My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)
I am a working musician who has taught guitar, ukulele in primary schools in small groups with a music tuition company for 10 years. I'm also a registered social worker / child therapist working three days a week in the mental health service. I enjoy incorporating music in both education and health settings as a way to assist children develop their ability to communicate, express themselves, build confidence develop social skills and have fun!
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
I have played music for over 30 years in various musical projects including:
- A year-long tour of New Zealand and Western Australia in 1991 with a christian rock band who played on average three schools per day and two concerts in the weekend.
- Recording three original albums of music with a band, most recent album yet to be released.
- Founding member of a premier covers band – in regular demand for festivals, regional and corporate events in Taranaki. We have headlined in a number of major events over the past 15 years.
- Playing guitar as part of the orchestra in a number of successful local musical productions including Evita, Hair, Mama Mia, Wicked and Rock of Ages.
- I established a music tuition company ten years ago and currently providing music tuition to 70 students in nine primary schools.
Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes
In my child therapy role I have invested in a bunch of ukuleles which are kept in the play therapy room. Children and families use these to make music, waiata and connect together in a fun and joyful way. In my experience music, art and creative expression are often playful solutions to serious problems! I have ten years' experience of teaching small groups of primary aged children guitar ukulele and drums in local schools. I use a structured curriculum with a rubric measuring tool to support children to mark their progress and inspire them on! While for some children one-on-one tuition works best, I like working in small groups to encourage social connection, social skills, encouraging empathy and teamwork. I particularly like developing songwriting ideas with children to help find creative ways to express their feelings and point of view. Some of our students from two primary schools were recognised this year at the regional Bandquest, winning best original song which was awesome!
Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice
I enjoy the experience of supporting creativity in children and young people. I enjoy sharing my musical knowledge and skills. I believe that music is a unique and wonderful tool to support children to learn to express, experience and integrate all the facets of what makes them human. Neuroscience underscores and supports the value of music in the developing brain, emotional intelligence, shared experience and social relationships. It's ultimately a rewarding and fulfilling area to be involved in.