If you want to learn to sing, why not learn from a choirist in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Elwood College students do! Voice Coach Jodie Paxton is also Year 8 Learning Leader and Music Coordinator. In all her spare time, she runs marathons for fun!
How long have you been in the MSO choir? What sort of training and dedication is required? I have been in the choir for nearly 4 years. I was told about the auditions, went along and got a place. To my horror, I was out in the soprano section after singing alto in various choirs for years! There are regular rehearsals once or twice a week. If it's a performance week, we rehearse most nights with the orchestra in the venue and with the actual guest conductor rather than the chorus master.
How does being in the MSO help you to voice coach our students? Being part of such an incredible organisation makes me appreciate working with others to deliver a shared goal. I think that helps with all aspects of my job. The feeling you getting after a three-hour performance also allows me to appreciate what students have to go through when it comes to the school musical and the other performances.
And for fun, you run marathons! Is running good for singing? Running and singing actually compliment each other extremely well as my ability for breath control is important for both. It also means I feel physically fit for epic singing pieces and can give it my all. Running is also an excellent way to stay happy and healthy and I can't wait to run past our school students playing music for the marathon!
2015 has been your first year coordinating a year level. Has the Year 8 cohort been kind? The students have been amazing and I feel like we have developed an excellent relationship. I was slightly nervous about the role when I applied. But through the support of both staff and students I have thoroughly enjoyed every second.
What makes Elwood College special? When I moved to Australia, I took a few relief teaching jobs before seeing the advert for music and English teacher. I knew immediately after the interview that Elwood was the right school for me and it has been my family since I arrived. The staff and students are what make it special and I genuinely love coming to work every day. Before teaching here, i worked at a specialist school for students with severe learning difficulties in London. Before teaching I sold tickets at the national theatre and Wembley arena, all the while trying to make my name as a recording artist... That never happened and I can honestly say I'm glad it didn't because I love what I do now. I still manage to get my musical hit through the MSO and my band 'burn' alongside John Harte. I now look forward to embarking on further training as a wellbeing counsellor next year and continuing my life here in Australia.