Kaija Upenieks


What do you teach at the Con?

ChiME – Prep (Whipbirds) and JaM1 (Lyrebirds). 
I like to introduce children to a variety of genres and styles of music, particularly songs and dances from various cultures.

What is it that you love about teaching music – particularly at Wollongong Conservatorium?

Being raised in a Latvian speaking home and community, we were immersed in singing. Singing, to me, is where the beginning of music education begins. I love working with young children because in my experience children usually love to sing and are often uninhibited to sing.

Please share a particular career highlight and why it’s special to you.

I appreciate the stories of when songs I have shared go out and live on through the families I have worked with. I love that songs can connect people positively in their daily fabric of life and kind of create a life of their own. I have written and recorded some songs and it’s a buzz when it is one of those songs that they come to love!

What’s one piece of music that you’d recommend people listen to?

One piece?….That is difficult to say! I think being open to a wide variety of musical works is important for any aspiring musician.