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Isojams, online teaching and a youtube series: just a snippet of what the new "normal" looks like

Hey guys. Yes, I know it's been another long hiatus since my last post and today's blog will basically be a summary of what's been doing down these past 4 months, now that the world has turned on its head with COVID-19.

Since our opening gig with "Touch" back in March, we had a great response from those who came, and we were even asked by the venue to come back for another gig in June, however sadly, not long after our debut, restrictions had been forced into place and a lot of music establishments have had to close due to the Coronavirus which has put a lot of us musicians and artists out of work. We have had to cancel our upcoming "Touch" gigs, I haven't been able to put on any of the student showcases as part of the Andrea Marr Music School, and I have had to adapt to teaching online, which hasn't been very hard as I have had to do the same for my other part-time job as a secondary teacher where most of term 2 has been focused on remote learning. I don't know about you but being in isolation (as well as dealing with my pregnancy) has had some impact on my mental health, as it has for many others, and as a result, I had decided to withdraw from social media for a little while as I was getting sick to death (no pun intended) of hearing all of the negativity coming from people as well as the news and the media which wasn't helping the situation at all.

So with that, it looks as though I have not done anything in terms of music, but that's not necessarily the case as I have tried to use this time as productively as possible by focusing on my songwriting, my piano playing, continuing to teach online, plugging away at my music course, and as a spark of creation, I even started a YouTube series that was inspired by a school project that I created for my year 10 Drama class which I will talk about further on.

So firstly, I have been working on some new songs that I've been workshopping with Andrea Marr and my goal for next year is to go back into the studio and record a single once this virus hopefully gets under control. A lot of the songs I've been working on have stemmed from how I've coped with COVID-19 so it will certainly be a lot more open and raw than what I've written and recorded in the past, so stay tuned on that one.

Secondly, I've done a few isojams where I've performed some songs online and I've posted them to my facebook music page (I've been a bit slack with instagram and youtube) so feel free to have a look there.

Thirdly, I consider myself very blessed to be able to continue teaching, even if it is via my phone or laptop. It has certainly had its challenges as I had lost a few students, but those who have decided to stay have reaped the benefits by learning to overcome this hurdle as well as continue to learn in a whole new way, plus once I come back to teach after going on mat leave (hopefully in Jan next year), I will probably still offer online lessons as a option as for some people, they have found online learning more convenient for them in terms of travel and time restrictions.

Lastly, just for fun, I decided to start a youtube series that was inspired by a unit of work that I created for my Drama students on "Parody and Satire". Lately I have been binge watching some Netflix (I know I'm not alone here), and I've been watching a series called "Yummy Mummies" which is an Australian reality show that focuses on mums who live lavish lifestyles while also preparing for motherhood. Think of it as like "Keeping up with the Kardashians" meets "What to expect when you're expecting" and you've got an interesting target to explore. Well, I decided to do a parody/social satire on this show by creating a character called "Katiana Da Ville" who is a heavily pregnant diva/socialite who is into fashion, beauty and keeping up appearances and the title of this series is titled "Scrumpty Mummies". It's been a lot of fun creating this series and so far I have uploaded 2 episodes (episode 3 is on its way) and they're on my Youtube page, so have a look and tell me what you think. As some of you would know, I started off as an actor before I decided to go into singing and songwriting, so it's been great revisiting my acting roots as I've been missing it for quite some time.

Finally, before I finish, I just want to end this loooong post with some wisdom that I've gained from this challenging time. Some people will look back on this year as a complete write off now that we've had the bushfires, and just when we thought things weren't going to get worse - COVID-19. Sometimes I say to myself that if it's wasn't for the fact that I am looking forward to our next bundle of joy next month, I would probably ask God to erase my memory of 2020, however despite the unthinkable tragedies that have happened around us, I can honestly say that this experience has made me much stronger, more resilient and more determined to do what God has put me on this earth to do, and that is to inspire, educate and bring joy and hope to people through the arts. I cannot underestimate enough the importance of routine, sticking to your goals, learning to stay in touch and ask for help when things get really tough, and believing in something greater than yourself, whether it is a faith or a religion, we need to understand that we are all human and we are all vulnerable and most importantly we all need to work together and fight this battle, which for some of us, will be the biggest hurdle of our lives. All I can say is have faith, keep going, do your part and stay positive. We will get through this!

Thanks everyone for your support and I will try to post another update (possibly one introducing our next family member) by next month.

Love you all so very much, Katie xx

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