Monday, September 20, 2010

The young@heart choir is coming to New Zealand!!

I opened up my Sunday Herald newspaper and this page jumped out at me!! How exciting and how frustrating because I won't be here! This choir is the epitome of how effective a singing programme can be for enhancing and enriching people's lives. The performances, the brain stimulation of learning and remembering words, the euphoria of going onto that stage, the camaraderie, the life experience of going places they would not go by themselves, the unity of purpose, the inevitable losses that come with working with people at the latter stages of their lives, and the emotional journeys that these engender. Such big experiences, such empowering life experiences. Congratulations to the Summerset company for taking this initiative

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Women in Leadership presentation

I was invited to be a keynote speaker at a recent day-conference here at the University of Waikato. The topic for the conference was "Finding your voice".

I think that there was an expectation that I would give them a good singing session, to fire off the endorphins and give them a light vocal exercise to start the afternoon session. However I valued the opportunity too much to just do that, and talked about the use of voice and what effect it has on how we are perceived. I illustrated, gave them exercises to do, did some singing (good speaking voices use the resonation that is used in singing) and took questions. Along the way much laughter, especially at some of my demonstrations. This is strategic, learning is significantly more effective, when people are having fun. I left promptly to go and take a singing session with the Rest Home at Hilda Ross, and then returned to the conference.

Margaret Wilson (ex politician, and now law professor here at Waikato University) chaired the session, and shared stories of how she used her voice when speaker of the house, to keep order. In summing up at the end of the day, she enlarged on that, re-enforcing all that I had said and done. At the post conference drinks time there were many people who wanted to talk to me about working with them, their team etc. I have subsequently had an email from an Associate Dean to come and talk with engineering students about use of voice. Unfortunately I am not available any of the times mentioned, but this is a whole new area where I have future possibilities.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

So many opportunities

I am now in negotiations with two retirement providers. I spoke with 60 final year MMP students (teacher trainees who do most of their study via the computer, but come on campus for block courses) yesterday about being available for: singing lessons, help with school choir, help with use of voice as teacher, face-to-face and via skype. I enjoyed socialising with them last night at the Sahara Tent, and had good conversations with interested students. My list of singing students for next year grows each month.

Today I go to speak at a Women in Leadership conference being held here at the University of Waikato. The Hilda Ross Glee Club is going to come and entertain at lunchtime, and then I am going to talk to the conference about use of voice, and I am sure the same things will come up with them as came up with the trainee teachers; how to preserve your voice, sound authoritative, affect display, and of course we will do some singing, because it will make them feeel good, and help them to remember my messages.

I am also going to talk with the professional studies people here in the Faculty of Education about me coming and guesting in one of the years of the student teacher's study, to give them these messages sooner. Anectodally, and from my own experience, so many of them do not understand how they sound, and how they can sound better, more effective, and be more aware of the tool that their use of voice is in the classroom.