Finding Your Voice

Singing Lessons, Workshops and Therapy.

About Raelene (Your Teacher)

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Singer Songwriter Storyteller

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Choral Director (Working Voices Choir)

 

BMus (Hons), RMT, PhD (performance)

 

Certificate of Estill Vocal Figure Proficiency.

 

 

I bring to our work together:

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  • * Passion for, and commitment to, your vocal health and development
  • * An intense love of singing, song, and voices
  • * Over 20 years experience as a Registered Music Therapist
  • * Over 15 years experience as a vocal and music teacher
  • * Over 20 years experience facilitating workshops and short courses
  • * A range of formal qualifications (see above) and a commitment to my own ongoing musical development through lessons and short courses.
  • * Professional performance experience around Australia at festivals, folk clubs and other venues
  • * Recording experience
  • * Training in a range of classical and contemporary vocal styles
  • * Experience as a university tutor

 

…and most importantly, a sincere passion for midwifing voices, songs, and musical experiences, and joy in seeing students develop their potential.

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My Story: 

 

After a fibromyalgia flare up which left me barely able to use my arms* in the late 1990s, I remembered that singing was my greatest joy, and I didn’t need to use my arms to do it! Having trained as a classical singer at university, I now retrained in more contemporary styles of singing and found Estill techniques and training invaluable in this process. I began writing and performing my own songs, and discovered a love of helping other people find their voices as well. Singing is joy, self-expression, art, fun, health and wellbeing. Singing my own songs allows me to give voice to things I think I need to say, or that need saying.

 

 

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My Vocal Style:

 

As a singer I was originally trained with classical technique, and initially accepted the common belief in classical circles, that classical singing training was a good foundation for any singing style. While some aspects of musical style, skill and technique are transferable, my experience was that this is not completely correct. The “package” of correct singing I was taught caused my larynx (sometimes called voice box) to behave in ways that were not helpful for many contemporary styles and techniques. I needed to learn to independently control different structures in my larynx to create the style I wanted to sing in, and this involved some “unlearning”. My current singing style ranges from a quasi-classical sound for certain songs, to a lighter jazzy sound, and a dirtier blues sound. I admire singers (for example K.D. Lang) who use the voice as a vocal colour palette and I strive to achieve that in my own singing. As a teacher this means I will also strive to help you find a vocal sound that you find pleasing, rather than impose my style on you, but I will always encourage you to sing in a vocally safe and healthy way.

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My Teaching Style

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I love watching someone who has been told as a child that they can’t sing – and believed it – discover that their voice is something they can learn to understand and gain some mastery of. I love seeing “tone deaf” students find tune, and others learn to free their voices from the tight band that they feel around their throat when they try to sing. I equally love watching professional/semi-professional singers/musicians overcome pesky vocal problems that were causing pitchiness in their break, preventing them getting that note or quality of sound, or causing vocal discomfort, develop mastery over these problems and expand their singing abilities.

My love of song and singing began young  and has stayed with me. Despite years of training in classical singing, as a new graduate I lacked confidence in my voice and was often mortified by how I sounded. When I decided in 1999 that I wanted write my own songs and sing in a more contemporary acoustic style, I began a process of vocal retraining that enabled me to learn how to create “vocal recipes” for singing in different styles (based on the research of Jo Estill), and of re-learning to love my voice and let go of the need to be perfect. Instead I focused on just enjoy singing again. I took songwriting lessons with amazing songwriters like Kristina Olsen, and joined a songwriting group for ongoing feedback and support. There was room for developing into the best singer I could be, but the self-judgement went. This approach of “vocal recipes” excited me and also helped me correct some ongoing vocal weaknesses that had always plagued me. I get as much pleasure – joy even – from seeing my students find their voices, discover they really can sing and/or write songs, and dive into the world of songwriting, as I do from my own singing and songwriting practice. I work with complete beginners, people who think they can’t sing but want to, people who struggle with singing in tune, as well as professionals/semi-professionals who want to address a vocal issue.

Currently I teach singing and songwriting, do gigs around Perth and sometimes in the Eastern states, conduct the community choir Working Voices, and work as a sessional tutor for Curtin University. I am also recording some of my songs and having a ball working with some musicians I have previously only admired from afar.

My Performance PhD:

 

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In July 2015 I was awarded my PhD in performance from Curtin University. For my assessment I created a three act one-woman show of storytelling and original songs which told and commented on some awesome ancient stories from Sumer (present day Iraq). In this picture I am playing a goddess as a young child discovering music and about to discover a sapling being washed away in the Euphrates River. She will rescue the tree and plant it in her sacred garden.

I am currently working on the first stage of a three album recording project which will include a double album of songs and stories from my PhD and an album of other songs I’ve written.

 

Raelene lives in Perth, Australia. She tours & is available for festivals, workshops, & country & interstate events.
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