Sydney, Australia 2016 Report

Hello My Friends…

Before we begin, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we are meeting, and I offer my respect to all elders past and present.

That is something that I learned from Simon Faulkner years ago as what you do at the start of any program in Australia, in acknowledgment of the original Aboriginal peoples.

In Hawaii, we have our beloved 'North Shore Crone,' Thea Love, offer a native Hawaiian invocation chant for the opening of all of our Hawaii Playshops.

When you are surrounded by a massive modern metropolis, you tend to forget that the city you are in was built on the original land of the native nations that were decimated by the arrival of westerners.

But here in Australia, the physical presence of the aboriginal spirits of the land permeates the environment, in the city as well as in the outback. The first Colonial settlement in Sydney was established only 230 years ago. That’s a drop in the bucket when you consider that the Aboriginal nation is over 60,000 years old.

Down here, down under, the toilets drain the opposite direction from the northern hemisphere and June-July-August is winter, except inside the city itself, where you can sometimes experience all the seasons in one day. Sitting right on the Pacific Ocean, the Sydney winters are not unlike a Santa Cruz winter, where I live on the central California coast. Lots of rain, no snow, and when they say it’s cold, it’s not really THAT cold.

This ‘English’ speaking Playshop that I’ve just completed is the first one this year, since Malaysia, that I have done without needing a translator. After doing a month and a half of translated programs throughout Asia, it was nice to speak the words and be understood without waiting for a translation of them.

So I was able to address certain parts and concepts here in Australia, that I did not have time to in the translated Playshops. That information was only accessible to the translated Playshop participants, by having them read the workbooks that were translated in the different languages for those countries' programs.

The community drum circle was definitely ‘family-friendly’ with lots of kids present. It was an exciting journey that the Playshop graduates handled very well.

I did the 'Drum Call' to get the community drum circle started. When I brought the opening rhythm jam to a close and said the welcome, I had a little girl pull one of the Playshop graduates names out of my hat, (written on folded pieces of paper). She pulled out Benji William’s name, (Hawaii Mentor graduate from 2015). So Benji won the REMO Bahia Base, that Optimum Percussion (local REMO supplier) donated as a give-away for the Playshop.

THANKS to Optimum Percussion for all the ‘brand-spanking-new' REMO drums and percussion and a great variety and mix of drum types to use during the Playshops…. To REMO for the transportation help.… To Hawaii graduate, Bek Wermut, for her multi-level support before, during and after the Sydney Playshop…. To Simon Faulkner for his years of support to Village Music Music as your Australian Regional Organizer.

An extra thanks goes to Simon for developing both the DRUMBEAT Program = Discovering Relationships Using Music; Beliefs, Emotions, Attitudes & Thoughts, and for developing his new program, ‘Rhythm2Recovery’ which combines rhythmic exercises with reflective insights into a wide range of social and emotional themes. And it is adaptable to a wide range of populations and therapeutic environments.

Simon and I will be heading up to Brisbane to do our first 3-day Playshop there, AND my last program on this fully packed and extended Asia Tour.

Here in ‘Aussie land’ we passed out a simple evaluation form at the end of the program. I will share some of the responses to the request for insights gained from the event:"When I shine it gives others permission to shine  -  Let the music be your guide  -  Listening  - I’ve found my new direction  -  Good explanation of group processes & dynamics  -  Value each person’s contribution  -  Trust the community to provide the rhythms  -  Balance the harmony  -  Use what they give you”

On to Brisbane… Share your Spirit...  Arthur  {]]’;-)