(Photographed Above: Jeanie LoVetri and Heather Keens)
Your work as both a singer and pedagogue has spanned several continents; can you tell us about your work in the U.K. and how this compares with the work you are currently doing in Australia?
Having been born in the UK, after Music & Opera training I acquired work in a Contemporary Opera, where I met my husband, who was the composer of the piece. He is from Australia. I worked in a subsequent five shows, which in the 80’s were considered ground breaking experimental theatre shows with music & singing. They might be termed Music Theatre as opposed to the commercial title Musical Theatre. I also toured Italian Opera in between working these shows. I did very little teaching then. The teaching work I was involved with was usually because I’d been approached for help from fellow peers who were also performing. I worked with a couple of successful pop stars on technique, etc.
I arrived in Australia in 1985 for a holiday and ended up singing with a prominent opera company as a ‘cover’ (Suzanna in Figaro). A year later we moved to Australia with the intention of staying for two years. We ended up staying for 13 years. This is where I began casually teaching singing at Universities, between shows and contracts. I taught on the first ever Contemporary Popular music course in Australia. I’ve always listened to and sung all styles of music from a young age and was able to adapt my classical teaching for other styles, focusing on technique. From there we moved to a leading Conservatorium in Brisbane, where I became a casual singing teacher on the newly re-vamped Jazz and CPM course.
On returning to the UK in 1998, I continued teaching as a part time singing teacher at a couple of leading Universities while shuffling performance work. I found that specialization in any one style or genre had become more difficult due to Arts budget cuts. I was teaching everything from classical, jazz, music theatre and pop. I decided to study again and completed a Masters of Voice in London to increase my pedagogical knowledge.
I returned to Australia in 2013, where I’ve continued performing, teaching, running workshops and being an adjudicator. It’s a very creative environment, however, with as much talent as anywhere else in the world. [Read more…] about Spotlight on Somatic Voicework™ Teacher Heather Keens