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March 30, 2019

I held my breath as my Concert Choir sightread an entire piece unaccompanied + in tune this morning. They were so excited they broke into spontaneous applause + cheers at the end, with plenty of ceremonial back-slapping in the tenors + basses.

This is new and magical territory for us. 😊

Oh, I wonder where we’ll be by the end of the year…! 🌟

the music teacher’s sixth sense

March 11, 2019 1 Comment

Sir Year 12 explaining my perfect pitch to Sir Year 10:

“So Ms Kwok *HEARS STUFF* in the same way that creepy kid sees dead people in ‘The Sixth Sense’…”

I’m feeling weirdly complimented. 😆

And here’s the version I taught at this year’s Festival of Music opening conference. 😆

Fabulous game which is suitable for Year 5 through to Year 8, although my Year 11s still love it. It works through coordination with a partner who is “pounding” the pulse, and the fun and humour come through the possibility of getting pummelled if your pounder is not strong at keeping the given pulse, or gets distracted!

The difference in pace from my previous video! 😂

Jacko was a champ coming up to be the official rice pounder. 😁

the japanese rice pounding game!

March 10, 2019

This year, I taught the Japanese Rice Pounding game to the choir trainers + accompanists of Festival of Music. It’s a fabulous coordination game which teaches independence between pulse + rhythm, and I will post a video of me demonstrating it following this one.

A colleague sent me this and I just had to share; here is the real deal!

For those of you who have done the Japanese Rice Pounding game with me, have a look at THIS version! 😳

We are TAME! The Aussie laid-back version! 😂

fastest rice pounder + the japanese rice pounding game

March 10, 2019


March 2, 2019

Sir Year 12 explains muso life to Sir Year 10:

Sir Year 10: “Is Concert Choir on this week?”

Sir Year 12: “So basically there could be flash flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes, erupting volcanos, snowstorms, and tsunamis, and Concert Choir will still be on.”

Listen + learn, my little grasshopper. 😎

cold-blooded killer

June 2, 2018

I am a cold-blooded killer.

You know when you’re in the middle of a choir rehearsal and the time is more SUPER-PRECIOUS than usual, and some form of insect life threatens to derail the absolute thread of concentration you’ve got going on with your choir?

That was this morning for me. We needed every minute and a huntsman spider was starting to unravel my Sop I section.

Me, totally on a mission: “Right, where is it?!”

They had it cornered on the edge of the wall.

I FLATTENED that spider. Take no prisoners. The GASP from my Sops! 😆 It was big enough that there was a sizable spatter on the floor, and juicy enough that I could feel the gross + revolting SLIDE of spider internal organs under my boot.

There were the usual reactions, and then, a tremulous Year 7 voice said:

“But what if it had a FAMILY?!”

It was honestly too funny.

So today, I am a murderer.

These guys are F A B U L O U S!

But what I love best?! The pure, goofy, joy of singing. They’re great, they’re rehearsed, but they’re also just guys who are having fun singing.




April 14, 2018

choral commission: waging peace 1000-voice choir

July 15, 2017

I have been commissioned to compose a choral work for the 2nd MOD Exhibition for WOLTATTI 2018, which will premiere during September 2018 to January 2019. The piece will be for a 1000+ voice choir made up of all ages and ability levels, all socio-economic backgrounds, and is a connecting point and representation of the diversity of our community.

Here is the summary of the project:

The second MOD exhibition,  WAGING PEACE, will invite visitors to consider the role of machines and technology in creating peaceful futures. visitors will be taken on a thought-provoking journey that will explore what peace means and look at ways that ware and conflict can be invested to find alternative drivers of peace. The exhibition will examine the role defence plays in creating safe societies, the ethics of war and violence, as well as opportunities for peaceful engagement and community building. WAGING PEACE will also ask students and artists to challenge the role of machines in waging war by responding with their own machines for peace as a means to inspire change for the future. 

“War appears to be as old as mankind, but peace is a modern invention.” [Sir Henry Maine]

I’m just starting to think in all directions about the project and how I might incorporate different layers of sounds, and different vocal abilities to represent connection, how we all fit together in a community, and how the sum of all the parts is far greater than a solo voice, as powerful as that may be. That a solo voice CAN start the ripple effect for peace.

I’m so thrilled to be part of a project that resonates with me, and that I’m excited and challenged to think about!

Here is my rough, first draft of the lyrics, hand-written + freshly typed up!

WAGING PEACE: “Dreaming of a Peace Unknown”

Who are we without song?

Song of life? Connecting point?

Dance of energy and light.

Who are we without creative forces connecting us?

Connecting points guiding us

Into the humanness of falling and being?

We are living dancing souls

Constantly challenging perceptions

Constantly changing directions

Of how we think and grow

We must live completely


We have the life force in our hands, and it can go any way we choose

Why not the way of peace?

Does it have to be a declaration of cleverness, spite, or ingenuity?

Do we have to create waves that do not serve our hearts?

Why can’t we take it all down, take away the words, the shards, the pulses of pain

And just be, simple and sacred in our truth?

Some other place and time?

Using the mind to inspire, not inflict pain

War appears as old as mankind,

Struggle is the defining lifeblood of us,

But peace?

Is as old as we know, and a new invention.

A new creation

What we imagine cannot come into being without quiet strength

True strength is gentle

What is innovation and creativity without humanity?

And shouldn’t everything start with the most personal of persons?

What is art without a soul behind it?

What is song without a lifeline dancing?

We can make whatever we want…why not quiet?

Why not peace?

Why not deep connected peace, in love and quiet courage?

What not peace?

Let it be peace.

under da sea + dad jokes.

April 14, 2017

I’ve become one of THOSE teachers, the ones with the cringe-worthy Dad jokes.

We’re singing Disney’s “Under Da Sea” in Grammarphones, so I thought I’d share this little gem in rehearsal this morning:

“So, which one is the odd one out?
a. Prawn
b. Ms Kwok stuck under a bus
c. Tuna
d. Lobster

c. Tuna, because the other 3 are “CRUSHED-ASIANS”

The collective groan could be heard from Burra.

“seen completely”, lyrics + a tiny peek of the score

April 28, 2016


I have been commissioned to write a choral piece for Hillcrest Christian College in Queensland.

This choir is directed by the wonderful Jenny Moon, whom I’ve had the pleasure to know and work with through Gondwana Voices + the Pemulwuy Choral Festival.

There were a number of possibilities on how I could approach this commission, but the idea I decided on was a modern take on Psalm 139.

Here are the lyrics, the draft, and the final versions.


Psalm 139: Modern Version Draft Lyrics

Written for Hillcrest Choir April 2016

You see me completely for all that I am

You walk beside me in repose

You hold one hand of my heart, and I the other

You know my travels, my will, my peace, my fire

My thoughts flowing in faith

And you carry me still

You love me still

There are days I walk alone

Recklessly, defiantly

I think that I am free, but I am less free than I know

In the pocket of your love

I can go anywhere

And you walk with me once again, without questioning me

No matter the turn of light,

The colour of my heart

The direction of my journey

The momentum of my words

You are the same

You are the same

There is nowhere I can hide, even though I stand alone

Not even in my darkness

Not even in my light

You see me for all that I am

And it is beautiful.

But there is a more beautiful freedom, I am learning

To be free

Is the wonder of being seen, completely.


And the final version: 

Title: Seen Completely

You see me more than I can see myself

You know me more than I can know myself

I stand in my own simple truth

And You, love me

You walk with me when I don’t ask You to

You hold my hand and I don’t know it

I stand here, only knowing part of myself

And You, love me

You hear the pulse of my willing heart

The fire that glows

And I cannot hide from You

And I never want to hide

I walk alone longing to be seen by You

I walk alone, You are here

Not the turn of light

Not my turn of face

Not the step I take

Not the whispered words

Will ever stop You from knowing me

You will know

You see me more than I can see myself

You know me more than I can know myself

I stand in my own simple truth

And You, love me.