Two former students talk about their time at the IOA and its effects on their career. Tenor Denzil Delaere (30) certainly sounds convinced of its value:
I was made ready, in a safe environment, for a life as a singer, and I attach a great deal of importance to that. I first studied at the Conservatoire in Ghent. While there, I had to take account of so many other subjects that I was never able to concentrate fully on my voice. Investing in my ‘instrument’ was not a priority there. The IOA obliged me to be engaged in my own craft every day. It does not have a permanent vocal coach, only a vocal advisor. This enabled me to have lessons from a number of singing teachers of my choice. But I also developed my voice myself by looking for a study method that suited me. In that regard, the IOA was a great help and the perfect safety net. There is a clear focus on developing yourself as a performer, and standards are very high. You have to prove yourself every day. You have to be there. It taught me to be tough, and to develop my character. Which is exactly what I need in my professional life. That’s why the IOA is the ideal in-between stage after Conservatoire and before being thrown into the lions’ den. It makes you aware of the life of a singer without burning your fingers.