Student Update July/August 2017

Tena koutou e āku tauira rerehua. E koha ana ahau ki a koutou te wero o te waiata, kia tito waiata, kia whakatinana mai hoki te ia o te waiata.

Acknowledgements and greetings to my beautiful students. I extend to you the challenge of music, of songwriting, of the embodiment of music.

The last round of workshops and lessons has been a delight with so much transformation and joy released and birthed into being. Papatuanuku is dancing with the medicine of your freedom!

My next travel dates north of Kapiti will be for ‘one to one’ sessions on the following dates :

Tauranga : August Friday 11th and Saturday 12th

Thames / Parawai –  August Sunday 13th and Monday 14th

Auckland / Tamaki Makaurau – August Tuesday 15th – Thursday 17th

Cost of lessons are on a sliding scale $60-50 ( plus a travel koha depending on your distance from the city centre). You can assess what is the most appropriate fee for you to pay based on your circumstances. I also accept good quality, fresh & healthy organic produce….. (and cake).

Please contact me asap if you’d like to book in.

karen@karenhunter.com is the best way to contact me.

Here is a short video from the Auckland Creativity&Music workshop in July 2017.

 

I am also sharing music at the following Women’s retreat in August, curated by Kimmy McKay ( you may need to be logged into facebook to open this event ) . It’s on August Friday 18th – Sunday 20th – Kaipara (West Auckland – way out past Parakai ). I am one of three or four facilitators, I will offer a ‘sound bath’ as my contribution.

Radiant Sexy YOU
A workshop for women.
A conversation about our joy, our power, our sexuality

 

Student Update June 2017

Tena koutou katoa, he mihi nui ki a koutou.

I’ve spent the last week in Auckland with my students, visiting family and friends. I was also lucky enough to attend Cian Elyse Waitī’s wonderful play Te Puhi  which was part of the incredible Tamaki Makaurau Matariki Festival.

I facilitated a wonderful Creativity&Music workshop in Thames yesterday – we were a magic group of seven bravely wild women. This workshop dived into a beautiful open space. We sang, danced, painted, breathed, laughed ….. and more 🙂

Matiu Te Huki played in Titirangi at Soul Centre Saturday night and with the help of Kate Hornsblow at the wheel I made it back in time to plug myself in and perform as his accompanist. It’s always an honour to play with Matiu as he makes his contribution to the Ngati Aroha community from a place of love and respect for all souls. More dancing and singing, hugging and laughing!

Tomorrow I’m driving back to Kapiti to continue my course Te Putakitanga o Te Reo Maori which is delivered by Te Wananga o Aotearoa. I am attending through the Porirua campus.

My next trip north :

Auckland July 14 – 20 ( one to one lessons & workshop in Te Atatu Sunday July 17th )
Thames July 20 & 21 ( one to one lessons )
Tauranga July 22 & 23 ( Tauranga Farmers Market & Workshop at Arty House Sunday 23rd )

Please contact me asap to book your place on the workshops or to make your appointments so I can make sure you get the time that best fits your schedule. The best way to contact me is email karen@karenhunter.com or text if you have my number.

I have also booked a workshop in Paraparaumu at Te Newhanga Kapiti Community Centre on August 6th

I have received interest from people in Napier, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin regarding expanding the workshop programme into other parts of the country – please do contact me if you are in one of these locations and you’d like to participate in a workshop. ( Or a different location ).

Nga mihi ki a koutou katoa

Kārena

 

 

Winter workshops 2017

Are you up for some winter music fun?   Do you fancy getting some new skills happening while the nights are long and there’s plenty of time to practise? There will be a special series of Creativity & Music workshops throughout New Zealand this winter.

Come and play music with a group of people who are also exploring self expression with sound. Bring with your voice, your instrument and your open heart.

READ WORKSHOP PARTICIPANT COMMENTS 

We will be stretching, warming up, singing, writing, painting, making poems, creating rhythms, getting our groove on, listening, discovering and sharing songs.

It is not necessary to have an instrument to get the most out of this workshop however please bring any instruments you have that you like to play or would like to learn how to play.

You may also like to bring your creativity journal and favourite pen/pencils. Paper, paints, pencils and pens will be also be provided.

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About your facilitator:

Karen Hunter is a experienced musical facilitator who is passionate about holding space for people to explore and expand their creative potential.

Karen has taught one to one music lessons and workshops in guitar, voice and songwriting since 1987. She has undertaken many musical studies both formally and informally and she also holds a diploma in Facilitation from Zenergy Global.

In addition to a lifetime of experience in the field Karen completed the Masters of Music programme at the University of Auckland. Karen has also taught music privately and lectured at both the UoA and at M.A.I.N.Z ( Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand).

_______________________________________________________________

Please contact karen@karenhunter.com to find out about running a Creativity&Music workshop in your area.

Student update May 2017

Hello to all my students!

If you’d like to book a lesson with me during May 2017 please contact me soon as I am creating my schedule over the next couple of days.

Thank you for all the great sessions we have had this last April, I am learning so much from each of you. Things some of you are working on include :

Using the loop station to accompany your songs,
Using the loop station to accompany your instrument practise,
Honing and crafting lyrics to your original songs,
Hitting the high notes in the songs you perform at Karaoke,
Learning circle songs and devotional chants,
Singing for healing and meditation,
Piedmont picking on the guitar,
Using the slide to solo over blues,
Vocal exercises for intonation ………. and more…..

What a variety of things I get to help you with! Thank you for bringing your enthusiasm, exploration and love of music to me 🙂

During May 2017 I will be primarily in Kapiti. I welcome new students in Kapiti – if you are interested in a lesson with me please contact me on karen@karenhunter.com

I will be heading up to Auckland on the week of 12-16 May and I’ll be available for sessions in my Te Atatu studio from Friday  12th – Tuesday 16th in afternoon.

 

For those in Nelson, Thames and Taupo – I am nursing a sore knee at the moment which mean’s I’m travelling by bus not van and won’t be able to make stops up and down the country. Perhaps you might consider a Skype lesson? Here are some student comments about my Skype lessons.

“Kāren and I have worked together face to face and also on Skype. I highly enjoy coming to visit Karen in her little creative hub, with all her tools and instruments that allow playing and improvising etc. But I also love the flexibility that Skype classes offer and sometimes it is nice to be physically in your own space while working on something.” Kath.

“We have lessons both in person and via Skype, the latter being relatively new to me, but working well nevertheless. The lessons work well for me, and open up the experience of music that works. We have good fun singing and playing, and who could ask for anything more.” Peter.

Arohanui koutou katoa!
Karena 🙂

Autumn is a time for resting

Kia ora koutou!

I have noticed in these last few cycles that my body wants to break down around Autumn equinox each year. I have had a variety of ‘symptoms’ from internal pain, sore knees and legs, adrenal fatigue symptoms (being really physically tired all the time) and one year, after catching ‘nits/headlice’, I developed formication (the sensation of ants crawling under the skin).

Each year has lead me to the same place of surrender. Mindfulness practises. Gentleness. Appreciation of sunsets. Gratitude. Rest. Less is more. Time alone.

Luckily it’s getting quicker and quicker to catch on – this year I’m on to it – I have developed a swollen knee and after just one week I see the pattern. I need to slow down. My body wants me to rest and do things that I don’t need to move around much for. It’s time to sleep, hibernate, allow the world to become smaller after a summer of festival gatherings.

I’m writing because it’s likely I am not alone! Perhaps the same thing is happening to you and you are here looking for an answer to your physical symptoms.

I encourage you to reflect on the benefit of your symptoms…. what is the pay off from your symptoms? Be honest! Perhaps, for example, you have stomach pains and you can’t eat the same food as you usually do at the moment – is it time to change your diet? Or are you unable to prepare food at all physically? Do you need to ask for help? To receive the help that is available? Sometimes the real gift is the receiving. Allow your life to flow freely, which might take you in a surprising direction rather than towards your predetermined destination.

Surrender. Smile and give thanks. I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
nga mihi
karena

Student feedback

Creativity & Music workshop THAMES June 2017

I love the way anything is possible in Karen’s workshops, how intuitively and expertly she is able to hold space, how safe I/we feel to allow what is… and from that allowing comes creation/creativity.  Like how we can create music from a picture. Kate.

What I loved was the coming together of a group of unknowns and the creation of some joyous synergy. 

I loved the way (Karen is) able to mastermind or direct the process; that she can hear all of the participants and when they should join in. The way that she is able to abstract a segment of the words written and take them to a new place, which suggests there is a richness in the material we created in such a short time, and this richness is still untapped material for development. 

What I really want is to be able to play musically with other people … and this is what we did.  Heidi

Loved the painting exercise,  but was surprised I had very few words to put on it. Delighted to  discover  it was an instrumental piece I was painting, haha! The freedom i felt playing harmonica with accompaniment from the other participants was magic. Really enjoyed seeing the joy as the others brought their paintings to sound. Heather.

Creativity & Music Workshop  April 2nd 2017

I loved the different elements of CREATIVITY we engaged in. The creative process was accessed through many forms, inspiring us to look and open other doors within our creative capacity. To allow for new and exciting ways for self expression.

Karena’s open, energetic, loving passion for her creativity is infectious and through listening participating and creating sound together, her love and passion is directed straight into me. Brooke.

Thank you so much for this wonderful gift you have – gentle – encouraging – inspiring – Safe place to explore that special part of ourselves – that loves to express and create.
Felt empowered and connected during this workshop and feel this will continue to flow in my life. Tea.

Karena, you are a fabulous musician and teacher. You make it very easy to find a voice. You found a place for every workshop participant to find a safe place within themselves from which to express themselves. Arjan.

You created an environment in which everybody was at ease and felt free and uninhibited to step beyond their boundaries. You skilfully and with great insight guided everybody to get the most out of their presence. Alistair.


Private students:

Kāren is highly tuned in to the creative potential of a person, the blocks that might be in the way and the mood of the day. In her unique, gentle and wise way she is able to facilitate a shift that allows me to be in the space where I can connect to my creativity and give voice to the things that want to come forth. She supports expression of self in ways that keep surprising me and that have made me grow, not only in regards to my original intention of wanting to learn to sing.

Kāren and I have worked together face to face and also on Skype. I highly enjoy coming to visit Karen in her little creative hub, with all her tools and instruments that allow playing and improvising etc. But I also love the flexibility that Skype classes offer and sometimes it is nice to be physically in your own space while working on something. Kath.

Kāren and I have been working together since July 2016, starting with singing and then adding learning the bass guitar. I find Kāren’s style to be relaxed and relaxing, which leads me to discovering just what I can do. It is an encouraging style, just for the joy of music. Inspiring.

We have lessons both in person and via Skype, the latter being relatively new to me, but working well nevertheless. The lessons work well for me, and open up the experience of music that works. We have good fun singing and playing, and who could ask for anything more. Peter.

I am presently teaching regularly in Kapiti, Auckland, Thames, Taupo and Skype. Additional locations within New Zealand are possible as I travel the country continually.

 

Musical conversations 2017

Kia ora tatou,

I am writing this ‘newsletter’ type blog post specifically for my students and those who are interested in studying creativity and music with me this year. I am organising myself a little differently in 2017.

I have some important dates at the  bottom of this newsletter and a request for students whom I have worked with for some time.

I escaped from the University of Auckland in 2010 to run away with Awakening Circus which ended up taking me out of the country for several years. The last 3 or so years however I have settled into something of an uneasy truce with the city of cars : Auckland. I have a great studio there and many contacts who make my life fun and filled with special moments. Most of you know my magic tardis at the bottom of the garden in Te Atatu.

However this year I will be basing myself in Paekakariki, on the Kapiti Coast, to study Te Reo Maori at Te Whare Wananga o Aotearoa and to enjoy living in a different location with my friends: musician Matiu Te Huki and his whanau including Erica and baby Manuariki. We sing a lot together, we dance around the living room and have a lot of fun.

Skype lessons will continue, and for some of you this will be a valuable way to keep working regularly. I plan to commute to Auckland, and Thames at least once a month ( sometimes twice ) to teach and be with my family in Tamaki Makaurau.

I will also be taking group workshops again, YAY! I love group work – it’s heaps of fun as we can bounce off each other and also try out our new songs and working songs with each other.

I’d like to find the best ways to stay in touch with you all, perhaps a blog like this could work if you sign up to wordpress so you can make comments in the box below. Alternatively we could have a facebook group, or a traditional email – newsletter. There may be other ways to that you could tell me about.

Available ‘one to one’ lesson dates are below to show when I will be in the North. I will sort out a Google calendar ASAP ( The rest of the time I will be in the Kapiti area) :

  • February 23rd – 26 – Thames 
  • February 26 – March 6th – Auckland
  • March 13 – Thames
  • March 27th – Auckland
  • Marh 31st – April 3rd – Auckland
  • April 2nd – Creativity and Music workshop – Soul Centre, Titirangi.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1832634080283477/
  • April 14-16 Thames
  • April 16 – 23 Auckland 

Finally I have a request for those of you who I have known for a while – could you please write me a ‘testimonial’ for my teaching work? I’d love to be able to share with prospective clients what it is that student’s most like about my work and what sorts of benefits this work has been for you.

For example you might include some of the following :

How long have we been working together?
What was your original reason for coming to me?
What sorts of things we have done together?
What do you like best about my approach?
Have we worked together on Skype and how has it been to work in this way?
What benefit our work has been for you musically?
Have you noticed any additional benefits?

I’d also love to hear what you think I might be able to do better as your teacher 😉

Thank you. I value our time together and wish you all the best for a fabulous new cycle of growth in 2017.

arohanui

Karena

Music & Mindfulness retreat 2016

A second Music and Mindfulness retreat with Karen Hunter and Akasadaka Robison was held and Sudarshanaloka Buddhist retreat centre, near Parawai / Thames in the Coromandel in October 2016.

Here are two testimonials from participants :

“Akasadaka & Karena created a space for freedom of expression, play, joy and deep feelings to be held equally and safely ( and served to connect us so beautifully and harmoniously).” Kim – participant

“The juxtaposition of mindfulness and music was delicious for me. I appreciated that the two aspects were presented differently / separately ( although inextricably linked as this shift in focus was like a restful pause. I gained hugely from both teachers and would add that the environment physically supported the programme and the work – a true Retreat !!!” Heidi – participant.

Are you the RIGHT facilitator for this group?

An interesting new completion and celebration process emerges during a ‘wrap’ session for a hard working team. There were ten people in the group with one additional member who ‘skyped in’ for one hour during the day.

I had chosen ‘self and peer assessment’ as the heart of our schedule with warm-ups and energisers as required. To foster a sense of retrospection for the completion of a massive project we started with the processes of paintings and a walking meditation to choose an item from nature to describe our present feelings/space.

Every one was tired. Most people chose rocks, flowers, stones and pinecones.

One person produced a concrete brick, let it thud onto the floor and then collapsed in a heap and said she had no energy.

Obviously the group was ‘not up for’ a rigorous ‘self and peer assessment’ process.

My preparation had included reflecting on a list of the reasons why someone might NOT be the right facilitator for a group. This list included: ‘Do I have the RIGHT process for this group?’ and ‘ Do I know what is BEST for this group’. Answering yes to either of these questions would suggest that I was NOT the right person to be in the facilitator role!!!

The plan had to change. I shared my thoughts and asked the group for suggestions.

We decided to proceed with the self and peer process but only with the affirmative part of it, omitting the ‘what could be done differently’ stage. We created a ‘nest’ in the middle of the room, a large 2metre circular cushion, surrounded by candles. The group members took turns to lie on it and receive massages, songs and affirmations.. Each member had about 15 mins on the cushion.

The group luxuriated in each others affirmations, acknowledgements and healing attention. What manifested was a tailor-made completion, individual and group celebration in one process. Everyone had more energy at the end of the session than they did at the beginning of the day and felt grounded and complete.

Our training at Zenergy is to trust the resources of the group. This brilliant group found a way to complete and celebrate their work together while honouring the energy that was present. It may be necessary at a future time to talk about ‘what could be different’ in the groups next venture, however at this point in time what was required was an acknowledgement of Whole Personhood at it’s Zenergy finest. J

Karen

Resources: The Art of Facilitation revised edition.
Self and Peer assessment process is on page 27
The list I refer to in the blog is on page 67 in the section called ‘Being with a group’.

Music and Mindfulness Retreat – July 2015

I was part of a team recently delivering a 2 day residential creativity retreat at Sudarshanaloka Buddhist Retreat Centre in Thames, on the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand.

Our retreat was called Music and Mindfulness and the team consisted of Mindfulness facilitator Akasadaka Robison, a Buddhist ordained in the Triratna order and our assistant Heather Garland, a local Thames based musician.

I lead the Music sessions with 13 participants, 6 musicians and 6 music lovers. music-and-mindfulness-2

We focused initially on the art of listening and created two soundscape stories. The group included an age range from 29 – 70 and of the older ones there were 4 ordained Buddhists. This meant that the meditation sessions were very deep and we were able to access a beautiful quality of listening very quickly.

Soundscaping is a process which invites participants to take full responsibility for the music they are creating. Music, after all, is in the reception of sound. What is music to your ears? How can you tell the difference between noise and music? When is the wind rustling a tree’s branches music to your ears and when is it annoyance keeping you awake at night?

Working in a circle we elected to tell the story of the enlightenment of Siddhartha. Some of the participants who were familiar with his story were able to share it with the group. As we were seated next to a meditation shrine featuring a life size sculpture of the Buddha there was an ‘immediacy’ to the story. Listening to the Buddhist women was grounding and helped the group centre .

These are the steps we created:

The Enlightenment of Siddhartha

  • Siddhartha’s wealthy and protected upbringing
  • Becomes aware of the suffering in the world
  • Awareness that there are those who are not suffering
  • Journey of discovery and exploration
  • Period of isolation and solititude
  • Enlightenment as the Buddha

Our next step was to explore the kinds of sounds we might associate with the different steps, and to try them vocally and with the instruments we had gathered.

Then we closed our eyes, and told our story using voices and instruments, listening to each other for orientation.

Listen to the result on Soundcloud

https://soundcloud.com/hunter-de-luz/workshop-soundscape-july-2015-story-of-the-buddhamp3

Buddha

Inevitably, some people were unsure of where they were in the story, some were still at the beginning when the group reached the end and finished. Others felt quite unsure about which step they were at, and a deal of hilarity and a bit of discomfort arose in the end. However from a musical point of view, on listening, one can hear that the players were in deep presence and awareness.

This is the purpose of the process, to share an authentic and profound musical experience regardless of experience.

Thanks to all the participants!

music-and-mindfulness-1

Karena

I have blogged about Soundscaping before here https://hunterdeluz.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/emerging-music-workshop/