Final lessons this week!


Christmas is only 5 weeks away!

This week marks the end of the year for Plainsong singing lessons. It’s a week or two early, as I am doing some Uni tutoring that will impact on lesson times.

What a strange and in some ways terrible year 2016 has been. Some of the world’s great artists have died too soon, including Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Natalie Cole and many others. Others who have died, a little later in life, whose work has touched us all include Glen Frey from the Eagles, Leonard Cohen, and Gene Wilder.

We’ve also seen the years of free-market capitalism, which has led to entrenched poverty and enriched only a few, cause outrage in many first world countries, with Brexit, Trump-as-President and the rise of the conservative right emerging as a result of genuine anger over what people perceive as the unwillingness of governments to listen to their grievances. Of course, fighting and horror continue in the Middle East, with no real end in sight. And the world keeps heating up.

Closer to home, I have personally dealt with some difficult situations that have caused considerable anguish, and I am very much looking forward to 2017 with a renewed sense of purpose and energy. I love that my profession enables me to engage with the world in a joyful, healing way. Art and artistry have counteracted much of the horror of this year.

My students continue to shine brightly, as they always do! We have had some good results this year from various students. Grace is beginning to hit her comic stride with main roles in A Chorus Line and other shows. Fran and Eloise continue their impressive regime of performances in pro-am productions. My now longest-lasting student 15 year-old Charlie was a huge hit as Rizzo in Grease with Somerville and Churchie, and she is in high demand at Somerville for concerts and music events. My second-longest lasting student Clancy was a wonderful Gomez Addams in the Ipswich Grammar production of The Addams Family, opposite new student Bailee as Morticia. Clancy will now be leaving us as he was accepted into the Bachelor of Musical Theatre at the Queensland Conservatorium. I will miss him terribly, but I am SO proud of the hard work he has put in to become the next great Musical Theatre star!

Five of my students have now sat their Musical Theatre Syllabus AMEB exams, and I’m proud to announce Brittany received a High Distinction, while Krystal and Bailee each achieved Credit. We are still waiting on the results of the other exams but I am very proud of the work everyone has put into their studies for this examination. In other news, both Liz and Bailee have accepted a place with ADPI for 2017, and I look forward to them developing many more skills in their quests to become Qld Con ready. Triona has been shortlisted in QUT’s acting degree (no results yet) and has also been accepted into Showfit in Melbourne, which is an acting diploma course.

As to the studio for 2017: I was recently informed that my adult daughter would be moving out of home in the next few months (yay, you go girl!), which will free up space at home in which to house Plainsong Studios. Yes, we are returning to Norman Park! We will be doing some minor renovations to get the room ready, including the purchase and installation of an air-conditioning unit, and some room re-configuration. The room will be quieter than formerly, as we’ve removed the rattly old louvres and put insulation in the walls and ceiling. Parking will be freely available in Katherine Street, and the 210 bus is just 100 metres away on McIlwraith Avenue. Norman Park Station is at the bottom of the hill and even the 214 bus stops nearby on Bennetts Road.

I may be doing some lecturing and tutoring next year at USC at the Gympie and Sippy Downs Campuses, however I’ve not yet received a timetable or indeed contract! For the time being, though, let’s assume that afternoons of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be my studio teaching days.

As with previous years, the first-in-best-dressed applies to lesson days and times, so if you have unavoidable commitments I suggest you get your request in as soon as possible! With the return to Norman Park my access to equipment and music improves, so I look forward to being able to help you with your mic technique and other skills.

May you all have a wonderful Xmas and New Year!

With very best wishes,


About Jessica

Dr Jessica O'Bryan PhD is an educator, researcher, singer and author. Her next book on Musical Theatre Education and Training will be published in 2020 through Routledge. Her last book was Teaching Singing in the 21st Century (2014, Springer). She lives in Brisbane in a semi-renovated 20s Queenslander home with her husband, Dougal the Groodle, and all the single ladies (Poppy the Groodle, Lucy the Cat, and the chooks).
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