Loving the Iluka Markets & Emporium

Loving the Iluka Markets & Emporium

Who doesn’t love a good local country market? Last weekend  being out and about in the Clarence Valley was great. I had the good fortune of playing of being able to play my harp at the Iluka Emporium on the Saturday and then enjoyed watching dolphins as we went downstream along the Clarence River to Iluka. On the Sunday we were out and about and spent some time at our local market; run by the Iluka Woombah Rotary Club. It is lovely to be somewhere where there is so much great talent and good will in the community.

Iluka Emporium: 61 Charles St,
Open Thurs – Mon 9am-3pm

It was so much fun playing at the opening of TJ & Michelle Ansoul’s art gathering as Featured artists for October. Apart from all the fabulous works these lovelies have created there is a wonderful array of interesting and beautifully crafted works as well as many trinkets and upcycled funky products to admire and have as your own. Thanks Annie & Michelle for including us (Lily P) and making us feel so welcome – the Emporium is a wonderful must see experience in Iluka.

Iluka Markets are run each monthly at the Sports Ground on the 1st Sunday of every month.

The markets are a great way to start the day wherever you are and the creativity and friendliness of this one is just a treat. I feel very fortunate to be in the company of so many clever and generous people. To start with we found Brenda and Marianne handmade crafts. These very clever ladies run local events to help others learn a new skill or to enjoy the company of new and old friends whilst working on a favourite crafting activity.

Bren & Maggies Creations – run by Brenda & Mariannne, they are regulars at Iluka Markets each month – be sure to check ’em out.

We worked our way around to the stalls and found Palmers Island Plants displaying an excellent selection of flowering plants, shrubs and trees.

Palmers Island Plants – great plants – very good valueh

Next was of course foodies fun – the delicious Frosty’s Gourmet, I am a sucker for a really good chutney, jam and spread. This stall has a great variety to choose from. I am so glad that they are regulars at my local market.

Frosty’s Gourmet – the best Jams & spreads I have tasted in a long time 🙂

Recently, I made a new friend who lives on the corner up from our new home. She is a very talented grower and offers seedlings for you veggie patch as well as very pretty flowering plants. Very kindly she helped us in choosing a beautiful Tahitian Lime tree for our garden. Robin it was so good to see you at the market this weekend.

Robin’s Plants – she even had a cool refreshing bowl of water for my doggie to have a drink from – thanks Robin :-

Of course all markets have a wonderful range of jewellery and adornments. I was very lucky to meet Margot Ljungberg, a talented Jewellery Designer from Emerald Beach Jewellery Design. Margot’s work is delicately crafted and of very high quality. Her pieces are made for both casual or formal wear and she has many items suiting all budgets and tastes. I hope I get to see you again Margot – maybe next month.

If you are interested in making an inquiry about Booking Leeann for Music  Lessons in the Lower Clarence Valley or via Skype (Singing, Bass, Banjo, Celtic Harp & Autoharp, Flute, Guitar, Keyboard, Mandolin & Ukulele)  or Performances please use Leeann’s Contact Form.

StringSong Music – Leeann Flynn
Lower Clarence Valley – Ashby, Chatsworth Island, Gulmarrad, Harwood, Iluka, Maclean, Woombah, Yamba

Singing Practice or Just Singing

Singing can be so much fun, our favourite songs can take us back in time or bring feelings of intense joy, peace and euphoria, as well as help us tap into deep feelings of sadness or melancholy. Before we know it, time passes and we may have sung the same song over and over or waded through several tunes not knowing how long we’ve been singing or why we chose the songs we’ve sung.

So singing is about engaging in the song fully and becoming one with it, often this occurs in isolation when we can be uninhibited and free to go with the flow. Practicing, however, is almost the opposite to this. It involves understanding the challenges and skills required to perform the song to the best of our ability: pitching, phrasing, dynamics, use of tonal variations, appropriate breathing and expressing ourselves in a way that invites the audience into our space.

Songs we love to sing teach us about how we use our voice and what is meaningful to us. Developing a personal style is important as a singer because every singer has something unique to share. It takes time to understand your sound and ‘your voice’, so be patient – it can be like digging for treasure. Half of good singing is listening to what we are doing as we sing.

Practice time needs to be planned. It is a good idea to have a place where you feel safe to perform, rehearse and try out new skills. Lots of people practice in their bedroom. A room where you can stand is good so your posture supports you. Some people practice sitting, this is really a last resort (eg if you are practicing in the car). Know what you want to learn and make a list of songs you’ve decided to master. Think about how hard or easy these are. If you only have a short space of time to practice decide how much of the song to work on eg just the chorus or a single verse. A short practice biting off a small chunk is better than no practice.

Before you start working on chosen songs you wish to master, make sure you use your vocal warm ups your singing teacher has shown you or ones you feel help you to loosen up physically and emotionally to get you going. Usually these are a mix of body work and breathing exercises and then pitch and vocal stretches (scales and vocal patterns).

Unless the songs you choose are ones you know well, try to only work on one song in each practice session and do it well, rather than just singing songs from beginning to end and moving on without polishing.  Sing your chosen song a few times and then record yourself. Listen to your pitching, phrasing etc. What are you happy with? What do you need to work on? If you don’t have sheet music, use the lyrics on paper so you can highlight and write reminders to yourself about what you are doing eg breathe marks, variations in dynamics etc. Phrasing takes time with a new song so remember to breathe.  

Let’s say you have half an hour set aside to sing the structure for your practice time might be like this:

  1. * 3-5min on breathing and physically stretching
  2. * 5mins on scales and vocal patterns (dependent or how you’re feeling)
  3. * 3-5min singing a favourite well known song you feel you’ve already mastered
  4. * 15min closely working on your chosen new song,
  5. singing through 1-2 times all the way through and then breaking it up into sections chorus, verse, bridge etc and polishing these sections as you go

If you feel you have struggled with a song it is a good idea to finish your practice time with a song that you really enjoy singing. Sometimes practice sessions help us to understand the challenges in songs that we may not have first seen. We can feel disheartened when we realise that perhaps the song is harder than we originally thought. Familiarity can breed contempt for a song and at this point and we may feel like giving up, but sticking with it offers the reward of true mastery. Be patient with yourself. Communicate with your teacher so they can provide some assistance.

Having a practice routine helps you to further develop your intuitive skills as a singer. Songs that have been practiced rather than sung over and over can become works of art that you create. Copying other artists’ styles helps singers to grow and exposes them to the many tools vocalists use. Once you’ve played with these tools you can make them our own, and go beyond copying to creating.

Singers who practice work to find the ‘rules’ that someone else has made in each song, they learn them, master them and then break them when they want to, in order to make the song their own. Singing then is the beginning and end of the process – with practice as the mid-point, so that whether you sing in your bedroom or to an audience you can feel free and uninhibited enough to showcase your gifts.

If you are keen to learn more about singing, warm ups, exercises and finding your voice, feel free to contact me or leave a comment about your own experiences.

If you are interested in making an inquiry about Booking Leeann for Music  Lessons in the Lower Clarence Valley or via Skype (Singing, Bass, Banjo, Celtic Harp & Autoharp, Flute, Guitar, Keyboard, Mandolin & Ukulele)  or Performances please use Leeann’s Contact Form.

StringSong Music – Leeann Flynn
Lower Clarence Valley – Ashby, Chatsworth Island, Gulmarrad, Harwood, Iluka, Maclean, Woombah, Yamba

Laughing Kookaburras…

Lovely Female Laughing Kookaburra in my garden…

Another beautiful day …

Since living in the Lower Clarence Valley I have come to realize that native wildlife is normal part of life here. Often in the evenings I am able to sit and enjoy the luxury of silence. Silence that I have gradually noticed is a backdrop to the sound of our local Boobook Owl, a possum who is obviously keen to find a new mate and the wonderful sounds of the Laughing Kookaburras and the many other birds off in the distant trees.

I am fortunate enough to not only hear these beautiful guys each day, but I also have them regularly fly into our garden for mid morning, afternoon or evening snacks. This morning I was getting ready to take my lovely little doggie for his morning walk, I got to the front gate as a beautiful adult kookaburra flew down over my shoulder and snatched a 5cm warm out the grass and consumed it before my eyes. She looked very carefully at me until she completed her breakfast, eyed the tree across the road and flew off.

You may be thinking ‘how did I know she was a female’ – She looked just like this lovely one that I ‘snapped’ this afternoon. You can see from the photo that this Laughing Kookaburra has a brown patterned rump, and I recently learned that the male has a blue patterned rump. Such lovely birds, I feel great delight whenever I see them.

What do you think of these birds? Do you have Kookaburras or Kingfishers in your neighbourhood? Let me know 🙂