Adult Day Care, After School Program, Assisted Living, College/University, Community Center, Hospice, Hospital, Independent Living, K-12 Schools, Library
I began working as a teaching artist at age 16 instructing 11 years olds to play guitar. In the 34 years since I have always kept a teaching component in my life's work, teaching individuals and groups (age 4-106) alongside my performative and compositional work as a singer, songwriter, producer, recording and touring artist, and interdisciplinary collaborator. In 1989 I joined a California Arts Council team of arts (cross-discipline) serving homebound older adults in San Francisco through Artworks (now CEYA) at Mt. Zion (now UCSF) & the SF Institute on Aging. In 1990 I began facilitating what has become the Songwriting Works process of collective song composition and performance with older adults in inner city adult day health centers. From 1990-97 I tested and replicated the model with older adults in residential care and community formats, as well as for K-12, women in prison, developmentally challenged, and professional caregivers. In 1997 I founded Songwriting Works, a fiscally-sponsored non-profit program supported primarily by artist in residence funding. In 2007 as a recipient of the MetLife/ASA MindAlert award I was invited to join the MindAlert Speaker's Bureau and have since worked with several dozen coalitions of social service, health and creative arts agencies across the nation offering one and two day trainings for artists, health & pastoral care professionals and family caregivers. As founder and director of Songwriting Works Educational Foundation (http://songwritingworks.org), I am the lead trainer for our facilitator certification for professional songwriters.
As a life-long artist and trainer with more than 20 years hands-on experience working across the health and cognitive spectrum with older adults and intergenerationally, I look forward to being part of the LifetimeArts network. There are four qualities at the heart of what's sustained me in this field: 1) I love people and working creatively with learners awakening to music, and their own voices, be it for the first time or as seasoned artists. 2) I believe that a healthy, vital society respects, learns from and engages with its elders and I've dedicated my life to including older and younger together to see how much good we can do, for our communities and our cultures at large, through collaboration. 3) Music is my lifeblood and is, researchers theorize, perhaps our species' oldest form of communication (along with dance); to be creating music freshly with diverse people, especially those who most deserve to be seen and heard continues to be a source of joy and creative strength for me. 4) Being in service to the greater good as a working musician is what I'd most hope to contribute in my lifetime.