prepared, prepare some more. Know your music inside out and back to front. Be 100% confident, because it will be picked apart as part of the Master Class process. It is nerve-wracking in front of an audience, but ultimately, it’s important to have fun! What we have the ability do is such an incredible gift, and experiences like these master classes do not happen every day, so enjoy yourself.
Camilla Tilling was a wonderful teacher in the master class, knowing the balance of how much advice and correction you can give during those short classes is an art in itself. She was kind and complimentary and made me feel very comfortable. Outside of University I was fairly new to the Master Class setting – the only other person I had had the good fortune of learning from in this way was Australian soprano Yvonne Kenny AM (Patron of Opera Scholars Australia), so working with Camilla was such a privilege.
I really enjoy the arts industry. I love how everyone comes together from all walks of life for the common love of art. It’s almost magical, the feeling you get either in the audience, or on stage, where everyone is united in their focus on the art. My favourite moments on stage are when I can feel that the audience is with me and I know what I’m communicating is cutting through. Baring my soul like that; being vulnerable and sharing art with people is such a beautiful part of my life, one for which I am grateful every day.
I have my sights set on singing competitions at the national level now. I am hoping to have a month of study in Vienna with Sherman Lowe in mid-2020, with a view to moving to Germany or Austria to pursue further study and work opportunities.