“I was keen to give students an insight into the world of a sound based practice which was not purely oriented around commercial considerations. Abigail achieved this beautifully; her talk was stimulating and insightful. She crafted a performance that was captivating, inspirational and at times challenging but always delivered with grace and compassion. I have no doubt that this was one of those special events that will endure in the hearts and minds of our students long after they have left our institution.”

- Tim Sayer, Senior Lecturer: Digital Media and Communication Technology, University College Plymouth St Mark and St John

Lecturing and giving talks is always an exciting opportunity to live my passion, sharing my work and its more general applications and implications to wider audiences. It is always possible to focus my talks to a specific target audience in a way that can touch and inspire people. Music and death in themselves have universal power in all cultures, and the two together offer a rare opportunity to contemplate the potential force for great comfort to terminally ill patients and their families.

I have noticed that people often feel a sense of powerlessness to help their loved ones when they are dying and there are simple techniques such as breathing with the person and helping them relax by elongating the out breath; this and, more importantly, offering a way to be a loving presence that allows all the complexity of emotions to be there and yet not to be too overwhelming.

It is wonderful to bring this field into the sphere of young people who are so often inured from a sense of their own mortality and that of those close to them. They can lose some sense of the preciousness of life through a lack of direct knowledge of the finite. In a medical system that prioritises specialist clinical treatment to prolong life, we can inadvertently marginalize the sick and the elderly who are dying, and leave them and their families feeling isolated from other possible ways of receiving care and comfort from the wider support of their community during this powerful rite of passage.

As we enter an age which is increasingly dominated by science and technology, whilst confronting diminishing resources; it is perhaps increasingly relevant to introduce the young to age old ways to give comfort, to reintroduce some of the skills of our humanity that have become lost to us and to appeal to that dimension of human conscious that reminds of what unites rather than what separates us; The power to sing and love and offer comfort, the knowledge of death and dying as distressing, but always having the potential to bring with it an enduring kind of peace.

I tailor my talks and workshops to be responsive to the needs of a particular group and welcome input into how to best meet those needs. My talks can include live musical presentations with harp and voice, experiential listening and vocal exercises as well as a power point presentation, and DVD and video materials where appropriate.

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