Project Stories

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PCH Songs of Joy Performance 18 Dec 2018
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St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospitals

 

Since January 2019, I have been engaged in delivering weekly singing sessions for patients living with Parkinson's Disease and in a ward for older people with mental health conditions. This has involved some song-writing. The Parkinson's Group has been at the centre of a research project and paper (shortly to be published), looking at the benefits of singing on group and individual well-being and vocal production. 

 
Child and Adolescent Health Service
(Princess Margaret Hospital / Perth Children's Hospital)

During 2018, I was engaged as in a part-time capacity as an Artist-in-Residence at Princess Margaret Hospital and Perth Children's Hospital. There was a varied scope to my activity there, which included facilitating a lunchtime singing group for staff and volunteers, creative workshops and composition/recording projects for 'Fun on 4' and on-ward (including the mental health ward), ward visits and general roaming activities in the outpatient waiting areas. This was a huge lesson in reflexivity and flexibility, as the patient cohort continually changes, particularly in outpatient waiting areas. Some outputs included two original songs created on the mental health ward over a series of weeks and patient cohorts. 

Menagerie Choir

Between March 2015-2017, I had the great privilege of being 'Zookeeper' to an exotic and eclectic bunch of souls called 'Menagerie'. Menagerie Indie Pop Choir is a 100-strong group of singers of all shapes and abilities, connected by their love of song - particularly indie rock and alternative music. Started in 2013 by Claire Coleman, the choir has gone from strength to strength. I am so thrilled to have been artistic director, facilitator and manager for two sold out Fringe World shows - 'Sounds Like Teen Spirit' (2016), 'MENAGERIE SINGS CINEMA' (2017), headliner gigs at The Rosemount and Badlands, plus numerous appearances on festival stages. Although I have had to sadly relinquish duties as Zookeeper due to the home zoo expansion, Menagerie lives on in the capable hands of Sally Banyard. For info on shows, like the Menagerie Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/menageriechoir/

AWESOME International Festival for Bright Young Things

 

I am so stoked to have been able to present programmes for this absolutely amazing festival for children and young people for the past two years.

In 2016, I curated and facilitated a 45min experience for children aged 0-5yr and their families as part of Creative Bubs. Together we went on a river adventure, complete with a variety of sensory play activities (some of them VERY messy!) and a short music session.

In 2017, I re-presented Jump, Jam, Jiggle! in association with WASO.

In 2018, I again curated a Creative Bubs experience. This time it was all based around the farm, with tractors in ooblek, pecking paper-plate chickens in straw and chicken feed, mask making, Snuggly Snerd decorating, with a group musical finale.

West Australian Symphony Orchestra, HOP and Jump, Jam, Jiggle!

 

Since 2014, I have had the great pleasure of working annually with two groups of children, young people, parents and staff at Princess Margaret Hospital on WASO's Hospital Orchestra Project (HOP). Each sessions has included the opportunity for participants to develop their arranging, composition and ensemble skills alongside two WASO musicians, through playing instruments, creating text and lyrics, singing and vocal effects. Each year has explored a different theme and drawn on the imagination of participants - 'Postcards from Perth', 'Ocean Dreaming' and 'A Hero's Tale'.

Additionally, I relished the opportunity to work with an ensemble of nine WASO musicians on Jump, Jam, Jiggle! - a new series for WASO. using an arrangement I created from Gustav Holst's 'The Planets', the interactive 50-min concert event drew on participants' creativity as we journeyed together through space to find a new home planet. Participants were able to explore junk percussion (a.k.a 'space junk'), their bodies (as moving parts of our spaceship and space walking) and singing (with newly created fill-in-the-gap lyrics to 'I Vow to Thee, My Country' about how we would treat our new planet).

This interactive concert event was presented as part of Education Week 2016 and AWESOME International Festival for Bright Young Things (2017).

AWESOME Arts, Creative Challenge 2016, 'SEED': Creating original music, sculpture and tableaux

In May 2016, I worked with sculptor Belinda Mettam in Rockingham over one week as part of the 'Go for 2&5' Creative Challenge 2016 programme, 'SEED'. 

 

Throughout the residency, three groups of students between Yr3-6 at Burringah Primary School were encouraged to think about 'thought seeds', reflecting on how we can choose to let positive 'thought seeds' grow or negative weeds take root. Together, students furbished and decorated a large tree sculpture, wrote an instrumental piece and created a series of tableaux photographs to act as a video clip for a newly created song.

 

Here are some of the very special lyrics created:

Sad, stressed, angry depressed: this was how I felt

They clawed me from the inside - those words that you dealt

My muscles tensed, my heart it raced, I wanted to explode

Calm down, cool off, chill out; let go of this heavy load.

I won't accept this weed, I'm as strong as a great oak tree,

My bark will help protect me, so just leave me be

My roots will grow deep below, I'll withstand your mighty shower

Your storm will give me power, I'm going to flower

St Vincent's Aged Care: Interactive music sessions for older people 

In three innovative and interactive pilot music projects during Autumn 2014, Summer 2014 and Autumn 2016, I had the pleasure of working alongside Eduardo Cossio, Claire Coleman and Mia Brine engaging with residents living at St Vincent's Aged Care in Guildford, WA (Catholic Homes). This included group music making as well as interactive performances in resident's rooms, and engaging people living with dementia and individuals who had experienced strokes, alongside mental health conditions. Over 27 x 3 hour sessions, we utilised music improvisation as a tool to actively involve residents in the making and creating of music. 

 

Improvisation approaches included:

  • genre-based improvisations (using the idiomatic qualities genres e.g. country music, blues and folk),

  • thematic improvisations where textural, melodic, rhythmic and text-based motives are repeated and developed, and 

  • repertoire or song-based improvisations where popular and traditional music or songs are used as springboards for group and individual improvisations

 

Cues for improvisation were drawn from resident preferences and verbal and non-verbal communication. Through this spontaneous and flexible process of music-making, resident's contributions were validated and incorporated, wiht the aim of creating something that is personal, engaging, connective and participatory with each resident.

State Library of Western Australia: 'Sing With Me!' audio resource

In March 2014, work began in earnest on this commission from Better Beginnings, State Library of Western Australia. The resource is now under initial distribution to families with 2-3 year olds living in Western Australia and aims to develop family literacy.

 

I had the immense pleasure of reconnecting with Josh Hogan who was my chief collaborator on this project; we studied together at the University of Western Australia and he has gone on to become a fantastic producer and performer of great integrity and skill.

 

Together we produced thirteen tracks, twelve of which were arrangements of existing nursery rhymes and one original track in collaboration with Abmusic. We have tried to make the tracks accessible and appealing to a variety of cultures through a rich diversity of musical language.

See here for more info on the pack and where you can pick one up:

http://www.better-beginnings.com.au/swm

In 2016, Josh and I worked on an additional audio resource specifically around the book 'Baby Ways'. This resource will be targeted to families with young babies experiencing visual impairment, and will be released in 2017 with a special tactile accompanying pack and braille version of the book.

AiR Commission:
Professional Development for trainee teachers

The Air Commission 2014-2016 was a partnership between the Department of Culture and the Arts and Department of Education in association with the Australia Council for the Arts. A team of 6 teaching artists spanning five art forms (dance, drama, media, music and visual arts) will be working with students who are seeking qualifications as general primary education specialists.

 

The aim is to equip them with the skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence to deliver the new ACARA arts curriculum in the classroom. Our brief as teaching artists in this context is to prepare a series of arts challenges (independent assignments) and arts briefs (group sessions) for BEd (internal and external) and GradDip students.

 

During April, July and October of 2014, 2015 and 2016, I worked with three cohorts of BEd and GradDipEd students, developing and delivering workshops and assignment tasks that focused on developing an awareness of the physiology of singing and good vocal warm-up technique, the physics of sound, the elements of music and using a variety of resources and processes for an embodied experience of music.

 

More info on the DCA and Australia Council for the Arts websites

Archbishop Goody Hostel: Music and Reminscence project

This pilot project involved a research element looking at music and it's impact on well-being, undertaken by three speech pathology masters students from Curtin University.

 

The project involved a creative process where music was collaboratively devised with residents at Archbishop Goody Hostel based on stories that emerged from reminiscence about ‘The Good Old Days’. Three original works were composed and recorded based on early days (‘By the Seaside’), school days (‘A Day at School’) and work days (‘Off to Work we Go’).

 

The music created was unique, lively and full of character. One resident, aged 93, initially felt convinced that he had no musical ability and was astounded by the end of the project at what he felt he had learned and the skills and experience he had gained. By the end of the project, a tight-knit community had formed and it was a lovely feeling to know how special important the project experience had been to members of the group.

The Song Room:
Writing a song about confidence with Yr 3's

In 2013, I was engaged as a teaching artist at Woodbridge Primary School, Woodbridge, WA for the full school year. During that time I worked alongside a general primary school teacher to develop and deliver music classes and projects in the school, alongside delivering PD for teachers engaged in delivering Kindy to Yr 3 curriculum. 

 

In term 3, I worked with another classroom teacher and class to collaboratively develop their own original song about confidence. Confidence is one of the key success areas of their school programme, 'You Can Do It', an education programme that enhances social, emotional and academic development of children and young people in schools.

 

In pairs, small groups and as a whole class, the children were exposed to the song-writing process, first of all coming up with phrases and words to describe their physical and emotional experiences when they feel confident and not confident, then developing these into verses with distinct rhythms and melodies. We also added an introduction section using spoken word and percussion to convey the emotional and physical sensations of not feeling confident. The song 'I Can Do It' was performed at the end of year presentation assembly, and the school is able to perform it again with their own crafted backing track.

AWESOME Arts, Creative Challenge 2013, 'This Little Light': Creating original material inspired by light

 

In May 2013, I worked with lantern artist Bec Massey in Kalgoorlie over two weeks as part of the 'Go for 2&5' Creative Challenge 2013 programme, 'This Little Light'. 

 

At East Kalgoorlie Primary, a 98% indigenous school, we worked with two classes to create works inspired by the theme of light, using a variety of artistic processes to stimulate learning and application of learning into artistic products.

 

Shadows and reflections were key themes, and activities included free-play using light and optical objects, tracing body shadows outside, making shadow puppets, creating shadow play narratives, song writing on the theme of ‘From Little Things, Big Things Grow’.

 

At the end of the residency a performance event was held with both classes performing behind a custom-made shadow screen adorned with images of their alien creatures. Accompanying music especially composed for the occasion included their spoken narratives and ideas for how they wanted their music to be. The residency was hugely tiring and epic, and the whole experience was just amazing!

 

 

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