Like any part of the body, the human voice can be trained.
It’s something not a lot of people realize, but something Lacombe voice instructor Melrose Randell has been doing for most of her life. Randell said she never expected she would have her own private music studio, but today instructing music is something she enjoys immensely.
“I enjoy so much about teaching. I enjoy, I think, every aspect of it.”
For Randell, music was always more of a hobby than a profession. Although she is now semi-retired, teaching music is something she continues to do as it gives her pleasure.
“I just feel like I’m doing something very meaningful when I teach singing and it gives me a lot of joy at this point in my life.”
Born in Jamaica, Randell grew up in a culture deeply immersed in music. As such, Randell started singing from a very young age.
“In Jamaica, music is very important.”
While Randell enjoyed singing, she never imagined that she would grow up to become a voice teacher. She had no visions of pursuing any kind of career in music, but sang simply because it was what people did.
As an adult, Randell studied music in addition to pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English, but only as a hobby. Instead of music, she decided on a career in education.
While music was only a hobby to her, Randell did enjoy singing and wanted to take it as far as she could. Therefore she took voice exams as part of her study and continued to advance her abilities.
After awhile, Randell found that she had taken her voice lessons as far as she could. So, she worked towards a diploma in music and took an exam to become a specialist in training the voice.
At that time, she was already teaching English at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
And as music was only a hobby, Randell never taught voice until she came to Canada and began teaching in Rocky Mountain House in 1976.
In 1980, she was living in Lacombe and teaching at what was then Camille J. Lerouge Catholic High School in Red Deer.
At that time, the school had no music choir or music program.
That discovery was a bit of a culture shock to Randell. Being from Jamaica, she had difficulty understanding how the school could have no music and she decided to remedy it, starting a choral program at the school in 1980.
Through her work with the choir, Randell gained a few voice students who would stay after school for extra help with their training. She said it was what really got her started as a music instructor.
When she retired from teaching in school in 1997, Randell looked for something to occupy herself with. She came up with the idea of having a more permanent studio and teaching music.
So, she set up a studio and started teaching. She taught in both Red Deer and Lacombe up until last year and now teaches solely in Lacombe.
As Randell still wants to enjoy her retirement, she only teaches three days a week, from Tuesday through Thursday.
However, she has many students and has very full days on the ones she does teach music.