MANY STRINGS: Kim Kirkman juggles life as a music teacher with sound therapy and four choirs.
MANY STRINGS: Kim Kirkman juggles life as a music teacher with sound therapy and four choirs. Contributed

Humans of the Coast: Music sets the tune for Kim’s life

KIM Kirkman could never have known where music would take him when he was a teenager with fingers fumbling over viola strings.

He realised music was his destiny after he gave up playing for six months at about 15.

"I started again and I thought I had to do music as a part of my life - it's not going to work otherwise."

Kim went on to study a Bachelor of Music as a violist and then did postgraduate study in Brisbane focusing on his singing.

In the 1990s, he was one of a group of men assembled to entertain at Channel 10 birthday celebrations and so the Ten Tenors were born.

The outfit was pretty loose in its early days - "We would take anyone who could sing. Sometimes even anyone in a suit" - but was turning over $1million a year by the time Kim left six years later in the name of love.

"I met an Argentinean, we were married in Thailand and divorced in London, all in under two years," he said.

Love - or the chance of it - called him back to Australia when he was offered the chance to work in a show with a girl he knew.

Things fell into place when he was offered a full-time job and a conducting gig on his first day.

Eight years later, he and Beth Allen - that girl - decided to move to Crystal Waters, near Maleny, and were able to sell their home in Mackay in less than a fortnight, which was again proof to Kim that "things are meant to be".

A few years ago, Kim picked up a harp that had been gathering dust on the piano at home and decided to learn to play it.

His life is now a mad mixture of teaching lessons, music therapy, performing and shepherding four choir groups, including the Caloundra Chorale and Theatre Company, of which he is the new conductor.

This year, he has done 22 weddings, four eisteddfod adjudications, 16 sound baths, 653 lessons, 138 choir rehearsals, and recorded on eight CDs.

He also runs Lift, a gallery, cafe and concert venue at Maleny, and tries to spend time with Beth and their daughter, Ellenie Faith, 8.

"Life's too short to be sitting around," he said of it all.

He gets around to it all through efficiency, hard work and taking the path of "non-resistance".

If there is a piece of work he cannot do, something that cannot be written, he moves on to the next.

"When the time is right, it will fall out," he said.

Kim describes his real talent as determination.

"That helps a lot to have that will to keep going and that resilience when things go wrong to pick ourself up and do it again."

On his varied music career, Kim said he never had any preconceived ideas.

"I just take what comes and keep going with it."