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Why is this page here?

My work and personal life tend to overlap extensively. Many of the projects I do for work require that I get involved in all kinds of learning and teaching adventures. Some of these adventures go on to influence my personal life .. meaning they stay part of my life long after the project is complete. For some reason, colleagues and past students seem to enjoy following these exploits so I will continue to share them.

A few of these events have made their way into the website. The horses, the sprinting, the health and fitness work, my return to motorbikes, my dive into the Latin Dance world .. cha cha cha, and now back to the guitar!

Below is a new report and the reports and photos from the past.

More later gators, Stef


March 2012

So, what AM I doing? Well, I told you last year that I was taking courses with the Berklee College of Music and that I have continued. Right after I wrote last year I made the decision to commit to doing the Masters Certificate in Guitar through this prestigious institution. In the past year I have completed 4 of my required courses, and have another full year to go. Berklee, through their online school, is a brilliant learning environment for me. I am working with and learning from other guitar students in semester long courses, recording and submitting assignments every week and receiving direct feedback from arguably some of the best guitar teachers in the world. It is very intense and I am going well. Needless to say I am playing everyday for a good number of hours.

To get away from sitting but having little time for another big activity I have been doing 2 new things. I get into the gym 3 days a week for an hour at a time. My long time trainer, Mark Patience, decided it was a good idea to start me doing some power lifting. Amazingly I am turning out to be quite strong .. and wow, have I gotten bigger. My most recent tests had me bench press 90kg, over head press 80kg, deadlift 105kg and squat 110kg. I was no where close to those lifts even when I was sprinting .. who knew :-)

I also started popping into the Northern Beaches Drum Studio to study with Pete Grant. After sitting for so long it is quite nice to hit something and to be physically expressive in a big way. I am loving the drums and I wouldn't have thought that either. But it's true, and if I had the time and energy to do it I would put together a learning strategies program that used the drums as the activity .. much like I did with juggling, Tae Kwon Do, triathlons, guitar and so on in the past. If you are looking for something really fun to do you might give it a go!

I am teaching a bit now. Because I am home studying it means no travel. That leaves me clear to say "yes" to requests to teach locally. So once a week or so I am in the city doing short lectures in various organisations. I am enjoying seeing how the new learnings from the past 10 years are winding their way into my content. It's a whole new kind of teaching.

My sad news of the year came just a couple of weeks ago. My little buddy Nugget had to be put down. It looks possible the culprit was a snake bite and everything happen very fast. I was glad that he was down with Kate and Owen Gwinn in Braidwood where had the best care and ease to the end. He will be missed.

Next time I hope to have some photos. I am doing lots of stuff but there's no one here to record it all :-) Once I finish school next year, then I will start to make decisions about what I will do with all that I've got with the music.

I hope you are all well. Do remember to add your name to the mail list if it is not there, or update it if it has changed. And, stay in touch please.

Cheers, Stef


March 2011

I am having the life of Reilly at the moment. Really the dream time of having time at home to seriously study. I have continued steadily with the guitar studies I reported last year. Still studying with the Berklee College of Music and learning so much. I completed their advanced Jazz course in December and just finishing a guitar sound course as I write. Just 2 more assignments to complete.

Giving my daily work hours over to the guitar means I am not doing any writing, designing or researching at the moment. But it has led me back to doing some good teaching again. It fits nicely in with the guitar work. I have created a program to explore preparation for the long life after 50 most of us can count on living .. a whole complete 2nd adult life time. That work has been very well received with a lot of shocks and laughs. I have also had a chance to work with trainers/coaches again through Learning Dimensions up in Brisbane. I am hoping to do more of that kind of teaching as the next few years unfold.

No new photos yet but hopefully soon. I hope all of you are well. Drop me an email when and if the mood strikes.

Stef


May 2010

This has been one long 5 months of sitting at my desk. My biggest activity has been completing all of the online guitar lessons that follow the DVD program. Also, I have been busy working with the guitar students following up with me on the community site I developed for them.

But this work has also brought an expected surprise, and that is the joy of playing the guitar again. I have done several courses with the Berklee School of Music out of Boston and am working with a wonderful Jazz teacher, Gavin LiBotte who plays with the Urban Gypsies here in Sydney. I have found new places to explore all of the new lessons that emerged from my research over these past 15 or more years. My own playing is progressing at a speed far faster than it did when I first approached that project. Now that the program is done for students I think I will find a way to keep the guitar close with a strong intention of once again playing. The older I get, and the better I learn, the more I am getting out of the experience.

Because I am home now working I have also enjoyed getting out to lecture again. I have said "yes" to most offers to teach. Again, after so many years of new research I find great joy in sharing these insights with others. I don't yet have any intention to formalise the new work in a training program for the public. For that many things would have to happen. So, in the mean time, I am simply bringing this work in to groups that make the request.

I will write again after the winter. I think I will still be here at my desk, but by then I will be refreshed and ready to start doing some new writing for the website.

I hope you are all well. Please stay in touch,

Stef


July 2009

I have had 3 big adventures since I last added to this page. The first was returning to the stage to conduct the revised Learning To Learn program. I hadn't juggled in 15 years! Like riding a bike though, it all came back quickly. The second was the strange feeling of sitting each day with a guitar on my lap in preparation for returning to teach music and guitar. That too has been about 15 years. Amazing that a skill you learn well and really KNOW you never forget.

But the biggest and most fun of all was the Winter Ball for the Northshore Dance Studio where Batuhan Gurel and I once again performed the Paso Doble. Here are a few photos!

We really shouldn't be smiling!

About here I realise where I am and what I am doing!

Shoot, smiling again!

Breathe! Not long now

 

I didn't KNOW I had ears like that .. yikes

 


April 2009

With track mates Annabelle and Nick in November 2008


Overview of the past 3 years

These past 2 years have been dominated by new activities. Motorcycling, Latin Dance and Italian! Vroom Vroom, Cha-Cha Ciao!

I have put some stories here on my personal news page because they have certainly been personal adventures. But it would be a mistake to think these activities were just for fun! Throughout I have been observing the teaching methods of various schools and programs that teach adults new skills. I have been doing that from the inside out, as a student. Now I am writing about what I have discovered. I thought though you might like a look into my world these past couple of years. The world is a stunningly beautiful place.


Turkey trip

Well, I suppose I should pick up where I left off with the trip to Turkey in April 07. I had done several motorcycle training programs in Australia as well as local off road adventures as a means to see how riding coaches help develop these skills. Turkey was about seeing where experiential learning helped or hindered. We rode everyday in many different conditions, covering 4500km in all.

You cannot die before you go to Turkey. This is the most amazing and beautiful country I have ever visited. The people are fabulously friendly and interesting. It's clean and the food is fabulous. You are walking through the history of the civilisation. Along with my Ferris Wheels tourmates I spent a few days in Istanbul seeing my first MotoGP event before hitting the road.

We received our bikes a few days later, and with shaky knees, headed out of Istanbul to the west and down the coast. Gallipoli was the first day highlight for all of us Australians. Speaking with the Turkish high school students enlightening. Our trip allowed us a lot riding experiences each day, but always time to visit the sites and meet the people in the towns in which we stayed. The trip covered the western coast, on through the mountains to the Mediteranean Sea, across the length of the coast and then an inland swing up to Cappadoccia. This was a place I could not have imagined. It was as strange and beautiful a place as I have ever experienced. Think Flinstones. From there it was up to Sanfranbolu and the Black Sea. The Black Sea forest which we travelled through for a full day is the undiscovered wonder of the world.

The beauty of the motorcycle is it puts you in the world. You feel everything, smell everything. We travelled roads inaccessible to the tour buses. Driving by comparison is like watching TV.


Back to Italy

After Turkey I returned to Florence for my final Italian sessions with my teacher Marco. This was the end of one phase of my Italian explorations. I was ready to begin exploring the value of many of the off-the-shelf programs. While in Italy on this trip I was able to attend another MotoGP at Mugello. A totally different experience in Italy, home of Ducati with Australian Casey Stoner riding competing against local hero Rossi.

Also on this final trip I spent time on a small farm in the south of the country. Each day I travelled to a new small village not frequented by the tourists. There I would find the church, community centre or library and I would spend the day using my Italian to interact with the locals and to learn the history of the place I was visiting. This was a true 'kicking of the tyres' on my Italian language skills.

Returning to OZ - Superbike School

I returned in July and still had ants in my pants. I hadn't yet settled into my new little community on the Northern Beaches and found I could only study for so long each day. While I was home though I did get to experience a wonderful training event. Of the hundreds of training events and programs I have reviewed for clients with the intention of improving upon them, this is one event that is perfect from start to finish. This is Steve Broughy's Superbike School. It is designed as all training programs should be .. taking the student from where they are to where they need to be next. It is sequenced with perfection and builds confidence in the student as the day unfolds. I cannot recommend a motorcycling program more highly. And, trust me, I have participated in quite a few.

Over to Canada

With my aggitation bubbling, in September 07 I travelled to Canada for a motorcycle tour of British Columbia, again with Ferris Wheels. Canada only because this was the next trip on their schedule. This trip too was fun. Canada has some beautiful scenery through the mountains and glacial passes. It was a bit too much like America to really capture my imagination and it was a cold and wet ride!! I spent 3 weeks and covered about 4000km. I discovered that a moose is very big, and there really are bears in car parks!

 

Restless in OZ again

I returned home from Canada and felt I still needed a bit more adventure. I signed on to do what is called The Postie Bike Challenge. Yep, postie bike. A little red 110cc motorbike (of sorts) with standard milk crate strapped on the back. Max's out at 70kpm although downhill I hit 85kph once! About 22 of us set off from Brisbane to the west. I had always wanted away to see these parts of Australia. It was a long ride everyday stopping in towns such as Winton, Longreach, Geralton, Normanton, up to gulf at Kurumba, Inot Springs, Cooktown and ended in Cairns 11 days later.

My assistant Pam met me in Cairns (I had snaffled her husband to do the trip with me). Her first question was, "Well, would you do it again?" I replied, "Not on your life!" Of course, 2 years have past and I am daydreaming again!

This was without question one of those adventures to check off the list. It was more fun than I have ever had with a group of people. I saw Australia and its country people in a whole new way. I wished I had had more competence on the motorcycle to feel more confident on some parts of the trip. Sand, water-crossings on the top end, bull dust, corregated roads .. would not have missed a second of it.

Here are a few of the thousands of photos I took!

               

    

 

 

 

 


Last of the adventures

After the Postie Bike Challange I did a few more trips. Off to the Snowy Mountains with friends I'd met in Turkey who were riding with the Ducati Club. Picture it, me on a BMW with 300 Ducati riders through NSW and Victoria. At least I stood out and will be remembered!

I finished the year with a few more trips up and down the NSW coast and finished in Devonport before heading home to Sydney where in January 08 I made a big decision .. to stay home!


2008 Cha Cha Cha

I had been able to keep up my studies and writing while travelling for nearly 4 years, but now it was time to settle into a more strict routine. And, that is what I have been doing for the past 15 months. I start my day writing, studying and learning. As an activity I chose to head back into a dance studio. I started with a group class at the Northshore Dance Studio and there met a wonderful teacher, Batuhan Gurel. We started working together shortly after and it was Batuhan who suggested I go headlong into Latin Dance. I've been training with him ever since and I am getting good at this! This adventure caused me to re-look at the work of Moshe Feldenkrais and others in the area of physical skill development.

I have often encouraged my student trainers to engage in new learning activities for the sake of remembering what it feels like to be a learner, and to expand their range of behaviour. Well, dancing takes the cake in those areas. It tasks your brain and your body to learn and re-organise. I have changed so much since starting I don't recognise myself in the mirror.

I did my first performance, a Paso Doble, with Batuhan in November 2008. I thought teaching, or racing, or riding, or motorcycling was intense .. but not be half of what dancing requires. It's like an hour of good concentrated lecturing in under 2 minutes. It has caused me to be bigger, more confident and more physical.

Being home now for a year also allowed me to consider doing some teaching again. The first for the public in over 8 years. I have enjoyed putting my toe back in that water again, and have so enjoyed seeing so many old students and colleagues. We are all growing up!

April 2009

This year has started much like the last one ended. Study, writing, dancing and a little teaching. One new thing though. I have used Italian for all of my explorations into the foreign language learning process for the past 3 and 1/2 years. I needed one language I knew well enough in order to deconstruct the many language programs on the market. Since January, however, I have needed to use a new language. I began studying Turkish at that time (for reasons I will explain when I write about this more formally). It is going great! I have done more in 3 months with Turkish than I did in a year with Italian because of what I have learned about learning languages.

My next big performance with the dance will be in June. I am also continuing to say 'yes' to a few training events. I just completed two lectures for the NSAA (National Speakers), and a trip to Braidwood to meet with 150 country women for the YWCA. Soon, all focus will be on the new version of Learning To Learn which I will conduct in June. As always I have no idea what is coming next in reality. We shall see. On on, Stef


For earlier adventures .. horses and sprinting and the start of the motorcycling adventure
 

 

 

 

 

 
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