Research project identifies key areas for young New Zealand hopefuls
Posted on 18 March 2008
A ground-breaking research project initiated and funded by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation has identified three key areas of improvement to help talented young New Zealand singers seeking to further their careers in the United Kingdom.
The project was undertaken by highly respected New Zealand professional opera singer and teacher Jenny Wollerman who spent 3 months based in London visiting the major UK music colleges and institutions, observing classes and lessons, attending student and professional concerts and operas and interviewing teachers, current New Zealand students and emerging young singers, institutional staff and other professionals in the field, particularly those who had worked with young New Zealand students and singers.
The major findings of Jenny Wollerman's research are contained in a 112 page report entitled “NZ Singers Take Flight’ which identifies the need for enhanced vocal repertoire coaching, ongoing monitoring of overseas tuition and training standards, and the importance of building a performance profile as the key areas affecting young people seeking to further their singing careers.
"There is a need for ongoing monitoring of the standard of tuition and training available in the UK and for a service providing up to date and objective information and advice for young New Zealand singers who are considering travelling abroad to advance their studies," she said.
"While the general level of technical vocal training in New Zealand is comparable to that available in the UK, there is a shortage in New Zealand of coaching skills in vocal repertoire, languages and diction. Investment in this area will improve overall standards and ensure that New Zealanders are better prepared when they head overseas."
Jenny Wollerman points out that New Zealand students often have more performing experience than UK students but this counts for little in the UK. "It is vital to build a performing profile in the UK and to be seen performing there by potential employers.
"It follows that New Zealanders need to be ready on arrival in the UK to compete with their international rivals for those precious performing opportunities, and that the easiest way to gain this profile is through study in an institution or advanced level programme."
The Chair of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa welcomed the findings of the research project saying they gave a clear picture of the areas which needed enhancing for young New Zealand singers in the UK.
"As expected with her past experience as a singer and teacher and tremendous insight, Jenny has given us an understanding of what is required to enhance support for our young singers. Her report will prove to be a vital blueprint for our future planning, and for directing further assistance from the Foundation.
"It will provoke a great deal of interest not just with singers but also with their teachers, funders and employers. The report contains a number of conclusions and recommendations that deserve to be followed up, debated, and, hopefully, implemented. The Foundation is ready to initiate these next steps and will work hard to help bring about practical measures to help New Zealand singers to be better prepared before they leave the country and to provide some tools to help them make well-informed decisions."
Copies of the ‘New Zealand Singers Take Flight’ report are available as follows:
From this website – to read or download the report.