ALUMNI

** 28/06/21 - This page is currently under construction. More Alumni to be added soon**

In September 2021 I will have been teaching singing for 20 years! I have so many wonderful memories and have realised that people are only aware of recent student successes. Over the years there are so many past students that went on to FE studying the performing arts I felt it was time to share their stories too. 

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SARAH CHEW

I started my singing lessons with Susan when I was in primary school. I had always been interested in singing, doing it around the house and on long car trips. Sue was the perfect teacher for me! I was quite shy but obviously enjoyed doing it. Susan is such a force and her encouragement, excitement and belief in me allowed me to thrive. I tried lots of different styles of singing, entered local competitions and was encouraged to look at all aspects of performance.

 

Sue opened new doors for me and made me believe a career in the arts was achievable. I auditioned and got in to Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. It was clear from the start that Susan had set me up to be fully prepared for this environment. I was already learning some languages, had already sung most of the songs we were covering in the first year and she had provided me with a strong base. 

 

Now, I live in Cardiff, having bought a flat last year and I work in the arts in marketing. I've been a producer on theatre shows, and my knowledge of performance has been vital in my chosen career. When I say 'I get it', it's because i've lived and experienced it too! I still sing in amateur dramatics, which as an adult has been so important for me. Being around people who are in to the same things as you as so important and as an adult, finding those groups and those people still is vital.

 

Sue is always a friendly ear and truly understands where people can grow. One of my favourite memories with Sue was when Wicked first opened on the West End, and Indina Menzel was playing the lead for a short time. By chance, we had both booked the same night to see it in London. I was going with my parents and it was my first West End show. Needless to say, we met each other at the interval and at the end, all talking about how amazing it was, all the different things that we didn't know about from just the soundtrack. A year later, Sue arranged a trip with her students and we all went to see it again!

 

Not everyone will become the next West End star, but what singing provides you with are excellent communication skills, a connection to your emotions and a place to learn and understand about things beyond yourself. These are skills for life. Music is a powerful tool to influence and change lives. In the words of Elphaba and Glinda 'because I knew you, I have been changed for good.' I would not be doing what I do now without Sue being such an important influence on my life, opening windows I didn't know where there and believing that I could soar. We all need a Sue!

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SINEAD MCLAUGHLIN

Sue has been a part of my life since I can remember.

I was 10 years old when I had my first singing lesson back when sue had just finished university.

Still to this day I remember going in and full belt (screaming) blasted out how will I live by Leanne Rhymes- I’m surprised I didn’t put sue off teaching altogether!

The techniques and control I learned from sue are going to be embedded within me forever.

Not only did I gain a passion, confidence, and talent from sues lessons but also a friend. My parents also still adore Sue for what she has done for me. Growing up I was in awe of Sue and her voice, her contagious laugh, and girly chats were just an extra bonus to all of our lessons.

Being one of Sue's students also gave me unbelievable experiences the most precious one being part of the Arden youth choir which holds such a special time in my life.

After I left school I went on to College to study performing arts which lead to my degree in music theatre. I have taught singing since my degree and LAMDA exams for children aged 4-16 a lot of my teaching techniques were all that I gained from Sue especially my need for perfection.

 

I’m currently on extended maternity leave at the moment due to losing my full-time job as an operational buyer but I’m hoping to get back into the world of creativeness and finding the love and passion I once had for such a wonderful profession.

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JENNIE MARSDEN

It all started with Sue introducing me to the world of classical music aged 15. Initially, I wasn’t keen but soon loved the challenge and found myself immersed in Italian and German song.

Fast forward ten years and I had graduated from The Royal College of Music in London with a BMus (Hons) Voice, sung with The Sixteen, The London Symphony Orchestra, travelled to sing in Norway, Spain and Italy, sung at the BBC Proms, Songs of Praise and for BBC Radio 3.

It’s been a fantastic journey and although I now work in PR, music is still a huge part of my life and I have Sue to thank for starting it all.

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ELLIE HUMBERSTONE

I started singing lessons with Sue alongside my two sisters as a very nervous and shy singer at the age of thirteen. After building my confidence through singing lessons, taking Singing examinations up to Grade 8 and taking Music as both GCSE and A Level, I knew a career in Music was something that I aspired to. I studied for a Bachelor of Arts in Music at the University of Leeds and was lucky enough to spend a year of my university career studying at Northern Arizona University in the United States. While at university, I taught both Singing and Piano lessons and also worked for Basics Junior Theatre school as a vocal coach. Straight after coming out of University, I decided to start my career as a Secondary School Music Teacher. This is a job that I am incredibly passionate about and still ask Sue for guidance on so many elements of my practice.

 

My favourite memory of my time as part of Sue’s ‘Arden Angels’ was performing at the O2 Arena in London as part of the World Skills Event, something that I would never have been able to do had I not been given this incredible opportunity by Sue. Alongside this, I will always remember being part of such a strong and empowering group of girls and thoroughly enjoying every minute of each rehearsal and performance. Thank you Sue for everything you have taught me and done for me, I would not be where I am today without her guidance and support.

NAOMI KEIGHLEY

I sang with Susan from the age of 9 to improve my singing alongside being a dancer. She helped me so much not only with voice but with my overall confidence on and off stage. I went on to graduate from Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance and then danced professionally. I am now Head of RAD Ballet for a performing arts school in Dubai - soon to start teaching a little musical theatre (that singing will come in handy!) I remember so clearly the energy and passion Susan gives all her students and I have taken a lot of my experiences with her along into my own teaching! Thank you Susan!

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CHARLOTTE WATERS

I first met Susan as a year 6 student, when she began conducting our primary school choir. This was the first time I had ever sung in a choir before, and I loved every minute of it. After becoming a student of Susan’s not long after, I knew this was something I wanted to do for a long time. Studying with Susan for 5 years taught me so much about music, performing and hard work which I still draw from every time I sing. I started learning music theory, I sang in other languages for the first time, and I was given the chance to perform in local festivals and competitions; I can still remember the first time I ever sung for a real audience! Without Sue’s patience, knowledge, and encouragement, I might not have set off down the musical path that led me to where I am today.

In 2020 I graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) with a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance; during my 4 years at the RCS I sung in over 8 languages, spent a semester studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and was a member of the opera chorus in the inaugural New Generation Festival in Florence. Having completed my studies, I am still living and working in Glasgow as a part-time freelancer; scheduling concerts, preparing for auditions, and helping to organise a local arts festival. I plan to continue my studies in Germany next year by studying a Master’s of Opera. This would not have been possible without the opportunities and guidance that I had from Susan over the years – she gave me the confidence to perform, a strong foundation of music theory knowledge and even got me into my first ever opera with Pendle Operatic Society when I was 11 years old.

 

Facebook: @CharlotteWatersMusic

YouTube: Charlotte Waters Music

SoundCloud: Charlotte Waters

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BETHAN RIGBY

I started working with Sue at the age of 11. She taught me for a number of years and I was one of the first singers of the Arden Youth Choir. Some of my highlights included singing on Radio Lancashire and appearing on Britain’s Got Talent! I stayed with Sue and the choir until I went to study Performing Arts at East 15 Drama School in London.

 

I carried on studying music and singing at drama school, but I was unaware at the time that my voice was deteriorating – I didn’t look after my voice at all (had too much of a good time!) I then had a number of jobs, where my voice got battered daily and I would lose my voice regularly. I was referred to a speech therapist and had to do a lot of work. I worked hard on my voice over the years, and combined with covid and being off work for a year, my singing voice is pretty much back to how it was. Its been really nice to be able to sing classically again after 20 years.