Hi, I'm Kristi.
I’ve loved music ever since I can remember.
I am the youngest of five children and grew up in a musical family.
Two of my brothers are drummers, the other plays bass guitar and piano and my older sister plays flute and piano.
Me? I love to sing!
There was always music playing in our home from many different genres. Toto, Cold Chisel, Elton John, The Carpenters, John Farnham and the Beatles were among the favourite bands of my siblings. I also grew up attending church and can still remember as a tiny little girl putting my ear to my Mothers chest to listen to her sing harmonies along with the hymns. Feeling the vibrations of her voice and the rhythm of the music go through my body and hers became a bit of a weekly ritual I looked forward to.
I took piano lessons when I was about 7 and quit after a few months because I didn’t really enjoy practicing and the teacher was a bit of a grump I thought. When I was about 14 a family friend gave me some guitar lessons, but again I struggled to learn it as quickly and easily as I would have liked.
You know how music gives you goosebumps sometimes?
I just wanted it to come naturally without much practice, but it just doesn’t! Singing, songwriting and sport helped me through the teenage years and I’d learnt enough guitar chords to muck around and accompany myself. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I had vocal training at the Newcastle Conservatorium with the amazing Francine Bell. These were lessons that I did enjoy but couldn’t afford long term as a uni student.
I have sung at many weddings, events and some funerals but have never been comfortable performing in front of people - ALL THE FEARS!
I played in a little folk band for about a year but the gigging life is not easy on a breast feeding, sleep deprived Mumma.
My career has largely been in childcare. Ever since I was old enough to get a job I wanted to work with kids. I love kids. They fascinate me, inspire me and continue to teach me more than I have or will ever teach them. I have worked with kids aged 0-12 in a number of different settings for 20 years.
Somewhere in the middle here a friend of mine who worked in special education encouraged me to look into music therapy. She said it had my name all over it.
I hadn’t heard much about this practice previously and was quick to research this profession. It really did sound like my dream job so off to university I went to do my Bachelor of Arts degree in order to study music therapy post grad. I finished my undergraduate degree 8 weeks before giving birth to our little Ruby girl and motherhood was to be the next adventure.
I thought I was totally prepared. I’ve got all this experience and a plan and this is what I’ve been waiting my whole life to do and be. I know how this is all going to look and work. This is what I was made for, my calling!
BUT. This whole Mum gig just wasn’t quite what I expected and things didn’t feel quite as amazing as I thought they would feel and I was surprised, almost shocked.
Not only was the pregnancy and birth more challenging than I expected, Ruby started having seizures when she was 6 months old and was diagnosed with epilepsy. She had a brain tumour in her left temporal lobe and it was wreaking havoc. After six months of trying to manage her epilepsy with medications things kept ramping up and the tumour needed to go! We spent a week down at Westmead Children’s hospital and had the tumour removed one week before her first birthday. Thankfully it was benign. She hasn’t had a seizure since her surgery and has recovered remarkably well considering. She’s spirited, active and quirky. What a cracking start to parenthood!
Caring for an unwell child motivated me to re-think my parenting style. Parenting wasn’t by the book like childcare was. Parenting is emotionally taxing and complicated and messy and HARD even if you’ve been around kids your whole life!
I think I learnt more about children and childcare in my first year of parenting than I had in all my years in childcare jobs!
The dust started to settle and I wanted to do something fun with Ruby that we’d both enjoy and that would also benefit her neurologically. MUSIC!!!!
So, I researched our options and we went along to a couple of different classes that were offered in our area, none of which really suited Ruby’s vivacious antics or my understanding of early childhood development. I felt pressure to make her “behave”, “conform”, “participate” and “perform”.
My search continued and I came across a program called Music Together. The philosophy of the program really resonated with me and the music itself was such high quality. This was the class for us!!!
However, the closest class to us was in Melbourne.
Long story short – I wasn’t going back to uni in a hurry and was between jobs and babies so I completed the Music Together teacher-training course in Melbourne in 2013 after having my second baby and started teaching the program myself in Maitland and Newcastle.
I launched my first business called Rhythm Station and my passion for children, music, brain cancer awareness and all things parenting and teaching came together in one place. I ran this program for 5 years and then took a short break to focus on me, my family and my own creative ventures. Now with 3 young children and two businesses running in the one household life become crazier than I was comfortable with.
During my time off I was able to slow down and work through some of my own personal stuff that I rediscovered myself. I connected back to my creative self. It was like I lifted the lid off my soul and music started flooding out. This was big for me. I started facing my fears and sharing my music and trusting that what I had to share was worthy of being in the world.
All of this coincided with another decade coming to an end.
That decade started with my journey into motherhood and saw my 3 beautiful children come into the world. It was also the decade that I launched my first business. As 2020 approached I knew I wanted to slightly shift my focus and expand my offerings. Chirp and Roar is like the new and improved version of Rhythm Station that can also include the grown-ups.
My mission is to empower everybody to become confident and courageous music makers in their homes and in their communities. I believe that music is so much more than learning songs and instruments. It’s a powerful tool for learning across all areas, it’s a powerful tool for healing, and it’s a powerful tool for connecting and moving people. It’s something that everyone can benefit from in some way.
I look forward to meeting you somewhere on this musical adventure and inspiring you to find the music in you. Whether you chirp or roar it’s about expression not perfection.
If you’ve made it to the end of my story…high five!!! That was long but now you know a whole bunch about me and why I am so passionate about what I do.
"Everyone has the gift of music. It is intrinsic to our nature. No one is separate from music; it is within all of us; as well as outside us.
We are all musicians and players of vibration and pulse and motion and silence.
We orchestrate our lives and, to the extent we are in touch with our inner being.
We use music to create a rich and fulfilling existence"
~ Joanne Crandall