The musical mother who wants to give children confidence through singing and drama

Katie Hainbach says that these skills have proved vital in speaking out for her daughter


Katie Hainbach, her husband, daughter Leia and sons Robin and Dylan

Katie Hainbach credits performing arts lessons as a child as the “most important” thing she ever did and is now starting a music school to enable others to benefit in the same way.

Singing and drama were a huge part of Hainbach’s upbringing in Ireland, enabling her to make friends, gain self-belief, social skills and confidence, as well as the ability to speak in public.

She went on to read classical singing at Leeds College of Music before moving to London to take a masters in vocal performance at the Guildhall School of Music and working as an opera singer and teacher and the head of music at North Western Reform Synagogue.

Hainbach, 36, is now opening a branch of Little Voices singing and drama school in Mill Hill on 16 April, offering after-school lessons and holiday camps for children aged four to 18. 

The mother-of-three chose the Little Voices company because its ethos is that performing arts helps children with skills that can transfer into other areas of their life as they grow up and into adulthood, such as confidence and social skills.

“Performing really taught me to be resilient,” says Hainbach, who lives in High Barnet with her husband Tom Morss, a teacher of English as a foreign language and an opera singer, Leia and her younger brothers, Robin, two, and Dylan, six months. “It taught me how to speak out and to manage my anxiety when things are difficult. It improved my language and speaking skills and taught me how to socialise.”

Most of all, it has helped Hainbach in motherhood, particularly in advocating for her daughter Leia, who in 2019 was diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial disease, which affects her brain, heart, hearing, vision, digestive system and kidneys.

Since Leia, now four, was born, Hainbach says the skills she gained through performing arts lessons as a child have helped her immensely, giving her confidence in speaking up for her daughter and also herself when applying and fighting for therapies, home adaptations, grants and care hours. Leia now attends school for children with special educational needs. 

“I've had to be her voice in many ways because she's non-verbal,” says Hainbach. “I really had to be confident in speaking to different professionals and knowing about what care she needs, advocating for her when she's not getting what she needs or when I don't think her care has been good enough.”

Singing and drama have also provided Hainbach with a much-needed escape from the challenges of looking after a child with complex needs and helped her keep her own mental health in check. At the same time, she says that the entire family has benefited; they sing together when things are tough, in turn relieving stress.  

“It taught me how to manage my nerves,” she says, recalling the terrifying time that her daughter had to undergo a kidney transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital in July 2022, with her husband donating his own. “They were literally under [general anaesthetic] at the same time in different hospitals having massive surgeries. I did a lot of breathing work with my little boy and we did lots of singing – it really calms the nerves.”

Music has also helped Leia, who is supported by Camp Simcha, through her long stints in hospital, when Hainbach would bring a ukulele and play and sing to her daughter. Leia also loves attending music therapy sessions at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice.

“She loves music, even the vibration of instruments,” says Hainbach. “It really makes her happy. We put her hand on the guitar and the ukulele. Music has been an absolutely massive part of her life and our life.”

Research has shown that singing is mood-boosting, improves diction and breathing and relieves stress, while drama builds communication, team-building, and the ability for self-expression. Hainbach is now looking forward to sharing her skills and knowledge with children in north-west London.

“I found singing and drama as a child really formative and important,” says Hainbach. “I love the Little Voices ethos. Their ethos of each child being the best that they can be and having fun and learning skills through singing and drama really appealed to me. It's not about putting on a big glitzy show. It's about the nurturing care that children get in small groups and them being at the heart of everything that we do.” 

Follow Katie Hainbach’s Little Voices on Instagram at @littlevoicesnorthlondon and

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