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
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.
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
No new photos yet but hopefully soon. I hope all of you are well.
Drop me an email when and if the mood strikes.
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
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,
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
With track mates Annabelle and Nick in November
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.
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
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
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
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!
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