Musical company

Inge Cootjans, experience manager at aged care company Mable, explains why nothing lifts your spirits like a good old-fashioned carol

Awkward moments on stage?
Not yet. If you asked my eldest daughter, Lou, who is 15, she would say that every moment I’m on stage is embarrassing. But according to my husband, the story she tells her friends is the opposite: she is secretly proud.

Can you tell someone is a singer before they tell you?
Sometimes when referring to song titles or using certain lyrics in regular conversation. Anyone can be a singer; no stereotypes apply.

Cootjans at his day job. “I would love to play at our next Christmas party with the band Mable. It’s amazing how many musicians we have in the company.

Any advice for people wanting to improve their singing?
Join a choir or band or find a music school and take lessons. It’s so much fun, don’t put it off. Otherwise, just start singing and record yourself, listen and repeat until you drop.

Do you play an instrument?
My parents wanted us all to play an instrument growing up, and I played the flute. To be honest, I wish I had chosen the guitar.

Who (alive or dead) would you most like to play with?
Kate Miller-Heidke. She uses her voice as an instrument; I would love to learn some of these tricks.

Who would you like to sing for?
I would love to play at our next Christmas party with the band Mable. It’s amazing how many musicians we have in the industry. Some keep their talents hidden, and others bring them out if there’s a karaoke machine around.

Common singing misconceptions you would like to correct?
This chant should sound a certain way and be perfect. Imperfection and authenticity are actually what create a connection and make it memorable.

Weirdest place you’ve played?
A household goods mall in Artarmon. It was around Christmas, and we were at the bottom of an escalator with people stressed about last-minute Christmas shopping. I don’t know how much they liked our songs. We had fun, though, and certainly made some people slow down and catch their breath.

Singing injuries?
About five years ago I had to have half of my left lung removed. I had to change my breathing, but that didn’t stop me from singing a few tunes shortly after recovering. Looking back, singing should have made me realize something was wrong. I just thought I had a sore throat.

Something about the vocals you don’t like?
Not really, although it took me a while to get over my insecurities and nerves and play with confidence. I once declined an offer to join a band because I was too shy – a long time ago. Singing has actually helped me become more confident in other aspects of my life.

Do you enjoy singing the most?
I love how music brings people together. It lifts your spirits, recalls old memories and creates new ones. Watching the audience have a good time is simply the best. And a band is like a team: we work together, explore each other’s ideas and deal with each other’s frustrations in good times and in bad times.

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