29 January 2019
Almost four years ago, after teaching privately for about 24 years and as vocal coach and owner at Take Note Productions in Johannesburg for about 5 years, I moved to New Zealand and have now been employed as Itinerant Vocal Coach in the Waikato Area for close on 4 years. I teach at 8 schools, from as far north as Thames High School to as far south as Te Kuiti High School. I have groups, & choirs as well as individuals and I must say the talent here is astonishing.
Just starting to teach has been a challenge. Although I have an honours degree in music (BMA Hons First class from WINTEC, and about to complete a Master’s in Music also from WINTEC) I have a LAT (Limited Authority to Teach) from the New Zealand Education Council. The requirements are very strict and amongst other things I had to prove that I can speak English, for which I competed an IELTS exam (for which I achieved a Band Score of 9!) It seems that a country with 11 official languages (South Africa) is just too much of a challenge. I don’t have a problem with this attitude. Things are very regulated here in NZ and as a result you know who you’re dealing with. Some locals find it a bit annoying but being from a country where there are fewer and fewer checks and balances, I welcome it.
Anyway, after having taught mostly primary school kids for quite a few years at Take Note Productions, teaching teens is an amazing privilege. The last three and a half years teaching year 9-13s to prepare students for NCEA assessments and other performances, as well as the Big Sing choir festival, have been a wonderfully enriching experience.
Please leave a comment and I’d be happy to answer any vocal questions as best as I can.