RSAMD 1976-1981

LAWRENCE GLOVER my piano teacher at RSAMD for 5 years (1976-1981) when I was a first study pianist, taught me the wisdom, value and discipline of slow practice. He also gently encouraged me through the tough times and encouraged me that the “way out” was the “way through”. Giving up was never an option! I have applied this in my life when the going has got tough and have tried to encourage my own students to do the same. Lawrence also accompanied me when I was a young singer which was a great treat.
He taught me about lieder and piano accompaniment and how to shape a phrase and find expressive colours. I now use these skills every day in my daily work in the studio. Lawrence also tried but in this instance failed (!) to teach me how to swing a golf club in his garden. He showed me how to take time out and have fun. Thank you Lawrence. I wish you were here today to see what I have made of things!

I’m forever grateful to ELIZABETH IZATT, my singing teacher at RSAMD in 1980, who believed in me, laid the foundation of good singing practice on which to build my voice and who instilled in me the confidence that I could make the transition from second study to first study singer having been a first study pianist for so long.

She also taught me to listen with critical ears. I am still learning! She welcomed many of us to her home as young students and adopted us all into her family circle. She is my very good friend and mentor to this day.

RCM 1984-1986

MARION STUDHOLME RCM (1984-86) helped me as I bravely learned to spread my wings as a rookie singer in London! She took me forward technically and introduced this young mezzo to life above a top F (!), introduced me to opera and helped to launch me into the profession with my very first audition package! She and her husband Andrew cooked the best chilli con carne in London and we loved our invites to a weekend at her country house which felt like a home from home when I was in London.

I was very proud and honoured to be asked to sing a farewell recital for her at the RCM when she retired from teaching there. These were extremely formative years and were happy times. Marion and I exchanged Xmas cards every year. she was always on the end of the phone for advice and encouragement and, on the few occasions we are still able to meet up, we clicked as we always did.

I’m also eternally grateful to TIM DEAN, now a colleague all these years later at RCS, who gave me my first ever job in Kent Opera Chorus in 1985 thus helping this impoverished mezzo to pay for her second year of PG at RCM! It was my first introduction to a world that was to become my life and, as a young rookie chorister I learned so much. Thanks Tim!

Life After College

After leaving RCM in 1986 I was introduced to MARGARET HYDE who became my teacher, “singing mum” and mentor until her passing in 2010. She pulled all the threads of my previous learning together. She deepened my understanding of technique, stood by me with her wise counsel through all the ups and downs of negotiating the world of opera managements, agents, audition rep, the good experiences and the bad. She taught me that often you have to deal with the person before you can get to the voice. That was certainly the case with me! In her studio, apart from her piano, music stand and mirror her next most important piece of equipment was a box of tissues! They were certainly used!!

She generously came to hear me sing in Brussels and Zurich and we spent many happy hours working on my beloved Wigmore recital programme. Her husband David introduced me to vintage cars and took great delight in running me to the station after a lesson in his 1932 Morris 10/4! Little did I know then how fortuitous this was to be as my husband Grant shares the same passion. When the 4 of us met up later on in life after I was married, Grant and David would “play cars” and Margaret and I would “play singing”. She would give me a much needed “MOT” lesson then we would sit and chew the cud together talkingMARGARET HYDE for ages about voices, singing and teaching practice. Margaret made me laugh, gave me the odd sherry in a lesson(!) and whenever she said “Now Kathleen!”

I knew I had to sit up and really listen to whatever she had to say be it an encouragement or a gentle reproach! She was a straight talker, but loving with it, and I always took her words on board even if at the time they seemed hard to hear! I miss her so much but she knew she was special to me.