Originally from Blenheim, I started learning piano when I was nine.
- I learnt from Dorothy Payne who also taught my Mum.
- I studied piano to Grade 8 under Rewa Crawley (FTCL, QSM).
- Rewa was an amazing teacher and mentor, expanding my musicianship and music education during my teenage years. She encouraged me to learn other instruments (violin and bassoon) and tutored me in accompanying singing and instrumentalists.
I played piano duets, piano trios, turned pages for professional touring pianists, performed at competitions and sat Trinity College of Music theory and practical exams.
At secondary school, I became the orchestra leader (1st violin 1st Chair), sang soprano 2 in the auditioned choir La Chorodia, put together choral arrangements/medleys, participated in chamber music groups, and sat recorder ensemble exams with Trinity College of Music.
I also began teaching Piano privately and Recorder to groups of primary school aged children for the Marlborough School of Music Instrumental Classes.
In my final year of College, I was awarded a number of music prizes and trophies.
I completed a Bachelor of Music (Mus.B) at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch New Zealand in 1989, majoring in Music History and Analysis with 2 years Composition.
While in Christchurch, I sang Soprano 2 with the Celebration Singers (an auditioned choir).
I took up violin lessons again with Marios Sophocleous (FTCL), and returned to live in Blenheim working in radio as a copy writer and then in print media.
I was offered a fill-in role with the Blenheim Choral Society as one of their accompanists. At the same time I also taught piano and set up a children’s choir at Nativity’s Anglican Church shortly before moving to Wellington in 1994.
After moving to Wellington for my advertising career, I joined amateur orchestras playing 2nd violin for
Tawa Orchestra and The Hutt Valley Orchestra. I taught piano in a small way.
In 2010, I answered an ad in The Upper Hutt Leader and I began working with Joanne Roelofs, Musical Director of The Hutt Valley Singers as their primary rehearsal pianist/accompanist who I accompanied for almost 8 years.
In 2012, with my friend Joanne we formed The Major Minors Children’s Choir. This choir has now grown another vocal group, The Harmonic Minors- which is auditioned. I also accompany both choirs and help manage them and design publicity for them.
Working with choirs has enabled me to get back to assisting with rehearsals from the keys and accompanying and thanks to Joanne, the opportunity to arrange again. Sometimes I get to play violin, or lead warm-ups or a choir rehearsal too.
With the choir growth, I am concentrating on playing for the Major Minors and Harmonic Minors at the moment. I sometimes sing Soprano in the Hutt Valley Singers when I can and play for them (just not as their regular pianist).
Recent choral arrangements have been performed in New Zealand, by The Hutt Valley Singers and the Harmonic Minors and the Gore & Districts Senior Citizens Choir. Some have been performed in Canada by The Embro Thistle Singers. In November 2017 one of my arrangements was performed by The Major Minors Children’s Choir with Arohanui Strings.
Ongoing Professional Development
I am a Provisional Member of the IRMTNZ (Institute of Registered Music Teachers NZ).
I regularly attend piano teaching mentoring and development sessions in person and online by international piano teaching experts.
My husband Craig Olander is a wonderful supporter of my music and the time it takes to create and manage.