Send photos, video and news by texting GUARDIAN SERIES to 80360 (cost 10p), or email us
Theydon Bois singing teacher inspiring children to the West End
An accountant who swapped a high-powered job in the City to help young people chase their dreams says gifted singers must work hard to make the most of their talent.
Catherine Sheehy, 42, went full-time with her business teaching aspiring singers and performers after being made redundant four years ago.
But over the last 13 years, Mrs Sheehy has helped young people secure auditions for West End shows and currently one of her pupils, Ciara Ramsey, 15, is on the verge of the national final of the Open Mic UK competition.
Mrs Sheehy, of Hill Road in Theydon Bois, teaches pupils of all ages and abilities and has 50 singers on her books.
Her love of performance started early and she began to pen song lyrics aged seven.
She went on to train at the London Academy of the Music and Dramatic Art and Point Blank Music School in Shoreditch, whose alumni include X Factor winner Leona Lewis.
But she ended up working in the Square Mile and had a successful career before the economic downturn changed her life and she decided to dedicate her life to her first passion.
"I had planned to go full time for the previous five years so the move was easy. I already had everything in place," she said.
“I did everything I could to advertise. I took leaflets round to all the local schools, cafes even swimming pools.
“Word of mouth has been the best advert though.”
The businesswoman attributes her success to understanding the industry and keeping up with her singers’ interests.
She said: “I can relate to a lot of what they tell me and building that friendship helps them to relax and perform better, which makes it more enjoyable.
“I can teach the kids about what can go wrong in a performance and how to deal with it and control it.”
She welcomes the opportunities given to young people by TV shows such as The Voice, but warned that success requires dedication and practice, as well as raw talent.
“Becoming a star is a natural gift but you have to nurture your voice and work on techniques. You also have to know the style you are best suited to,” she said.
Mrs Sheehy runs lessons every Friday at Theydon Bois village Hall in Coppice Row and from her home, where she has the latest professional standard recording equipment.
Comments are closed on this article.