After a study in Social Work (CICSA, Amsterdam) Gerda van Zelm decided to become a professional singer. She studied voice in Alkmaar and Utrecht. After completion of her voice studies she was a singer in the Dutch Radio Choir and the vocal ensemble Femmes Vocales. As a soloist she performed in Art Song, Oratorio and Opera performances. Since 2008 she is involved as a vocal coach in a yearly opera community project in France (Opéra Mosset).
Gerda van Zelm has always had an interest in teaching and vocal pedagogy. She was a voice teacher at the Conservatoire of Arnhem form 1990 to 1995. In 1992 Gerda van Zelm became a voice teacher and teacher of methodology of singing at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, and currently she is also research coach for a number of master students. From 2004 to 2014 she was the head of the voice department at the same institution.