If you haven’t heard of Katrina Ryan, there’s a good chance you have heard her. And been very impressed.
‘Throughout my life I've always sung,’ she says, ‘I started off as a professional singer. And I did a Bachelor of Music Performance and jazz voice at the Adelaide University. I was in my twenties and thirties.’ This led her into a highly productive music career which saw her voice front the hugely popular E-Type Jazz, a vehicle that drove her across the world performing at jazz festivals globally and included a stint representing the nation at the G’Day USA promotional events. But the life of a world class professional jazz performer was just the beginning. In 2017 Katrina began turning her meaningful music career into a meaningful teaching career.
‘I think that I've always really valued what music education brings to the lives of young children in particular… how the arts develop a critical thinker and a creative thinker, and also develops those life skills of persistence and resilience. I think learning to perform and learning to express yourself and communicate as best you possibly can as a singer or as a musician is perhaps one of the greatest skills.’
The passion that is evident as she speaks is not just focussed on children. She operates Katrina Ryan Vocal Studio and is Co-Director of Vocal Hub Enterprises where she shares her joy and her massive experience with everyone.
The understanding that every person has a unique voice and a unique self to present to the world is central to what has driven her from the stage to the class room. ‘One of my greatest passions is about trying to help people find their own unique path to self-expression, which is really reflective of them and what they are, how they want to communicate and how they want to be seen in the world.’ So the move from performer to teacher was natural for her. But, as a Mum, wife, and business owner, it wasn’t easy. ‘I did my degree, my Masters of Teaching over four years and it really was hard at some point, it's a real marathon. I really wanted to give up quite a lot of the time because it's really hard.’
But her personal passion to do what she loved was met by the Tabor environment to carry her through. ‘I looked into Tabor and I just really liked the personal nature of it. I have loved that it's a very nurturing environment, even for someone who, I perceived, wouldn't need a lot of nurturing, but…you know.’ She grins and continues. ‘So it's a really nurturing environment and one which absolutely does form and enable you to transition spiritually and physically, in and into a new life purpose.’
So from the global stage to the personal connection with her students, Katrina has been able to pursue her dream of developing a professional life, teaching more than just singing and vocal performance. And that matters to her. ‘Because in my life, even though I'm in my late 40s, there's probably never been anything in my life that I've had to work that hard for ever.’
Now even more equipped to help her students become so much more, Katrina Ryan is changing lives, not just her own, and living out her passion. Or, as she puts it;
‘I think, my true purpose is to empower all voice users to find their own unique and authentic path to self-expression.’
Opinions expressed by content contributors, interviewees and writers in articles do not necessarily represent the opinion of Tabor Institute of Higher Education.