Teacher Feature - Michelle O'Rourke

FAM's Head of Vocal Studies, Michelle O'Rourke, is a distinguished performer, artistic collaborator and an educator in high demand. Last month, Michelle performed in a theatrical dance piece called ENDLINGS by Rob Heaslip, an Irish choreographer based in Scotland.

An endling is an individual that is the last of its species. Once the endling dies, the species becomes extinct. In the show, ENDLING uses dance, vocals, music and design to reimagine tales of funerary and mourning rituals of Scottish and Irish Gaels, their chants, songs and customs; many on their own deathbeds and disappearing with each passing generation.

In this project, Michelle has been exploring Gaelic song and culture through sound and movement as part of a team of fantastic singers and dancers based in Ireland and Scotland.

Michelle is involved in several wonderful projects and brings this wealth of experience to her education work.

I think that staying strongly rooted in performance work as a singer is crucial to being an engaged teacher for me. I remember each time I engage with a new project how it feels to start at the beginning. When I re-engage in ongoing projects, I remember what it feels like to continue work, and when I perform solo or in ensemble I get such a great feeling of vitality in performance!

Michelle has worked with the Fingal Choral programme and will present at the upcoming VOICE Conference in January 2020. This conference series from the Irish Institute of Music and Song focuses on sharing the newest vocal pedagogy and choral techniques amongst a community of innovative and energetic music educators.

In each singing lesson, I allow my own experiences to help me better understand students abilities, goals and experiences. When we sing, we basically want to connect to ourselves and other humans in an emotional way! By taking regular joy in this act of performance myself, I think I stand at greater chance at facilitating students desires to learn, express themselves, to sing and to perform.

We couldn't agree more, Michelle!

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