Musicians Matter- Mental Health – RUOKDAY 2021

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It is with pleasure that I bring a breath of fresh air amidst our current climate, Musicians matter- RUOKDAY. A story of how the arts are used for wellbeing and how even with minimum schools and community workshops, the artists team were able to harness some youthful creativity online and produce Dream Big Music Festival.

This is a combined schools/ regions effort for RUOKDAY to promote our childrens youth and wellbeing. Dream Big is the child of The Festival for Healthy Living led by Artistic director John Lane, one of the most amazingly beautiful human beings I have ever met. He has over the last  twenty years helped seed many such projects. Sadly he is retiring but his legacy with Harry his boss speaks for itself, both gentlemen work for the Royal Children’s Hospital Mental Health unit.

I have been involved in this work as a local artists for the last 7 years facilitating workshops in schools and community, multi modally and bringing the combined children’s/ community  voices into completed projects that are celebrated at an annual schools and community performance/ event. When FHL first came to Melton there was a problem with racism with migrant populations. Our approach helped to educate and inspire the kids and larger multi cultural community, getting everyone working together. It really is a dream job, so many different hats and duties. I facilitate, supervise, make music, visual art, drama, film, and do all sorts of other tasks, multimedia production, online facilitation, committee meetings. It has been an honour to do such beautiful work. We develop relationships, build community nurture expression and creativity and enhance resilience through the arts.

I helped a young student just about to finish school, present her beautiful song Empty, written at a schools workshop called Love Bites about  Consent and relationships, I wrote the musical template and work-shopped lyric writing with the kids, they did great. We recorded Akira’s song which was performed live at Dream big festival in March 2021.

I said to John I would write a song about how to write a song, humerous, upbeat, a good challenge. A days work. And I came up with a short track called ‘Shine, Rise and Shine’ . I recorded and filmed bass, drums, guitar and vocals and made a video and presented a message of hope for RUOKDAY. This will not be released at this stage but features to promote Arts For Wellbeing and Mental Health in general which has become much more a social concern in a covid climate.

RUOKDAY was founded by the late Gavin Larkin who lost his father in 1995 to suicide. This deep pain inspired RUOKDAY a means by which’ a conversation can save a life’. The legacy of both father and son serve to promote connection, reaching out, and normalising mental health and the need to take it seriously. What an amazing human being to start this grand vision. Find out about his story and RUOKDAY here

So this is the value of artists. It goes to air on LiveFM out of Footscray and is being streamed as Dream Big 2021 Music Festival at 9am tomorrow. I will release this blog and my video and share it with you.

I want everyone to know the value of music and the arts on all levels and how the arts serve community. It’s not just about product its about process and what it gives and expresses of the deeper layers of soul. The arts are supreme agents of well being and very much needed in our current climate.

Post this event, Akira and I will be finishing the track and making a video to release her first work.

Check out the Dream Big webpage here and learn about our work.

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Musicians Matter- we are sensitive folk.

Don’t forget you can book my services over at the Shop, available online  and for remote work via Zoom.


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