Mangawhai, Tomarata, Kaiwaka, Waipu, and surrounding areas.
My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)
SONGWRITER DEVELOPMENT: Goal is to encourage and support emerging creatives of all ages - to help them develop a set of essential foundational musical skills while learning about songwriting, singing, and performing, in a supportive small group environment. Our aim for rangatahi is to uplift their well-being of students using storytelling and transforming the experience through songwriting. Participants will learn songwriting techniques, song structure, terminology, lyric writing, stage performance, and singing technique. A group format means participants will be able to assess their work through group discussion and feedback, helping to gain confidence in their craft and to disseminate this creative skill into their lives. This initiative was established to support and deepen the creative awareness of those interested in songwriting, storytelling, and performing, through the use of transformational practices that guide, inspire, and heal.
My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with
My partner and I facilitate creative retreats, events, songwriting workshops, and artist residencies from our lifestyle property and creative studio. I initiated a music collective to support and uplift songwriters and storytellers. We produced a local event – a children’s creative workshop and family concert with artists. In 2016 I released an album. These songs broadcast on New Zealand radio and all songs represented and licensed to television. Previously recorded Te Reo Māori singles released on radio nationwide. I have been a lecturer in Vocal Performance, the music industry, and songwriting at the University of Auckland since 2011. Coordinating music industry events, including the Songwriter of the Year Awards and the Music Map Seminar. Currently still working part-time as a vocal performance teaching fellow. Previously I have been a business director of an entertainment company, recording and performing with many New Zealand and international touring artists.
Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes
My group allows students to express their own stories and craft them into songs. A very brief example would be that they write a letter to their younger selves to reassure them that they are ok and transform their story into a song. This is one of many exercises to help promote their creativity and well-being. The average age of students attending is 10. I have worked with children as young as 7, through to young adults studying music at tertiary level, and adults who are professionals in the music industry. I have also maintained music therapy songwriting sessions with a special-needs private student – writing songs collaboratively since 2014.
Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice
The Creatives in Schools programme will allow us to connect with those not usually able to access creative opportunities in rural communities. It is also important for me to make the connection at grassroots level. I feel that the synergy of songwriting and storytelling can be a cathartic expression and support our young rural rangatahi as a tool for their general holistic well-being.