Every culture across our world has its own singing. And most often many different ways of singing. Many believe that human beings sang before they spoke, and certainly from our first breath as babies we struggle to use our voice to express how we feel and what we want. The ability to use our voices to explore what can't be said with words, or what makes words reach into each other's heart's is part of our inheritance as humans.
My own singing and teaching has always been about the myriad ways we can make these connections with each other. And more recently, the way that sound technology can give us more choices about how we do this. My teaching is focused on helping students explore the possibilities of their voice and developing their own performances.
I ask each student to take control of their own development, and use me as a co -pilot. I have a wide range of knowledge about different ways of using the voice and how to get closer to singing the ways that are true to you.
Every voice is unique product of your own body, your ideas about the world, your personal history, what you have listened to and how you respond to all kinds of music.
Be prepared to try new things, and through this find what is truly yours. Your voice responds and changes in relation to what you are singing, just like your body changes with how you use it. The way you sing now is not the only way you can use your voice, or the only singing you can do. Studying and exploring your voice will uncover new ( and often amazing) ways to sing.
I have performed in opera, in new music theatre works, chamber music, radio broadcast and self devised works. I am currently teaching singing to actors at the University of Wollongong and doing my PHD at Newcastle University on the ways classical voice is changing in relation to sound technology. I am presenting a paper on classical voice and sound technology at the Future of Singing Conference in Stockholm in August 2016.
I was nominated for best supporting actress in an opera, Pecan Summer, in 2016 by Broadway.com.
In 2017 I am continuing my collaboration with Stephen Adams as part of our ensemble, A Body of Water and performing at a number of events. I will be performing a program of composers dealing with exile with Sally Whitwell, pianist this year. I am continuing work with Kelvin Haisman on a program of songs crossing different genres, folk, jazz and contemporary art music.
‘Classical music is art music. The word art,…should be understood as the transcendence of any style and any age…. Recaptur(ing) the right to evolve, to flourish, to contemplate self in times of rapid change in every aspect of our lives…. The lessons of compassion and the right to express one’s views on issues ‘be they political, religious or sexual’. Singer Thomas Hampson (2014) arguing for a new approach to the concept of classical music at a public forum in the United Kingdom.
Thomas Hampson (2014),
Karen performing at Glebe Town Hall, June 2015
Photograph by Brian Mason
I teach from a commitment to understanding the human voice as a product of our unique anatomy, mind, emotion, and cultural and personal history. I believe the communication of words and emotion is key to singing, and influences every part of our performance.
My current performing projects include a collaboration with Stephen Adams with voice and electronics, A Body of Water, Philip Glass Songs of Liquid Days with pianist Elizabeth Drake and ongoing participation in Pecan Summer with Australia’s Indigenous Opera Company, Short Black Opera.