Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oh Snap!

For my final post here are some photos of the choir and a few of our members

Happy singing everyone (even if its just in the shower)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Windup

Hamilton Blogs I looked at:
Victoria. A Blog

Otago Blogs I looked at:
Jasmine. M Blog
Hannah. S Blog

Arendt, H. (1958). The human condition. Chicago: Chicago University Press. 

Benson, S. G., & Dundis, S. P. (2003). Understanding and motivating health care employees: integrating Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, training and technology. Journal of Nursing Management, 11(1), 315-320. 
Caulton, R. & Dickson, R. (2007). What’s going on? Finding an explanation for what we do.  In J. Creek & A. Lawson-Porter (Eds.),Contemporary issues in occupational therapy (pp. 87-114).  Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Christiansen, C. H., & Townsend, E. A. (2004). Introduction to occupation; the art and science of living (2 ed.). New Jersey, United States of America: Pearson Education, Inc.
Hagedorn, R. (2000). Tools for practice in occupational therapy: A structured approach to core skills and processes. London: Churchill Livingstone.
Hanks, P. (Ed.). (1988). The collins concise dictionaryof the english language. Glasgow: William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd.


The Collins Dictionary defines ambiance as "the atmosphere of a place" (Hanks, 1988, p. 32)
In choir there are a number of different types of songs.  Each  different song creates different emotions and feelings or 'atmospheres' as a result of different tempo, pitch, style and instruments involved. These factors along with the physical movements of the choir create the emotion or ambient feeling for all those involved. One song we sing is called Bay-ye-te. This song begins with just one member of our choir singing, with no instruments.  The rest of the choir joins in harmonizing with her after her first repetition, the song then builds in force through the powerful voice and actions of the choir. The feeling this song creates is very special, it alters the atmosphere in any venue or situation. 

The choir performed earlier this year at New Zealand's international indigenous conference. I was standing in the front row with the rest of the sopranos, waiting for the conductors signal.  There were people from all over the world gathered under one tent.  When the soloist began singing, you could feel the change in the room.  We had sung this song many times before but because of the people who were here and what the choir represented, this time it felt different.  We were a choir made up of people also from many different cultures and nations and we were singing a song from a different nation to all of us. I’m proud to be apart of the choir, I feel a part of something bigger and am sad because I remember that the conductor, the soloist and my friend who is standing next to me are all leaving choir.  I think this is another reason this song is so special as it is the last time we will all sing together.  


Hanks, P. (Ed.). (1988). The collins concise dictionary of the english language. Glasgow: William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lets be Practical

Practical requirements are stated in Hagedorn as "a list of all the tools, machines, objects, furniture and materials needed for the activity.  One also needs to list physical resources such as water, light and source of power." (2000, pg. 205)

There are a number of practical considerations for our choir. Some of them are the following:
     -As there are a large number of us we need a large space to practice
     -As we practice at night we need somewhere with lighting
     -As we practice all year round we need somewhere protected from the winter weather
     -As there are older members we need somewhere that affords us the opportunity to sit down  throughout the night
     -As we have soloists, it is helpful that we have microphones so that we can hear them above the sound of the choir while we practice.
     -As we are a Hamilton based choir it would be an easier location for most to reach if where we practice is near the centre of Hamilton.

All of these considerations are met by the church we practice in.  Grace Way Church is kind enough to allow us to practice in their building free of charge.  the building is warm, dry and well lit. The main room has plenty of space for our whole choir to fit.  This is the room where Grace Way holds there service every Sunday morning.  This room has a full sound system  which includes a switchboard, speakers, microphones and an over-head projector which we use to display our words.  One of the choir member’s husbands knows how to operate this set up and joins us each week to do so.  

Hagedorn, R. (2000). Tools for practice in occupational therapy: A structured approach to core skills and processes. London: Churchill Livingstone. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

The other Affordances

Burden Vs Joy
Burden           -Waiting for other people to learn their parts
                        -Obligation to attend every week
Joy                  -Getting the sound/song right
                        -Remembering the words
                        -Fellowship with the other choir members

Good Vs Bad
Good              -Community
                        -Social interaction
                        -Chance to sing for other people
Bad                 -Singing a song I don’t like
                        -Not remembering the words
                        -Being late to practice

By my conformity to the required uniform I contribute to making the overall appearance of the choir aesthetically pleasing.  When we all wear the same uniform we are presenting the choir as one, as a unit of people working together to achieve a common goal.  One choir, one song. 

Choir has a very high spiritual element for me, our choir is more than just about singing songs.  The choir I am a part of is a Gospel choir, so all our songs have a Christian base and are worship songs.  All so, at choir we pray together every week.

Linking with history
As I have been in the choir for two years now, when we will bring back songs that were sung when I first joined it brings back memories of when we originally sung that song.  I remember the soloist who originally sung that song.  I remember where I first performed it and I remember members who were in the choir then who have now left.  I remember how I felt being new in the choir and it shows me how far I’ve come since then. 

Most weeks we begin choir by doing a warm up for a bodies, followed by a vocal warm up.  When singing we either stand facing the conductor or sit up tall, also facing the conductor. During our songs we alternate between standing still and moving side to side

(this is my tribute to “The house that Jack built”)

This is the church that the choir is in.

This is the piano
That played in the church that choir is in.

This is the pianist
That sat at the piano
That played in the church that choir is in.

This is the song
That was played by the pianist
That sat at the piano
That played in the church that choir is in.

This is that band
That joined in the song
That was played by the pianist
That sat at the piano
That played in the church that choir is in.

Affordances - Lets Communicate

"Perceptual psychologist J.J Gibson coined the term affordance to refer to the particular arrangement of objects in the environment and to estimate the actions allowed by an object.... Affordances do not have to be visible. known or even desirable to affect behaviour." (Christiansem & Townsend, 2004, p. 255)
In Participation in Occupation ll, we have been looking at seven different area of affordance.
These areas are -Communication
                             -Links with movement and history

In this post, I am going to focus on communication as it is a very large area of affordance and in my next post, I will touch on the other six areas.

There are many different types of relationships and because of this, many different ways of communication.  Within the choir, I have different types of communication with people depending on the situation and person. 

The communication from the choirmaster is predominantly one-way, from her to me (and the rest of the choir, the soloist, and the band).  She directs everyone, it is her role to bring all the parts together and make us work as one.  As we are learning a new song, her communication varies between verbal and non-verbal, however during a performance her communication is non-verbal.  She will use a selection of gestures, to communicate how the performance is to be carried out. 

Another type of communication is between other choir members and me. Before and after practice and during breaks I’ll will talk with many different members, catching up on how there weeks have been and what’s going on with them.  During practice, there is limited verbal communication as it would detract from the practice and distract other members.  As Anna-Maree and I both know the alphabet in New Zealand sign language, we will often sign to each as other sections are learning there parts.  This is a slow, but effective way of communicating. 

When we perform, there is one sided communication between the audience and me.  Through the songs I sing with the choir, we tell a story about our faith and our God to those listening.

Cont. on next blog

Christiansen, C. H., & Townsend, E. A. (2004). Introduction to occupation; the art and science of living (2 ed.). New Jersey, United States of America: Pearson Education, Inc.

Ergonomics - Making it work

Ergonomics is described by Caulton and Dickson (2007) as a process that looks to “constantly make slight invisible adjustments to an activity to adapt to the needs of those taking part and ensure that it continues to work for its intended purpose”(p.unknown). This basically means that ergonomics are the things that 'make it work', the small things that ensure the ability to be able to begin and continue with an activity are modified and maintained.

The choir is  divided into four vocally associated groups both in rehearsal and performance. These teams must work together logistically to learn their different parts of the same songs to achieve the desired outcome. The first team is the sopranos, who are situated in the front row and sing the highest vocal notes. Second in position and voice requirements are the altos, they are situated in the second row and often sing the melody. Behind them are the tenors who stand in the back row, these vocalists sing the lower mid range notes. Finally the bass who stand in the back row with the tenors and sing the lowest vocal chords. By standing in these groups singers are able to hear the other members in their sections which aids them in singing the right part on-que and in-tune. During the once a week practice, the different groups often practice in different rooms as to focus wholly on their required pieces. Each of the practice rooms are equipped with all the tools and items we require to effectively practice. We also have matching uniforms for performances. All the points mentioned in this blog such as; where we stand, how we practice, what parts are sung, along with how we dress are all ergonomic concerns. 

Caulton, R. & Dickson, R.  (2007).  What’s going on? Finding an explanation for what we do.  In J. Creek & A. Lawson-Porter (Eds.),Contemporary issues in occupational therapy (pp. 87-114).  Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Work Vrs Labour

(This post is not considered as apart of my six posts and therefore is not for marking, just my own knowledge/ learning) 
What is the difference between work and labour? "Work is the activity which corresponds to the unnaturalness of human existence" (Arendt, 1958, p.7) whilst "Labour is the activity which corresponds to the biological process of the human body" (Arendt, 1958, p.7). 
I am a member of the Hamilton Gospel Choir. This commitment falls under Ardent's 1958 definition of an act of 'work' as my involvement a personal choice, does not fulfill the physiological needs defined by Maslow's Hierarchy and is not a normal or required part of the natural biological process (Benson,& Dundis, 2003; Arendt, 1958). In joining this group I become a performer, a worshiper of God, a soprano and a singer. As a member of this choir I am a part of a new family and community that I previously was not. Although this cannot be defined as labour because there is no real physical need for me to belong to  this choir, I feel it joins me to a community that helps me in taking time out and relaxing from my other commitments such as study (Arendt, 1958). Personally this is an important part of keeping a healthy balance in my life.  If I did not do this activity I would no longer feel a part of the choir community, I would lose my connections and links with the choir family.  Spiritually I would lose an opportunity to worship and connect with God; which is important to me. I would also lose another piece of my weekly choir tradition; having dinner with Anna-Maree prior to choir every week.  However, if I were not involved with choir, I would have more time to do my studies and complete the other responsibilities that I have. 

Arendt, H. (1958). The human condition. Chicago: Chicago University Press. 

Benson, S. G., & Dundis, S. P. (2003). Understanding and motivating health care  employees: integrating Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, training and technology. Journal of Nursing Management, 11(1), 315-320. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sing a Song

This Semester We're restarting our blogs with Participation in Occupation ll.  We have all picked a occupation that we are already doing and then break it into smaller parts.  I have chosen to focus on my participation in the Hamilton Community Gospel Choir.  I will be looking at it through ergonomics, affordances, ambiance and practical considerations. 

Key Words
Singing in Gospel Choir
Thinking OT

Every Tuesday


Range of cultures


Worship or Praise


·        I sing with the Hamilton community gospel choir

·        We meet at graceway church at 7pm every Tuesday

·        There are around 30-50 people in the choir, depending on the evening

·        I am currently the youngest member of the choir at 19yrs and the oldest would be around 70yrs

·        We come from a wide range of cultures

·        I sit or stand in the front row with the other sopranos

·        We sing worship or praise songs to and about God

·        We are a family who support each other through prayer, laughter, food, hugs and many other ways

·         I chose to go to choir because singing is something that I enjoy, and worship is something I highly value
Something someone who likes to sing could participate in

Potentially too late for some

Minimal age restrictions

No cultural restrictions

Could be spiritual barriers to participation

Good support network

Mindfulness in choir: 

As I sing as part of the choir I realise with this song I no longer have to think about to words I'm singing or the notes for my part.  This is a song that as a choir we have sung many times before and has now become automatic.  Not having to think about the notes or the words leaves my mind free to focus on other things.  I think about how I'm standing, do I have a good enough stance to be able to get the best sound? No probably not, I'll widen my stance just slightly, a subtle difference that others may not notice but I can feel the difference it makes. How about my breathing? Am I breathing with my chest or diaphragm? Diaphragm, good, another thing that is becoming automatic and requires less and less thought. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How may we assist you?

 البرنامج التعليمي عدد ثمانية  (tutorial number eight)

Language of the week:


This week we looked at assistive technology.  I chose to look at two different switches and a PowerLink 2 which help people use those switches.  “The goal of assistive technology is to compensate for absent or impaired abilities and enable occupational performance” (Mary, 2008, p. 511) I think this is saying that assistive technologies allow people to engage in occupations that, without it, they would not have been able to do. 

A switch will allow a student to activate equipment that without this assistive device they would not have been able to use (Schoonover, Argabrite Grove, & Swinth, 2010).  With the aid of the PowerLink 2 (PowerLink 2 control unit) appliances be turned on and off with a single switch.  Students may not be able to reach over and operate a switch on an appliance however if a switch, such as the Jelly Bean Switch (Jelly bean twist) is placed in a way that they can click it then they can operate the device that they could not have before.  The two switches I have selected both have slightly different features which mean they are better suited to people with different abilities (Mary, 2008).  The standard Jelly Bean Twist (Jelly bean twist) has a 64mm application surface, which if you apply 56.7gms of pressure, anywhere on this surface, will be activated.  This switch is made of durable, high impact ABS (Jelly bean twist).  The pillow switch (Pillow Switch) is similar to the Jelly Bean switch (Jelly bean twist) however, it is much softer and can be used, as mentioned above, by a student’s head or face.  Its activating pressure is higher than the Jelly Bean Switch, at 180gms, its plug size is the same, both using a 3.5 mm mono plug which means they could be plugged into the same socket of the PowerLink 2 (PowerLink 2 control unit).

The PowerLink 2 control unit (PowerLink 2 control unit) device allows access to most plug-in electrical appliances, or devices, with a single switch, which is great for students who otherwise may not be able to control them (Schoonover, Argabrite Grove, & Swinth, 2010).  One of its features is that there are four modes of control on the PowerLink 2 (PowerLink 2 control unit).  First up is the Direct Mode (PowerLink 2 control unit), while the switch is activated the appliance will stay on.  Secondly is the Timed Seconds Mode (PowerLink 2 control unit). Whoever is working with the client is able to set an amount of time between one to sixty seconds, once the switch has been activated the appliance will run for that set amount of time.  Thirdly is the timed minutes mode (PowerLink 2 control unit), this has the same idea as the timed Seconds mode (PowerLink 2 control unit), however this one runs between one to sixty minutes.  Lastly is the Latch Mode (PowerLink 2 control unit), one activation of the switch will turn the appliance on, the second activation will turn the appliance off.  These last three are particularly good for students who are not able to hold down the switch.  The other features of this device are that it can be used with most plug-in appliances and it has a remote receiver which means it can be used with a cordless switch, should the need for one arise in the future.  For all three pieces of equipment, there are no reported ethical considerations. 

This is a nice clip of a young girl named Nicole using a pillow switch at home 

AdamWingAbleNet. (2010, 09 15). Nicole with pillow switch and magic tree of lights at home. Retrieved 04 03, 2011, from YouTube:

Jelly bean twist. (n.d.). Retrieved 04 12, 2011, from Star educational Ltd.; special technology and resources:

Mary, E. B. (2008). High-technology adaptations to compensate for disability. In M. V. Radomski, & C. A. Trombly Latham (Eds.), Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (6 ed., pp. 510-541). Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer business.

Pillow Switch. (n.d.). Retrieved 04 12, 2011, from Star educational ltd.; special technology and resources:

PowerLink 2 control unit. (n.d.). Retrieved 04 12, 2011, from Star education ltd.; special technology and resources:

Schoonover, J., Argabrite Grove, R. E., & Swinth, Y. (2010). Influencing participation through assistive technology. In J. Case-Smith, & J. C. O'Brien (Eds.), Occupatinal therapy for children (6 ed., pp. 583-619). Missouri: Mosby elsevier.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Make like a train and Link

სამეურვეო ნომერი შვიდი
 (tutorial number seven)

Language of the week:


This week I linked up with a few other blogs and with my own old one (which I will get round to refreshing when all the assignation are over, I think its going to be a holiday blog).  This is a comment that I posted on Sarahs participation blog, and her reply:


Erin said...
I love all your photos Sarah. Are they all from your own garden? how luck to have grapes and fejoas! I beat you have heaps of fejoas at the moment.
they_may_have_joy said...
Thanks Erin Yes these are all from our own garden. We have had a very good crop of grapes and feijoas this year, unfortunately our tree ran out of it's feijoa stock a few weeks ago. In order to work through all of the fruit, we usually make homemade grape juice and feijoa juice

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Doing it for the Community

טוטאָריאַל נומער זעקס (tutorial number six)

Language of the week:

This week we picked an area of interest and then found three online communities around this community.  I chose to look at online communities that work towards changing social injustice/ issues

The Three Communities I'm going to look at are:
-FaceBook - Streetworks

First up is The Prescha Initiative 

This is what their website says about them:
"We are a group of friends motivated by the values of JUSTICE and FREEDOM of all people. We are particularly passionate about seeing human trafficking eliminated. 
We are defined by our name - PRESCHA ("pray-sha") which means... 
in four different languages. We are a movement dedicated to advocacy, freedom and justice." 

The sites purpose is to raise awareness about human trafficking, then to encourage and facilitate action.  They do this by providing information and links to other websites to help people get educated around the issues of trafficking.  They then offer a forum for discussion, a space for people to post their creative response if they have one and information on how they can help, with a way for people to get in touch with Prescha.  They also have information on past and present events that Prescha are hosting or will be attending.  I believe that people want to contribute to this community because they see its value and the need for the community and their response

People are able to contribute via the creative response or the discussion forum.  This is an example of a topic being discusses:
13 April 2010 at 9:45am last edited: 15 April 2010 11:42am
Community Member 1:
I completely agree with what's being said here. I think chronic poverty makes people take unwise risks & it's heartbreaking that others take advantage of their desperation. Human trafficking as a global trade (which unfortunately it is) has fed off our obsession with acquisition, whether cheap food, clothes, employees or sex. We are a society of consumers that need to feed our own selfish greed. At the very minimum, we (as consumers) need to be aware of where our purchases come from. Are we prepared to put others before our own selfish desires??

Community Member 2:
15 April 2010 at 11:07am last edited: 30 April 2010 1:44pm
I think I would be and I'm stoked to see that there are more moralistic choices when buying...especially FOOD. But for example, in New Zealand, there are only a handful of equitable shops where you can buy fair trade clothes and often they're not even that cool. It would be awesome if we had more morally conscious options available, but at the same time, would we really shop at them if it meant we had to curb our spending or not look quite as trendy........?? I completely agree. Human trafficking is selfish acquisition. It centres on demand for self-gratification whether that is material possessions or sex. Nevertheless, it is one thing to SAY that we'll live unselfishly and another to do it... I love Joel Houstens quote where he says "it's time for a revolution.. fuelled by a dissatisfaction with self-centred living and complacent faith.. driven by a desire for truth, love and justice.. " But what does that actually mean and how does it affect us as individuals? How does it affect the wider scope of human trafficking?
Having the on-line community rather than a geographical one allows people from all over the world to share ideas and thoughts, which is important, as the issue discussed on the community is a global issue. 

Secondly is, Streetworks

Streetworks facebook page allows people to inform each other of events, to share photos and information and to share thoughts and feelings from events.  Streetworks is a Hamilton-based community initiative aimed at meeting the needs of the wider community through a variety of projects.  Put simply their purpose is to encourage a mindset in people whereby meeting the needs of the community is a part of daily life.  With this purpose in mind, Streetworks runs two major events per year and a number of smaller projects aimed at exposing the volunteers who attend them to different needs in the community.  To follow this up, they look to provide further opportunities for engagement with the community for those individuals or groups who are passionate about turning this type of activity into a lifestyle.  Streetworks looks to support and facilitate peoples’ ideas on how to get involved in the community rather than prescribe set way of doing things.

Over the last three years, Streetworks has run six major events, each attended by around 180 volunteers.  These events consist of about 20 different projects around the city being completed over the course of one day.

Examples of projects include:
• Chopping and delivering firewood
• Building sandpits in the homes of financially struggling families
• Cooking and freezing emergency meals for community centres to disperse
• Baking and visiting rest homes and hospitals
• Painting murals
• Cleaning houses and gardens
• Planting fruit trees and vege gardens
• Family Fun Days
The purpose of the community website is to promote awareness of Streetworks and their events.  Anyone can ask to be a friend of streetworks and most, if not all are accepted.  Once accepted they can view photos from events, see post from the streetworks team informing about events or commenting on events.  Others are then able to comment on this post or make their own post.  Many people support Streetworks and they contribute to be informed about what is happening, so that they can express their feelings from events, often thanks, and so they can see photos to see past events to see what happens at streetworks events or to remember them.

This is one of the comments made in response to the latest Streetworks event, and people’s responses to the comment: 

Streetworks member #1
Thanks for your marvellous demonstration of practical love to Hamilton. Bless all those who took part.
Top of Form
01 May at 21:31 · Like · · See friendship
·         Streetworks Hamilton and 2 others like this.
o    Streetworks member #2  Was such an awesome day!
01 May at 22:10 · Like
o    Streetworks member #3  what a great day thanks you guys
02 May at 10:21 · Like
Bottom of Form
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
This community is an online community and a physical community.  Having the online community is very important for the group.  It helps the members of the community stay connected to the group between the six-month gaps between big events.  It allows the main organisers another median to share their message and ask for help when needed.  It is a place for members who may have meet at the events to get in touch with each other. It also allows a place for people to talk and discuss events, a place where they can share their feels on the event, share their response. 

Thirdly is Watoto, Restore Tour
Watoto is a holistic care programme that was initiated as a response to the overwhelming number of abandoned and vulnerable children and women in Uganda, whose lives have been ravaged by war and disease.  The Watoto model involves physical care; medical intervention including HIV/AIDS treatment; education – formal and technical; trauma rehabilitation and spiritual discipleship. The Restore Tour is a tale of the tragedy and the triumph of the child soldier and the greater community of northern Uganda, who have endured some of the worst atrocities known to man. As we meet the people and hear the true stories of many, we hear one single story - a story of conflict, struggle, forgiveness and restoration. Every testimony is true, as told by the individual.

Their twitter account allows them to give up dates on what is happening with the tour.  They inform people of shows that are coming up, comment on shows that have been.  Anyone is able to access their account and see what is happening with the group. If you have a twitter account you can add the Restore Tours address into your tweet and the message will be linked with their page and whoever manages the tours account will be notified of this message.  I think people are a part of this because they are interesting in Watotos story and they want to find out where they can go to watch a performance, they may also want to wish the group luck, or make a comment a performance they viewed.  

Their latest tweet was about the opening of the Watoto Church:

"Watoto Church Cape Town open… Celebrating Christ, Caring For Community… 1 May 2011 @watotochurchCT"

A comment about the tour that was retweeted by Watoto was:

"Watoto Restore tour tells the power of forgiveness! Don't chase the snake that bit you-deal w/ the venom it released! UnforgivenessKills"

The restore tour travels all over the world, so they do not stay in anyone place long enough, apart from Uganda, to be able to form physical communities.  By having the several online communities that they have, they are able to stay connected to those they form friendships with in different countries, and have a place for response for those who are greatly affected by their story.  


(n.d.). Retrieved 04 01, 2011, from Twitter:
(n.d.). Retrieved 04 01, 2011, from the prescha initiative:
(n.d.). Retrieved 03 28, 2011, from Watoto: resuce, raise, rebuild:
Restore tour. (n.d.). Retrieved 03 28, 2011, from Twitter:!/restoretour
restore tour; child soldier no more. (n.d.). Retrieved 03 28, 2011, from restore tour:
Streetworks Hamilton. (n.d.). Retrieved 04 01, 2011, from Facebook: