Updated: Sep 21
I didn’t grow up in a musical family.
Unlike one of my favourite singer's Mariah Carey, my mother was not an opera singer. In fact, my parents had no idea about music except that it was great to listen to on the radio, Countdown was awesome (they loved Molly!) and dancing to Kylie on Video Hits whilst cleaning the house was the Saturday morning ritual.
Both from hardworking Italian backgrounds, my mother and father were not raised to follow their passions. All four of my grandparents migrated here from Italy in the 1960’s. My grandparents came here with no money and with no idea of how things would turn out. The only thing they had was hope for a better life for their families. When arriving in Australia, they did what they had to do to survive in the foreign land of opportunity. They worked hard.
My parents were taught that in order to survive, you needed to work hard for your family. For them, this meant days of factory work and hard labouring jobs. They were not encouraged to be text book smart and finish school. Just physically work hard. They did this to provide for their own children - myself, my sister and my brother - and to give us the opportunity to follow our dreams and passions. The did not ever contemplate following their own curiosity to work in a field they loved. It just wasn't thought about.
It just so happened, that I was the only one in our family who had a curiosity for something that my parents had no idea about. I was given my first toy keyboard at three years old. This was my favourite toy and I became a closet player for many years. I was a very shy toddler and was too shy to have lessons. My mother tried many times to find me a piano teacher as she saw that I loved playing, but I was happy teaching myself nursery rhyme melodies and singing alone in my bedroom so she let me be. They didn’t know much about music and were not aware that I was actually quite musically advanced for someone my age. They always tell me they wished they had realised earlier, as they would have pushed me to start formal training from a younger age. During my primary school years, I would spend time sitting alone in my bedroom writing poems and singing my written words, then playing my sung melodies on the piano. I remember recording some of these on cassette tapes, wondering what I was meant to do with these songs.
As they were not able to convince me to start piano lessons, my parents decided to try and get me to come out of my shell and explore my love for music through dance. I danced for many years and loved it, but decided to quit when I was in high school and finally start formally pursuing my love for the piano. My parents found me a fabulous piano teacher - she was also my cousins’s teacher and she was Italian, so they loved that. We used to make our way to my cousins house once a week , as they had a proper piano, so I could have my lesson and the family could catch up for chats with a table full of short blacks and taralli biscuits. I have very fond memories of this time. My piano teacher was the first educated musician to provide me with a clear pathway to discover my talents. She encouraged me to learn music theory and also start singing lessons. She saw the potential in me. She was very nurturing and encouraged me to grow my talents. I continued these lessons until the end of high school where I had my first experiences with singing publicly.
I never planned on becoming a vocal coach. I never planned on opening my own singing studio. I never planned to study speech pathology or that my love of music and singing would grow into an eventual love of the human voice. Even though I adored music, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I left school. Unlike many children today, I didn’t start having formal music lessons until I was in my teens. I just knew that a life without music and singing just didn't feel like my life.
After only a few years of singing lessons, I took my first vocal coaching job at 19 years of age - this eventuated from a random phone call from a high school music tutor asking if I wanted the job. I had no idea how to teach singing, I had never taught singing - but curiosity got the better of me, so I nervously accepted and threw myself in the deep end (something I still tend to do a lot!). At the end of teaching my first singing lesson I was hooked. I immediately knew that I wanted to inspire people to love music and follow their singing dreams. I had no idea how I was going to do this, but I knew I wanted to help people the way my piano teacher had helped me. After all, If I had never met my amazing teacher, I don’t think I would be where I am today. Wanting to know more, I then went on to study music, which lead me to wanting to learn more about my voice and well - here I am. Over the years, I have now had the opportunity to work with many wonderful music teachers, singing teachers, vocal educators and professional musicians. They have all inspired me in their own way. However, it is often my clients who have sparked my interest and curiosity to know more, be more and grow more, both professionally and personally.
Why not follow your curiosity to find what you love to do? After all, we live in this amazing land of opportunity. Our families have sacrificed to give us a life where we can follow our curiosity, passions and dreams. Don’t waste your amazing opportunity. You might be that person who helps someone less fortunate realise theirs.
Work hard. Be grateful. Be present. Be curious. Be you.