As part of Team Delta on the 2016 season of The Voice, singer-songwriter Kim Sheehy delivered performances that wowed audiences around Australia.
As a music teacher at Cronulla High School, it’s Sheehy’s job to bring out the star power in her students.
“Being part of The Voice Australia was the most rewarding experience both professionally and personally,” Sheehy says. “With that comes great responsibility; I feel like I need to pay that lesson forward to my students and build their confidence so they can flourish as people and performers in an incredible industry.”
Moving to Sydney shortly after her appearance on The Voice, Sheehy says it didn’t take long for students to figure out their new teacher had been on television. She says she was happy to share insights about the process with her students, and was able to have a laugh when they labelled their books with “Team Delta”.
Sheehy says that being a professional performer makes her a better teacher. By being engaged in the industry, she is able to offer up-to-date practical advice to her students.
She says it’s an industry where curriculum and results only go so far. To really get ahead, industry experience, networking and strong relationships are needed.
Both Sheehy and her teacher colleague Matt Tennikoff believe strongly in encouraging values in the students that will further their progression beyond the HSC and into the industry.
Teaching feeds the creative juices, bringing Sheehy into daily contact with young people who have “incredible outlooks and fresh minds with creativity that I would dream of”.
Sheehy says she learns more from her students than they will ever learn from her. Alongside talented colleagues, the aim is always to make students’ ‘bests’ even better.
The challenges of teaching are few, Sheehy says, while admitting that at times her own creativity must take a back seat so that her students’ growth takes centre stage.
It’s a balancing act to ensure there’s a kind of feedback loop so that she’s feeling fulfilled creatively, in order to use that fuel to inject straight back into her students.
“If a student wants to make it in the industry or go off on their own, I will use all of my networks and resources to get them a start,” she says.
“It’s a really tough industry, so teaching them to not give up if they really want it is one thing, and so is teaching them that kindness and attitude will always trump talent if there was a choice.”
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