Spring Changes

Final Thought, June 2013 There are so many changes in the air. On Saturday, June 8th, we performed our final show in Beijing with our fantastic drummer, Zac Courtney. Zac and his family are moving back to Australia and we are on the hunt for a new drummer for our Beijing band. I celebrate this move for his family, but…   …read more.

Ocean At Our Doorstep

Newsletter Final Thought: May 2013 It’s amazing how sometimes many days go by when I forgot to appreciate how lucky I am. I mean, sometimes I’m exhausted and underslept. Sometimes I fight with my partner and I’m in a bad mood all day. Some months are more scant than others, money-wise, and I have to coach myself out of the…   …read more.


Week #6 – Polishing

I didn’t blog about this course last week. To be honest, I didn’t have much to say. I was deep in the process and not really ready to talk about it. I did complete my assignment, however, but I wasn’t fully satisfied with it. I wasn’t ready to show it to anyone yet, I think. Yes, that’s probably the truth….   …read more.


Week #5 – Mell OH Dee

This week’s lesson was all about the melody of words, the natural arc of the language, stressed and non-stressed syllables, etc. I got my assignment done in the final hour and recorded the quiet vocals with my daughter sleeping in the same room, but at least the idea is captured in it’s current “in progress” state. I couldn’t help thinking…   …read more.

Week #4 – Rhyme Time

While week #3 focused on number and length of lyric lines, this week focused on rhyming and the varying effects of different kinds of rhymes. It was a bit of a review of my first year of university when I was enrolled in the linguistics program: fricatives, plosives, voiced and unvoiced consonant pairs, etc. I admit that I tuned out…   …read more.

Week #3 – Song Stability

Happy Belated St.Patrick’s Day! As the third week of the free Coursera songwriting course comes to a close, I find myself thinking the words stable and unstable a lot. (I’ve also stared at Pat Pattison enough in these past two weeks that he’s appeared in my dreams a few times, but that’s an unrelated personal instability issue!) We’ve been learning…   …read more.

Week #2 – Songwriting Boxes

I’ve completed the first week of the songwriting course and it’s already been really interesting. The first assignment–to write out the structure of a song’s lyrics based on the idea of boxes that fit into boxes until we reach the ultimate, overarching message or the largest box that contains the others–is based on first deciding on a song’s title. That…   …read more.

SAC: Songwriting & Blogging Challenge

I’ve joined the online course with Pat Pattison of Berklee School of Music through The Songwriters Association of Canada. I have a musician friend, Jess Meider, who also lives here in Beijing and she was a student of Pat’s at Berklee. She has often passed on his songwriting wisdom in casual conversation. I decided I should see for myself! What’s…   …read more.

Art & Children

Newsletter Final Thought: October 2012 Thanksgiving has just passed in Canada. I am here in China where Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated. I had to remind my in-laws and partner that the holiday even existed. While that would have made me irritable and homesick before, now I take these moments as an opportunity to just reinforce my culture with them… as I…   …read more.

Fascination With Light

Newsletter Final Thought: April 2012 The spring rains have come to Beijing. For at least one day every spring, it rains all day long here and then leaves puddles, like in Canada, for the sun to glint off of the next day. I love it because it reminds me of home. A puddle of yesterday’s rain water on the roof…   …read more.

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