Making It – Olivia Doust

Olivia is a voice practitioner based in London and works as a musical director, singing teacher, conductor, orchestrator and community facilitator. She trained at the world renowned Royal Central School of Speech and Drama on its MFA Voice Studies: Teaching and Coaching programme and was awarded the acclaimed Cicely Berry Scholarship. She now works on theatre productions, in drama institutions and in her community.


Read all about Olivia’s exciting career below and find out how she made it.


How did you discover you enjoyed singing?


I actually started singing quite late, I didn’t sing in secondary school, I only sung right at the end in my final A-levels. I decided “I really like singing but I haven’t ever really sung in front of people” so I tried to do it for my A-level for music and then in the last few months of doing my A-levels I realised – “hang on a minute I really enjoy this!” so I decided to do a music degree and I was fortunate enough that I was able to do that. I did my music degree at the University of Sheffield and it really opened my eyes to the world of music, composing and musical directing – all of the realms of music and theatre. And that was my first taste of theatre because my university performing arts society was the first step into it.


How did you get to where you are?


So I did some vocal coaching for the Performing Arts Society, realised that I loved theatre, that I loved the rehearsal room, loved the whole process and just got hooked on it really. And then I left uni, did some shows from a musical director orchestrator and vocal coach prospective, did some touring of those shows, did festivals, and realised that whilst I was helping others with their singing I didn’t understand all of it and I didn’t really understand my own voice. At the time I was just kind of singing and hoping for the best so I decided to invest in educating myself and actually questioning my knowledge – what I understood, whether that was right and I did some voice training. I did some courses, some workshops and then I found the course at Royal Central which was voice teaching and coaching. I read the syllabus and thought actually this is what I want to do.
I like performing and I love singing but I want to be a teacher and Royal Central taught me how to be a teacher, how to do voice in a classroom, how to work with the spoken voice, how to work with the voice as a whole and Central really helped me to gain that extra teaching confidence that I was lacking. Since doing that training I’ve taught in lots of different drama schools, taught lots of different people from lots of different age groups and that’s really just kept that passion for teaching going. Teaching is really what I enjoy.


How can I learn the skills I need to get into singing?


The university path is the one that I took but it’s not the only one out there. There are loads of different paths, there are individual courses, short courses, long courses. You can jump straight into the industry doing apprenticeships or doing placements where you can learn different skills that you would learn on a degree, but you learn the industry in a different way.
So I would say do your research, figure out which one you want to do, which one is for you and really, really look at the opportunities that are out there. So scholarships, apprenticeships, placements, things that are going to help you along the way, but you need to know about them, you need to understand them. So find out which path is for you through that research. Really delve into it, talk to other people in the industry, people that are like you, people that are not like you, talk to everyone – research everyone to get a real wide look at the industry and what you want to take from it.


What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into singing as a career?


I think you have to delve into who you are as a person, as an artist and find what makes you you. Grab that thing, run with it, work on that thing, work on you, practice at it, keep going at it, figure out, discover new things, keep going at that thing and really find what you want to represent as an artist and just go hell for leather. Ask around, do that gig do this and that, ask that person if you can do that, jump in for that opportunity. Never say “No I probably won’t get that so I won’t go for it” just jump in with both feet and go for it because if you don’t whole heartedly go for it and you think “Oh I’ll give it sort of a go” you’ll never know what would’ve happened if you’d absolutely gone for it.

Learn to sing with Olivia


Olivia has collaborated with iampro on a two-part Singing course which takes students through the fundamentals of Voice training. In Part 1, Olivia gives lots of practical tips and exercises to strengthen and build singing skills, covering breaking down riffs, the basics of vocal function and acting through song to name a few.
In Part 2, Olivia continues to give you lots of practical tips and exercises to strengthen and build your singing skills. She works further on shifting style and extends the riff practice. Develop your falsetto and learn how to harmonise!

Learn to sing with Olivia
Olivia has collaborated with iampro on a two-part Singing course which takes students through the fundamentals of Voice training. In Part 1, Olivia gives lots of practical tips and exercises to strengthen and build singing skills, covering breaking down riffs, the basics of vocal function and acting through song to name a few.

In Part 2, Olivia continues to give you lots of practical tips and exercises to strengthen and build your singing skills. She works further on shifting style and extends the riff practice. Develop your falsetto and learn how to harmonise!

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https://www.oliviadoust.com

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