Regional Women in Leadership, & Mason Family Trust Arts awards
I’m very honoured to receive both the Regional Women in Leadership Award and the Mason Family Trust Arts Award for 2019 for work both within and externally to my current Masters in Primary Teaching studies at Latrobe University. These awards are for academic achievement, community leadership, and artistic merit and will be presented on 5th August by Latrobe University at the Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo.
Resonance - a Respectful Relationships Creative Project
Funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training, I am working with Respectful Relationships ‘lead schools’ in Central Victoria (13 in total) to write a song and create a film clip about the Respectful Relationships subject. Respectful Relationships engages students in conversations and projects about gender equality.
The conversations, learnings and changes in attitudes that students have through this subject will be vital to stopping gender based violence and sparking a new level of respect between genders; and promote respect in general.
The video below gives more info on Respectful Relationships. I'm thrilled to be working with the Department of Education on this project.
July - December, 2019
Thanks to the Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Community Grants Program, I am recording a selection of songs to assist primary school teachers and students to sing more in their classrooms. As well as working to improve teachers’ confidence to sing, the selection of songs will work as a way to engage students in various curriculum areas, self-regulate emotions, and support classroom transitions. This project will culminate in a series of professional development sessions for primary and early childhood teachers in the Mount Alexander Shire and surrounding areas.
February - June, 2019
During term 2, as part of The Song Room’s ‘Duet’ program, I have worked to mentor 9 teachers across 5 schools. This mentoring has been to assist teachers (both generalist and specialist) to build their confidence and ability to engage students in music within their classrooms. Schools included in this project were, Hesket, Romsey, Kangaroo Flat, Lightning Reef, and Newstead Primary Schools. Each teacher’s mentoring was tailored to suit their individual goals and has included African Drumming, Singing, classroom instruments (ukulele and xylophone), assistance with music curriculum and assessment, emotional self-regulation through music and singing activities, and all schools have worked through The Song Room’s Elements of Music program. Feedback from teachers has been extremely positive and includes the following:
“This has been by far THE BEST program I have been involved in and I cannot stress enough that Lena Mitchell is amazing!! I would like to have seen this go for at least a semester.”
“Lena has created a safe learning environment for not only my students but also for me.”
“Lena always shares resources, answers questions practically and simply, breaks down lessons into easy and achievable steps and has an enthusiasm and passion for music that has inspired my own teaching.”
BENDIGO ART GALLERY
7th February, 2019
To celebrate the Frida Kahlo exhibition, I collaborated with The Bendigo Art Gallery to hold a children’s music workshop with a Frida theme. For this event, children were provided with costumes, and learnt a simple song from Mexico which included actions and instruments. Children also moved, sang, and played a variety of instruments and games incorporating the animals of Mexico as well as the colours of Frida’s paintings. A reading of a children’s storybook of Frida’s life finished up this booked out event.
October - December, 2018
During term 4, students from Taradale learnt about the difference that music can make in the world. From protest songs, to using music to express emotions, to how songs are used at events such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals. We decided as a school that we wanted to write a song that would make a difference to the lives of new arrival and refugee children, who are in Australia. Students wrote letters, drew pictures and thought about what they would want to tell these children about themselves, and also what they would want to ask. The concept of the Welcome Song begun and as term 4 progressed a theme of friendship began. The song was performed at the Taradale end of year performance event at Taradale Hall and sold though Bandcamp to raise funds for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Students drawings became the film clip for the song.
International TEACHING ARTIST CONFERENCE
13-15 September 2018
I was thrilled to be accepted to attend the 3rd International Teaching Artist Conference held at Carnegie Hall, and the Lincoln Centre in New York City during September, 2018. The last International Teaching Artist Conference I attended was in Brisbane in 2014, which included delivering an information session on one of The Song Room’s key projects at the time (Harmony in Strings - a string program in an inner city Melbourne school with new arrival and refugee students).
The theme of the conference in 2018 was social justice and was packed with workshops, performances, site visits and creative collaborations. On average, I attended 6 workshops per day with highlights being the Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project and interviewing a selection of Teaching Artists, including the inspirational vocal teaching artist, Nick Demeris pictured below (with me singing madly behind him), and the father of teaching artistry, the incredible Eric Booth. And whilst I was on that side of the planet, I also managed to take myself to Cuba for a week Cuban Salsa emersion!!!