How Singer Turned SAE Teacher Keeley Connolly Is Inspiring The Next Batch Of Musicians

Keeley Connolly

Some of our earliest mentors in life are our teachers, giving us not only guidance and a bunch of tools for personal growth, but also quite literally teaching us things we’ll use throughout our lives.

Accomplished singer Keeley Connolly is new to the world of teaching – she’s just recently joined the audio department at SAE Creative Media Institute, but is also a former student of SAE in Perth, having graduated with a Bachelor Of Audio in 2018.

Going from being a previous student at SAE to teaching there, Keeley says, gives what she does that extra layer of authenticity.

“I’m always very open with my students and talk about how I had no idea what I was doing when I studied at SAE!” Keeley says. “I just try to make them feel less intimidated about the whole process.”

Keeley’s got a string of sold-out solo performances across Perth plus a successful national tour under her belt, so it’s safe to say she’s pretty qualified in her field. She’s inspired by Jeff Buckley and Angus Stone, and explains that through her own experience she’s able to give her students guidance on how to navigate the industry.

“Generally, a lot of people don't really know where to start, and as a result they can get taken advantage of. So it's good to give people that perspective before they go into it.”

Bass guitarist and Indigenous scholarship recipient Josh Trindall is taught by Keeley in his Bachelor Of Audio.

“It’s been great to have someone like Keeley teaching me,” Josh says. “She’s involved in the Perth music scene, so I feel like she understands me and where I want to go in my career.”

“It’s been valuable to have someone with her experience guide me.”

Last year, Keeley transformed a 1968 Leyland railway bus into a studio. It’s here that she offers advice to up-and-coming musos.

“The inspiration came in lockdown when I couldn't get into the studio to work. My family used to live in the same bus when we were kids while my dad built the family home on the property. I was lucky that he was able to help me transform it last year.”

Keeley says checking in on her students is the secret to a great relationship with them.

“One thing I do all the time is to make sure they’re okay. If they haven't been coming to class, I like to get in touch to make sure everything's okay. Having been in that position, I know how it feels starting in trimester one when there are other students that have been producing for a while, or play an instrument to a high level, and you arrive and have this overwhelming feeling of being out of your depth.

“I just reassure my students that they don't need to be anxious that they’ve missed out on some of the learning. Everyone has bumps on their journey, it’s about helping them navigate those set-backs and supporting them along the way.”

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