The Armidale project marked the end of a very busy few months of projects – between now and January 30th I have no more ‘special projects’ to lead. I still have my usual teaching load in schools, and I have some papers to mark for the university, and some minor additions to make to my Masters thesis before get the final binding done, but I don’t need to plan for any more big projects for a while now. Lots of plans to put in place for 2010, however – the year is looking very full already, which is incredibly gratifying. I’ve received some fabulous invitations to work with different organisations and people around the country.
The last couple of months have been focused on:
- Writing papers and articles – I wrote three academic papers between October and November and submitted them for forthcoming conferences in 2010. I think I have a journal article left in me now – probably something a bit more substantial, around 5000 words perhaps. Not sure when I’ll write this – maybe when I get stuck into my thesis corrections.
- Leading Jams with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra – the last of these was on October 31st. We jammed on the Lebanese song Ah Ya Zahn, a song I first learned to sing in Bosnian, while working at the Pavarotti Music Centre in Mostar 1998 (where we called it Ah Ya Ti. I like the Bosnian words better!)
- Leading a collaborative project between the MSO ArtPlay Graduate Ensemble and the Chordwainers, an ensemble of performers who play on the leather instruments of Garry Greenwood. A very successful, interesting project with a great musical outcome.
- Teaching the last classes for the year at Melbourne Uni – the Bachelor of Ed students and the MTeach students. Some very interesting sessions, and lots learned by all.
- Continuing my usual primary (elementary) school teaching load at Pelican Primary and the Melbourne English Language School for new arrivals (these are both pseudoynms). It has been a bit hard-going this term. The students are tired. I am tired. And the Pelicans in particular get incredibly unfocussed and distracted when they are tired. And there are a few tricky, subversive student elements at MELS that I find rather testing this term. But we are getting there… we will get there…!
- I also got to have a few days away with Tony at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival. He was playing (and played fabulously, as always)…. I sat in the shade, grooved along while drinking local wine, and chilled out, basically. The day after the festival we stayed in the area and went off to Mount Buffalo for a walk up to the Cathedral and Hump, where we perched awhile on a rock, before heading back down.
So it has been a busy term (we are now up to Week 6 of an eleven-week term). I’m happy to be winding back a little bit now, in terms of inventing new projects and coming up with innovative and imaginative ideas. My brain is looking forward to a bit more open creative space.
A couple of shots of Tony in action at Wang: