LIVIA BRASH M.Mus B.Mus
I come from a very technical background, but at the core of things,
I'm a heart-based teacher.
A few years into my teaching journey, I began to realise that with many singers, a purely technical approach has its limitations. Oftentimes technical issues are a symptom of something else deeper below the surface. My aim is for students is for them to feel supported and empowered in their journey. Singing as an art form is all about expression, communication and emotion, and to be completely open to that experience, we need to feel safe. My style is to facilitate an environment where students feel they can fully explore their voices without judgement. Whilst I often had very strict teachers myself and this was a great motivator for me, this does not align with my own teaching ethos.
I think it's important my students know why they are doing certain exercises and what the outcome of them are. Exercises are very carefully chosen and have specific functions; you will never be singing scales for the sake of singing scales.
Intention and understanding are the key to progress.
Whether you be singing to work on a specific technical issue, or for an emotional reason, I encourage students to have clarity about their intent. It really is when magic starts to happen. It also opens the student up to the opportunity of self-empowerment. I can offer tools to transform a student's singing, and show how it has the potential to have a positive impact on life, but it's up to the student to meditate on and integrate these tools. I want my students to eventually be able to trouble-shoot issues for themselves, and feel empowered in doing so.
The other thing I encourage in my singers is to embrace the feeling of singing. Oftentimes the sensations in our body are a much more accurate indicator of what is happening technically, than our ears. Singing becomes a meditation in movement. This also places emphasis on the processes of singing, not the results. When we stop listening so much to our voices, we stop with the nit-picking and self-criticism. We can adequately let go and actually let our breath work properly. It also means we know exactly what we did to achieve a certain result, and can therefore reproduce it. It also is the key to sounding like yourself. Jumping to the end and trying to manipulate a result or certain sound will likely leave you with a manufactured voice that isn't quite you. When you focus on the processes and how to work your body in the most aligned and efficient way, this is when you discover your authentic voice.
Believe it or not, I am not a natural singer. I've had many technical issues on my singing journey, a few of them being quite severe. But with a lot of study and some special teachers along the way, I was able to overcome them. I'm very thankful for these problems, because I now know varied methods to fix a wise range of issues, which has proved invaluable for teaching.
If you are after a technical perspective, whilst I have taught a very wide variety of students over the years, I tend to have a lot of intermediate and advanced contemporary and classical singers in my studio. These range from Diploma and Bachelor students to professionals. I do however regularly still teach beginner students (and I love it!)
Masters of Music Studies (Opera)- Sydney University (Joan Bonamy & Geoffrey Rothwell Scholarships)
Bachelor of Music (Classical Voice)- Australian National University
American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz (full scholarship)
George Solti Accademia (full scholarship)
Pacific Opera Young Artist (fully sponsored)
Performed in masterclasses for Richard Bonynge AC CBE, Barbara Frittoli, Grace Bumbry, Roberto Frontali, Bruce Ford, Nelly Miriciou, Linda Watson, Yvonne Kenny, Bernadette Cullen.
Estill Method for Voice Training Certificate 1 and 2
Vocal Hygiene- Dr Jonathan Liversey (facilitated by the Sydney Conservatorium)
Accent Breathing- Dr Ron Morris (facilitated through ANATS)
Understanding Alignment- Sarah Whitten (facilitated by Opera Programs Berlin*)
The Acoustic Landscape- Kenneth Bozeman*
Effective Acoustic Training Strategies for Treble and Non-Treble Passaggi- Kenneth Bozeman*
The Voice Teacher as Fitness Trainer- Dr Claudia Friedlander*
Anatomy in Action- Dr Claudia Friedlander*
Training Spinto, Dramatic and Zwischen Voices- Dr Stephanie Weiss*
Crossover and the Classical Singer- Susan Eichhorn Young*
Training Transgender Voices- Dr Stephanie Weiss*
Training Singers with Visual Impairments- Jennie O'Brian*
Hormones and the Female Voice- Joanne Hayes Bozeman*
Post-Vocal Trauma Training- Carol Mastrodomenico*
Laban Movement- Wild Voices Theatre
Feldenkreis for Singers- Zoran Kovich
Professional Counselling Diploma- Complementary Therapists Accredited Association
Psychological First Aid - John Hopkins University
Music and Wellness- Berklee College of Music
Healing and the Arts- University of Florida
Diploma of Music Therapy- Centre of Excellence