In the last of the meet the Founding Members series, we meet Tom Bathgate. Tom serves as our Chief Finanical Officer and Director of Marketing, Conferences and Workshops
Do you only teach voice?
As well as running a busy vocal studio in Edinburgh, I have a few other things I work on. For the last 9 years I have worked for a charity in Edinburgh providing IT support, and working on the communication and marketing side of things. Before I opened my vocal studio, I also ran a web design business and still provide services to a few clients.
What’s your musical background?
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved music and singing. Growing up I remember my Mum playing everything from Michael Jackson to Simon & Garfunkel to classical. I remember we always had music on in the background on a Sunday doing the Sunday cleaning. I started piano lessons at the age of 11 and sang in choirs throughout High School. I love singing and find it very difficult to put any music on and not sing or hum along with it.
At the age of 11 I started Irish Dancing after seeing Riverdance on the Eurovision Song contest. I competed for years and then later joined a performance group where we performed all over the UK and Europe. I’ve performed in front of crowds of 20 people right up to 100,000, as well as appearing on Saturday night primetime TV on BBC 1.
What’s your favourite part of being a voice teacher?
Working with my students in their lessons, I love watching them progress as a singer, growing in confidence and getting to where they want to be. It’s one of the best jobs in the world, I mean, for someone who loves to sing what could be better than spending all your time working with singers? I also love problem solving, getting in there and fixing those difficult voices.
What is your vision for IVA?
To me IVA is an open, transparent and ethical organisation, where everyone involved is all working towards the same common goal, furthering vocal education around the world. No one person is bigger than the organisation and we are all here for the same purpose!
We have such an amazing team here at IVA and with the dedication and passion we are putting into establishing this organisation, I am proud to stand alongside my fellow founding members and look forward to a long future together.
Any words of wisdom for budding singing teachers out there?
Teaching singing is a fun and rewarding job. But be prepared though, it’s not as easy as you may think. The voice is a highly complex instrument that changes on a daily basis. It takes hard work, dedication, constant education, study, research and practice to be a good singing teacher. It’s a never-ending process and whether we have been doing it for six months or 25 years we never stop learning. It is all worth it though, and the time and effort pays off in the studio when working with singers. So take the first step and go for it and most of all take time to enjoy it!