My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)
I am a composer/songwriter with experience as a recording and touring artist, music director for shows, and collaborating with other performers and artists. I have been involved in projects incorporating a variety of musical styles including classical, pop/rock, jazz, metal, musical theatre, and avant-garde/experimental. I thrive in collaborative environments that allow me to draw from my varied background experiences to help shape new projects, whether that's composing songs for a new theatrical work, or helping a singer songwriter craft their new song, or arranging existing works for a new setting. I am equally comfortable leading, following, guiding, and collaborating. I am a great believer in allowing space for each individual's unique expression to shine.
I have taught piano/theory/composing/songwriting for about 16 years, and have played in various styles of bands since I was in school! I studied Composition at the University of Auckland, thinking I wanted be a film composer, but discovered my love for writing pop/rock songs and music in theatrical settings is my favourite thing of all. Since then, I have written about 200 songs for myself and others to sing, recorded and released two albums and an EP, toured NZ, Australia, and the United States, and been the music director for Wellington community theatre and school musical productions.
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
A detailed list of my credentials and work is available on request.
Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes
I have worked with all ages, both in a group setting and one-on-one. The youngest age group has been 4 to 5 year olds, teaching group keyboard and general music classes. I have a dedicated music studio where I teach private piano, accordion, theory, and composing/songwriting lessons. Currently my private students range in age from 8 to adult. I am currently the music director for a local school’s senior musical theatre club for students in Years 5 to 8, which meets weekly after school. Recently we put on a production of Mary Poppins JR. This year we are working towards a devised show with input from the students. In 2018 I was the music director for another local high school’s students on their production of [name redacted].
While I enjoy all aspects of teaching and working with young people, my favourite thing is working with aspiring songwriters to hone their craft. Young people in particular have such freedom with connecting ideas and experimenting, and I love encouraging that passion while at the same time providing tools to help them learn and grow as composers and lyricists. I embrace all styles of musical expression and am comfortable working with students on their preferred instruments to create and craft sounds and songs that reflect each individual's unique musical voice.
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 feels like a natural extension to what I already do! I am excited by the talent and passion young people bring to creative projects, and would love to do more to help teach and encourage the upcoming generations. I feel in my element when working with others to craft new music. At the start of 2019 I filled out my ikigai, a Japanese concept meaning "reason for being". It is a venn diagram designed to intersect your skills and passions and goals into an activity that could be your ideal vocation. I realise that this may sound corny but it's what I ended up with: my ikigai is to work with young singer-songwriters and performers, helping them harness their natural talents and coaching them to find confidence in their voices, both creatively and literally.