End of Year activities

Hi Folks,

It’s nearly the end of the year, and what a year it has been! We are gearing up for the final set of auditions for WAAPA and VCA and Elder Con (a new course in Musical Theatre). This year’s auditions have proved very hard to crack – the standard keeps rising and the intake is dropping. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed that there are more opportunities for success for our students for 2019.

After discussion with students and families, I’ve decided not to hold an end-of-year concert this year as there was not enough uptake of the opportunity. Sad face. But 2019 looks brighter!

In other news I am performing in my first ever cabaret next Tuesday night – November 20, at the Doo Bop Jazz Bar in Edward St, City, from 8pm. Showtunes Tuesday, hosted by my good friend Trevor Jones, is showcasing several performers each month, and he asked me ‘specially if I would create a short 20 minute show. So I have. Called Failure to Thrive, I sing songs about not doing very well in life. I invite you all to attend! Entrance is free.

I am now opening up places for 2019. Again, as in previous years, my times and days are Tuesdays – Thursdays from 3pm-7pm. Get in quick with your preferred time and day!

Happy Christmas Greetings to you all and have a fabulous summer break. I know I will – I’m heading to New York in January for more shows, and a conference on Musical Theatre, and then I’m off with the family to London, Paris, and Hong Kong. Fabulous.

Don’t forget about the many summer schools popping up around the place in Musical Theatre – the Qld Con, Underground Broadway, plus many others, are now taking enrolments for their annual summer school. If you want to have the most amazing time, learning new performing skills and meeting new friends, check out their web pages for more details.



Posted in EVENTS, News

Term 4 already flying by!

Hi Folks,

The West Wing is now nearly complete (bar the woodwork and trim painting), and I am super thrilled by the results. As of next week the toilet facilities are once again available, and I’ll be proud to show off my brand new bathroom!

We have closed off the kitchen area so that there is only one entrance now, which means only 1 child door for the doggies. Who we are renaming Eeyore and Tigger (guess who each is?!)

Last weekend I attended a fantastic singing conference, and I relearned lots of excellent information (always important to keep up the professional learning), and every day I teach I try to put into practice the things I have learned. While there is not much I don’t already know about singing teaching and learning, it’s great to hear an old concept in a new and interesting way, which helps me to understand it better. I have discovered a great new website for new musical theatre, called Contemporary Musical Theatre, which has a lot of beautiful new writing for the MT voice. Run by eminent New York-based singing teacher David Sisco and friends, it showcases the best in new music for theatre. I love what I have heard so far! You can access the website here.

November is only 2 weeks away and December is calling fast. Hands up who’d like to sing in an end of year concert? It will be a short show, only an hour long, but I’d love to see you all perform.

Have a great term everyone!



Posted in News

What, September already?

Hi Folks,

Wow, time flies when you’re renovating a house! We are still a few weeks away from finishing the renovations, and you may or may not have seen paint on my hands as I’m the designated painter for this renovation. Given that I was quoted $8000 for 3 rooms, I said nah-uh. Nope. And I’ve been doing the rooms myself. Mind you, at the end of the painting I’m usually grumpy as a bear, so bear with me (!) while I learn to get over the dust and grime of the work, not to mention the nerve pain from holding a paintbrush for days. We are probably only 2 weeks away from finishing the rooms now, as the tilers are coming in this week.

Folks, just a reminder that holidays are just around the corner, and the last day for singing lessons will be Thursday 20 September. It’s the last day to enter AMEB exams, so please let me know if you’re intending to sit an exam in the November bracket, otherwise all bets are off and next year in March is the next available exam period. I also have a number of students preparing for their auditions to the Qld Con, WAAPA, VCA, QUT, UQ and other places, so I’m keen to see you work hard on your performance practice. If you need a rehearsal during the holiday period, particularly in the first week of the hols, let me know and I’ll arrange an afternoon rehearsal. In the second week of hols I will be away, attending a singing conference, and I’m really looking forward to updating my skills!

Did you know I’ve been having singing lessons myself? It’s great to get back into practice. And I learn so many awesome things from my singing teacher, it’s fun to teach some techniques to you too. It has been a long time since I took singing lessons and I’m reminded of the importance of maintaining my singing skills so as to better serve you, my students.

In other news, I’ve not been able to locate a decent performance space this year for our Brisbane’s Broadway Babies series, but I WILL be organising an end-of-year concert, so look out for details of that.

Best wishes for all exam takers and auditionees!

Jessica xx

Posted in News

The builders are here!

Hiya folks,

Next week Term 3 commences and we’re back in the studio from Tuesday. In the meantime, though, how’s about this? The builders are here!

We’re finally doing the last piece of the renovation puzzle – fixing the West Wing. Once finished, the West Wing will house a new family bathroom, upstairs laundry, and new small bedroom. In the meantime, though, there’s lots of bangings and crashings, and no toilet access for a couple of months (sorry!). Luckily the lads leave before 2.30pm (starting at 6.30am OMG can you believe it?!), so there should be no other inconvenience to singing lessons.

On the other hand, we’re also planning to renovate the front yard, entrance and driveway, so there could be some inconvenience while we get that done!

In other news, the dogs don’t get to be with the hoomans anymore. They have been corralled out the back by 2 child-proof gates, because there has been too much building work going on in the rest of the house, and I was worried about them getting out the front door and running onto the road. I like that the doggies can’t get through, so I’m keeping the gates there for the time being, or until I can’t stand it any more.

We’re also doing some light landscaping in the rear yard, but that won’t affect lessons at all.

I’ve also started making inquiries about performance opportunities for our Brisbane Broadway Babies series. Theatre hire is SUPER expensive, but I’ve some ideas up my sleeve. I want these showcases to be as much about atmosphere as they will be about opportunity. In other words, making the experience as professional and funky as possible. Stay tuned for more.

Posted in News

Holidays are here again!

Hi Folks,

Next week is the last for Term 2 lessons, finishing on Thursday June 28. If you are planning on being away before then, please let me know, as otherwise I will mark you as absent without notice!

It has been, in many ways, an exciting term. All my students are showing good consolidation of their vocal technique, and some are really soaring! I am thrilled by everyone’s commitment and work ethic, and it’s great to work with you all.

I have had the opportunity to see some amazing theatre this year, starting with our trip to Broadway. While there we saw Carousel, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Frozen, Hamilton, Hello Dolly, and Waitress. I really loved most of these shows, but I was most impressed by old favourite Hello Dolly and not-so-new Waitress. The standard of performers was uniformly high – in fact, amazing, and I am still singing the tunes months later (also because I immediately downloaded them all onto my Apple Music app).

Since then I have been to about a dozen shows in South East Queensland. While you all know about the QLD Conservatorium Musical Theatre program, which recently performed Godspell and Carousel, did you also know the Con has an amazing opera program too? And the orchestra is SO good that a few weeks ago they performed Stravinsky’s Petrushka suite, impeccably.And the opera program will be performing a world premier performance of a new Australian work by Paul Dean, called Dry River Run. Wow.

I’ve seen other great shows as well. Beautiful; Oklahoma; Mamma Mia; Aladdin; A one-night-only performance of “Don’t Call me Ishmael”, a home grown musical theatre work still in development (but it was amazing); Bare the Musical with newly-minted Understudy Productions (beautifully performed and directed); Coupling, starring Trevor Jones and Camerata; plus some off-centre shows such as Tafelmusik at QPAC, Madeleine Peyroux, and the Firebird/Carmen with the Queensland Ballet. I feel incredibly fortunate to see all of these shows, and to gauge the talent in Queensland and beyond. This week I get to see Opera Queensland’s Merry Widow, and next week is the wonderful Patti LuPone in concert.

More importantly, though, is the effect this has on my teaching. I hope that I bring to you all kinds of new knowledge from the shows I’ve seen and the things I’ve learned, and incorporated it into my work with you all. Of course, there are the new music books I’ve bought (15 at last count), new books on Musical Theatre training, and all the new technologies I bring into the studio. I want you to be world class performers, with a world class sensibility and work ethic.

I hope to bring you some new performing opportunities towards the end of the year, and to develop my Brisbane’s Broadway Babies series, which will be for performers aged 12-18. In the meantime, though, I hope you’re going to the Musical Theatre audition workshops, and getting every performing opportunity you can to develop your artistry and skill in this challenging, rewarding art form. Some of my students are doing their Musical Theatre AMEB exams, and some more of you are about to embark on Eisteddfod season. I wish you all the very best for the holidays and beyond!


Posted in News

We’re back!

Hi folks!

We’re back from our time in NYC and Europe and are really happy to be getting back into the swing of the year. This is the last big break for me for the year, so with any luck the remainder of the year will be uninterrupted in terms of lessons. I am planning on attending the ANATS (singing teaching peak body) conference in October, but apart from that my other work keeps me at home until early 2019.

There have been a couple of timetable changes. Please check your day and times for those changes, and let me know if there are any issues for you.

I’ll post some pics of the trip as my phone uploads them to my cloud storage. In the meantime, I HAVE NEW MUSIC BOOKS! We’ll be going wild.




Posted in News

Up, up and away!

Qantas plane

I’m about to head OS and I’m travelling on this brand, if not the actual plane. Actually, I think my plane is a tired old 747. Sadly, the 747s are the old workhorses of the plane brigade, so I’ve checked out Seat Guru for more information, and it all looks rather cramped. I hope I get an empty seat next to me where I can at least stretch out a little bit! Otherwise I get to sit very closely next to my new best friend, whom I’ve never met. Love it.

The interviews are shaping up nicely, but the questions are still unwieldy! And it’s looking like a very busy three weeks. We have a lovely little Easter break planned in the Black Forest as we head home, but otherwise it’s go, go, go! There are 11 shows I want to see in New York, plus at least 8 interviews, and a birthday celebration, and then in The Hague I’m examining Masters student performances. It should be very interesting!

Don’t forget that there are a few spaces still available for next term on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but times are still very cramped. If you have trouble attending your lesson on your preferred day, you may not get an opportunity to attend on another!

Once July comes around I’ll be a bit more available again, and who knows, maybe I’ll open another afternoon if there’s interest.

In the meantime, its New York, New York! Ciao for now.

Posted in EVENTS, News

A month goes racing by…

Hi Folks,

It’s a short five weeks since Plainsong opened its doors in 2018, in our brand-new refurbished studio. Well, ok, maybe there are still a few holes to patch. But otherwise, it’s brand spanking new!

Students have noticed how nice it is to sing in a large, cool studio, with its air-conditioning and desk fan keeping the heat down. Of course, I’ve discovered I can’t open the windows because the wetness of the year and fresh paint equals windows stuck fast.


We’ve also nearly finished the vestibule. I’ve found a couple of pretty little gouache paintings by Tania Blum, and they’re now hanging in the foyer above the chair. They are in just the right shades of blue, teal, peacock and orange that will make the room pop.

In other news I started my other (research) jobs in February, which makes my time just that little bit less available. I’m still good to go from 3.30pm but there’s very little wiggle-room at the moment. Check the website for up-to-date times and slots, but please be aware that once a time is booked up, it’s gone!

Speaking of research, did you know that Scott and I are writing a book on Musical Theatre training? Well, we got the contract and we’re heading to New York in March, to the hub musical theatre life in Broadway, where we’ll be interviewing some of the greats of the genre. I can’t tell you who they are right now, but it’s a super exciting time for us both! We can’t wait to get started, but there’s a heap of reading and research to be done before we go.

That’s my job for the next few weeks. So, off I go, getting stuck into my reading.



Posted in Uncategorized

We’re open for business!

Hi folks,

Yes, I’m back and raring to go. Please write to me at jessica.obryan@gmail.com to book lessons and to check your lesson time and day. Also continue to check the Timetable page for live updates to lesson time slots and other information.

Just a reminder that this term is a short one because I’m heading overseas in March, but that your 10-lesson invoice just rolls over to the next time you have a lesson. You don’t pay if I’m not around!

I hope this year is a great one for you.





Posted in News

Welcome to 2018!

It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good! I hope you’re feeling good too.

Welcome everyone to 2018. We’re starting off the year feeling all the feels. I’ve had a brilliant break and I’m raring to go as of Wednesday 16 January next week, when the studio reopens its doors.

Excitingly, the door is now at the front of the newly-painted house, not at the side as it used to be, and it’s a simple knocker arrangement. When entering for the first time, please knock, push the yellow door open (if you’re not the first student for the afternoon), and take a seat in the vestibule. I’ll greet you shortly. You may also be greeted by Poppy the moody growler (she’ll bark horribly, so don’t touch her – let her come to you), or better yet, Dougal the darling groodle puppy, who loves everyone. If you have allergies, I hope you’ll cope with these two non-shedding dogs. If you are fearful of dogs, just let me know and I’ll ensure they don’t disturb you. We also have a very old cat, Lucy, and 3 crazy chickens, who may or may not be visible.

Make sure you always close the gate and the front door behind you.

We have a little problem with the toilets: we are about to renovate the back of our house and will not have any toilet available while renovating. Please don’t ask to use the loo!

In other news, Scott and I have been contracted to write a new book on musical theatre training – it should be a great experience, and will no doubt teach me lots of new stuff to pass on to you. Don’t wait for the publication date, though: it’s miles off.

Let me know, too, what YOU want from Plainsong Studios. Would you like performance opportunities, or audition technique classes? Would you like the occasional VERY GOOD pianist to accompany you during your lesson for a small fee? Would you like to perform in a mid-year concert, or are you just happy with one-to-one singing lessons? Would you like some more sight singing sessions, or some acting/singing workshops? Let me know. I know just the people to join me for your benefit.

Happy New Year Everyone!




Posted in News