Christer Aannestad

Christer Aannestad

Profession: Coordinator and producer at Musikalfabrikken and freelance performer and teacher
Education: 3-year Timani Certification Course, Musicians' Health and Movement Institute Oslo, (2019- 2022). 3-year Singer/Teacher Diploma Course, Complete Vocal Institute, Cophenhagen (2013 – 2016). Master Thesis in Arts Education. Post graduate teacher training, NTNU (2008-2009). The bachelor's programme in Music Performance Studies, NTNU (2006 - 2009)

There is a solution for everything

Follow your heart, don’t give up. Do the things you know are necessary to achieve your goals. These are ingredients in singer and educator, Christer T. Aannestad's recipe for success. He works as a coordinator and producer at Musikalfabrikken, a musical theatre school in Trondheim. 

A man sitting by the piano, giving singing instructions to a female singer

Luckily, he survived with both his voice and life intact when he realised that he was not going to be a Pavarotti anyway. 

- Now I have a toolbox that allows me to help singers in all genres. It is genuinely fun to help people develop their voice’s potential, says Aannestad.

Learned to think independently

Aannestad also works freelance as a performer and educator, and sometimes he can be found on stage. For example, in the autumn of 2019 when he was seen as the eccentric bachelor Mr Warbucks in the musical Annie at Olavshallen.

- What was the most important knowledge you brought with you from NTNU?

I learned to be more independent and to make my own choices and decisions at NTNU

- There is a lot, Aannestad answers, he takes some time to think before he answers:
- I learned to be more independent and to make my own choices and decisions. In high school, we reproduce the knowledge we are told to acquire, we do not earn to make it our own. On the other hand, we are forced to do so at the university.

Eventually he was almost surprised at how much pleasure he found in studying theory. New insight came to him as he understood the practical implications of the theoretical studies. 

Felt pressure at the conservatory

He describes his student days as a journey of the slightly bumpy kind.

- Music studies require responsibility for your own learning. When I studied classical singing, my body probably did not understand how to apply the knowledge. It became difficult to find motivation to proceed the direction I thought I would go.

Aannestad felt the kind of pressure that many in performing arts do. There are many talents performing at a high level, who all want to find fame and fortune and there is a lot of competition.

- Everything depends on one's own performance. Maybe you believe that those in the rehearsal room next door have had a great day. Maybe they put on a triumphant smile, as you do on Facebook, when they come out of the rehearsal room. But it is not certain that they have had a great rehearsal for that reason.

Even though there was a lot of pressure, there was also a very good environment among the students.

Went to Copenhagen

When he found out he was not and would not be a Pavarotti, he had to make other plans.

- I had two options, lie down, and give up completely or find out what tools I needed to get on, Aannestad chuckles. I chose the latter. To become the teacher and performer he wanted to be, he had to acquire more knowledge.

Helping people in all music genres to get a better voice was something Aannestad learned when he became certified in complete singing technique at the Complete Vocal Institute in Copenhagen and in Timani, at the Department of Musician Health and Movement in Oslo.

At the same time as he has been teaching others, he has also been a performer.

- The most exciting project I have worked on was when I was assigned a small role in Jesus Christ Superstar at Trøndelag Theater in 2021. I got the role at the same time as I was working as a singing teacher on the production. 

He discovered that even actors with a long career in the industry can feel anxious head of a performance. Which made him realise that we are all human, after all, regardless of profession.

The value of theatre and music 

Musikalfabrikken has 500 members, both children and adults. All groups show their work at Samfundet (the Student Society in Trondheim) or in Olavshallen.

- What is the most rewarding thing about your job today?

- To be able to create something for children and young people, to see how they progress and are shaped as individuals. Working with music and theatre has its own value, it helps you to become a more confident person.

He finds it fascinating to see how well they take care of each other.

It is precisely the obstacles you encounter in life that make you grow, is Aannestad’s experience. He calls it growing pains in adulthood. It’s intense while you’re going through it, but you come out stronger on the other side.

- It is easy to think that you should be strong and independent and stand alone in the storm until the last second. But it’s ok to be vulnerable and ask for help. Now when I teach, I think that the slightly bumpy road I have had is a resource for understanding how others feel. 

Advice: -Do not shut emotions and thoughts inside yourself

And finally, does Aannestad have any advice for today’s students? 

- There are great demands to perform. Set aside time in the calendar to expand your horizons. You should also be a human being, not just become good at maths, medicine or aesthetic subjects for that matter.

- If you feel that things are a little overwhelming and difficult, ask for help. Do not keep things bottled up inside you, it takes things from painful to even worse. When you are brave and you dare to express how you feel, you are an inspirator to others. And remember - most things have a solution.

8 a bit on the side

- What was your dream job when you were 10 years old? 
I wanted to be famous

- Your biggest mistake as a student? 
Taking a travel sickness tablet to calm my nerves before an exam in music history. I got so tired that I had trouble staying awake.

- What talent would you like to have?
More handy and good at fixing things in the house

Which 3 qualities do you value most in others?
Honesty, vulnerability, and humour

This makes me happy
Music and to just not have any plans for a period, to just float for a while, for instance with a umbrella cocktail on Gran Canaria.

I'm afraid of

Favourite travel destination
Gran Canaria (in Norwegian “Granka”)

One or more legendary book tips
I'm so fond of movies that I forget to read books. The last "book" I read must have been "Se og Hør", says Aannestad - with a twinkle in his eye. (Se og Hør is a Norwegian gossip magazine)

Text: Lisbet Jære, freelance journalist