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About ‘Read the Episode’: Sometimes we would rather skim visually instead of listening to a podcast! That’s a great way to learn too! The transcript to episode 020 of The Crescendo Music Education Podcast is below.

Episode 020 Transcript

Introduction from Debbie

Debbie 0:00
Here is the Crescendo Music Education Podcast – Episode 20. That’s a nice big round number, 20.

In this episode, I chat to Kate Williams, an Associate Professor at QUT. I think you’re going to love listening to her journey, her professional journey and her work with RAMSR. It’s so wonderful, has great implications for our work in the music classroom. Her nuggets of fabulous are, Oh, fabulous. And a nice mic dropping moment when she gets on her soapbox at the end. I’m sure you will love this chat with Kate Williams.

Hello, I would like to welcome Kate Williams to the Crescendo podcast. Hello, Kate.

Kate 1:04
Hello Deb, how are you?

Debbie 1:06
Oh I am fabulous, though winter allergies, but you know, apart from that, all great. Yeah.

Kate 1:12
I understand.

Debbie 1:13
Now, I would like to start by reading your bio, and then we’ll just have a little chat after that. So Kate Williams is an Associate Professor in the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education at QUT, she leads the Center for Child and Family Studies and is Academic Lead (Engagement) for her school. Kate is also a member of the Center for Child Health and Wellbeing, so like so far, you know, Kate’s bio is all about all these things that we believe we do in the music classroom, isn’t it?

Kate 1:47
Totally, yeah.

Debbie 1:48
Okay. Kate’s research aims to address inequities in health, well being and educational outcomes that often arise due to early childhood adversity. She is an expert on children’s development of self regulation, and the parenting educational and intervention contexts that support such, along with the developmental outcomes associated with children’s self regulatory functioning. Now, there’s lots of big words in there. But I reckon this is something that we do so well in music, but we’re probably not aware of what we do. Yeah.

Kate 2:21
I think so sometimes, it’s about the language. Yeah, which is what a lot of the work I do with music educators is just highlighting, elevating the things that they’re already doing into that kind of developmental space.

Debbie 2:32
Love it. This includes children’s regulation of attention, boy, emotion, executive function, and their sleep behaviours, big things. She is also involved in program evaluation, and interested in the measurement of children’s development and wellbeing. Kate is also a registered music therapist, and so is interested in the ways that music can be used to support children’s development. Kate’s evidence based intervention, Rhythm and Movement for Self Regulation, which we just call RAMSR here, is delivered by over 1000 adults internationally. And I’ve done just a brief a workshop in Ramsr. I have a close colleague, Deb Bryden, shout out Deb, who’s done more intensive study, and we chat about it a fair bit, but I will confess, it’s one of these things I really need to get more into because there is

Kate 3:28
It’s on the list Deb, we need to get you into the full course. In fact, we’re thinking about running some full days in Brisbane soon, so.

Debbie 3:34
Okay, put me down.

Kate 3:36
Let’s talk more. Yeah, ok. Sounds good.

Debbie 3:39
Because I think it’s not just a matter of, sweeping generalisation warning here, right? I think we do a lot of this really good stuff in music, but a lot of it we just do, don’t want to say naturally, but

Kate 3:53

Your Rhythm & Movement for Self-Regulation (RAMSR) Work

Debbie 3:54
Instinctually. Part of it is the nature of music. Part of it is the nature of good early childhood practice. I just think that we’re not aware of what we’re doing and if we were made more aware of what we were doing, we could do it more, or what’s the word that I meaning?

Kate 4:11

Debbie 4:12
Yes, intentionally. Exactly.

Kate 4:15
And you could tell everyone else about everything that you’re doing. Yeah.

Debbie 4:18
Yes. Which is actually one of the things that we will get to talk about is advocacy and how we can communicate to people the importance of what happens in the music room. So this will also link really well to that advocacy piece. So I think we should start with you talking about RAMSR are a little more generally for us.

Kate 4:40
Sure. So RAMSR stands for Rhythm and Movement for Self Regulation and this program came about first in around 2016 because I’d actually, I’d had a career as a music therapist working with very young families primarily, and then I did a research Master’s that was on music therapy, but then completely pivoted away from music to look at social emotional development and cognitive development in early childhood for my PhD. So I’d spent three years not looking at music, but instead just looking at children’s self regulation development. And I came to the end of that and I literally said to my mentor, Professor Donna Berthelsen, what do I do now? I don’t know, I don’t know what to do next. You know, I got a job at QUT as an academic, but I had to decide on what my next research project was and Donna said to me, Well, Kate, isn’t it about time that you put the strands of your career together now? And what she meant by that is why don’t you bring your background in music therapy, to now your knowledge of developmental psychology in the ways children develop their self regulation, and put it together into something useful? And I was like, well, yeah, I should have thought of that myself. It took somebody else, you know, to have that light bulb moment. So RAMSR came about, which is a program designed to bring in all of the neuroscience about how our brain perceives rhythm and beat and how those systems work with the motor system. And it packages up in a way that even people with no music background at all can deliver for young children, so that they get that practice in rhythm and movement and embedded in all of those activities, executive function and self regulation practice. So that’s what RAMSR is and we’ve studied it now in a couple of experimental designs and have good effects for children who participate in RAMSR compared to those who don’t, show steeper growth in school readiness, attentional, behavioural and cognitive regulation, and reduced behavioural problems. So thumbs up. Yeah, so now we’re training as many people as would like to, to access the resources and use them in their work. And even though it is targeted Deb, for those who don’t have a music background, we actually get a whole lot of music educators and music therapists in the course and what they’re saying is some of those things that you were saying Deb, it’s like yeah, this is kind of the stuff that we’re already doing and certainly there’s nothing new under the sun. Like it’s not like we invented body percussion games or that kind of stuff. But we’ve just, we’ve given people the language around them and target skills, what are you actually targeting here in terms of the non musical skills that you’re building? How can you observe that these are happening for the children and just speaking to a music educator down the road the other day, and she was saying, Oh, the language now I can talk about what I’m doing. And I know what I can see inside the brain, and I can work out what’s happening. So that’s really exciting. That’s what RAMSR is doing?

Debbie 7:35
Yes. Oh, that’s, well, I definitely have to get in, get stuck in Yeah, we will do that. The thing that’s in my head at the moment, is, are these difficult things to measure these these outcomes, the positive outcomes for children, like you see it in the music room, and you know, is measuring an issue?

Kate 7:56
Not really, you’d be surprised, we’ve been I mean, we’ve been researching self regulation and executive function for a couple of decades now. So we’ve got pretty good measures. I mean, they’re not perfect, no measures are ever perfect. One of the best measures that we found in RAMSR is actually a kind of fairly systematic, just a one page scaled report that any teacher or parent can do based on their observations of children. And, you know, some in the scientific world might criticise that as not being a direct assessment of children. But in fact, we know through the research that teachers are very good, as you know Deb, at observing how well children are able to pay attention, regulate their emotions and behaviours. And their reports of the ways children do that, or, and grow in those behaviours are incredibly predictive of things way down the track, like NAPLAN, school completion, all those kinds of things. So teachers know what they’re seeing. They know how to observe it. We give them this one page of scales, and it works quite beautifully. It’s not hard to measure.

Debbie 9:00
So is it the sort of thing that obviously we’d like to see embedded in our classrooms starting in prep?

Kate 9:07
Well prior to prep I would say but yeah.

Debbie 9:10
Oh, gosh, yes. If you had access to pre-prep, I guess. Yes. But you just embed it across the board, it would be that sort of thing. And that and if you’re lucky enough to have a music specialist, the specialist teacher would enhance or do you think it might also be worth putting in almost like, intervention programs as well, like so in a school if we’re talking about like a state school in Queensland that starts at four year olds, it’s sort of obvious fairly quickly, who are the kids that really are, need that little extra help with self regulation, that extra support? Do you think forming some, like a really cool intervention program with those kids would help or would you recommend it more just across the board and those kids would be swept up in the across the board.

Highlights of your journey as a Music Educator

Kate 10:05
It’s an interesting question Deb and I think we would need to do some, I’d love to do some research and try both approaches. So, so far research has been universal approaches where the whole group receives RAMSR, but they have been in very low socioeconomic communities. So that’s where many of the children you know, have many gains to make in self regulation, let’s put it that way. There’s a lot of room for growth. So there’s a couple of pros and cons about those different approaches I think, we do know that those more competent peers in the group can be really helpful for students. So if you think about a universal approach, then you’re going to have those kinds of different levels of developmental capabilities. And those more competent peers are going to be potentially great role models, you will also get that I mean, one of the side benefits I think you get, because RAMSR gets groups moving in synchrony with each other as this idea of interpersonal synchrony, which actually builds social cohesion and empathy. So in terms of inclusive environments, that can be some of the really nice ideas about doing it universally. You can also have different levels of participation within all of the activities. So you might have children who are, yeah, I’m all over this, this is easy. They’re experiencing success, but you can challenge them in a slightly different way, give them leadership roles, while supporting the others who aren’t quite there yet. However, I do think there’s also a role, there could be a role for those into additional support intervention groups, I guess, it just depends on the sort of philosophy that you want to take around inclusion or around more intensive supports, and we just don’t have the answer research wise yet, when I do, we do have some music therapists using RAMSR, for those more intensive end of supports, and finding that that that works. So I guess it depends on the context, Deb, and you know, everyone who trains in RAMSR has license to just kind of use it, how it suits their context, pull it apart, put it back together again, in a different way. Use it with one individual, children use it with big groups, small groups, so it’s all up for grabs.

Debbie 12:06
Yeah, I’d love that. Plenty of possibilities ticking away. I love it. And you’ve had an interesting career, you gave us that bit of a summary, how you’ve worked in those different areas, what would you consider to be a highlight or highlights? You’re allowed to have more than one, of your journey? Well, just generally, music education, but also in your other more general fields, what would be a highlight do you think?

Kate 12:31
Oh gosh, there is so many actually. So one, early on, I did begin music education and I was in it in a school, a secondary school with a very, very small music program. So putting together a balanced ensemble was next to impossible. But we managed to cobble one together and I, and do the school’s first musical that I was musical director of. And so that was really exciting. Because, you know, it wasn’t, it wasn’t a big production, because the school just didn’t have the students, the staff or the resources. But we gave those students that opportunity and did a, you know, a short season of that musical. And that was great fun, I had to, I did have to rope in a few old uni mates to kind of fill the gaps in the ensemble and that kind of thing that we didn’t have, but, but that was great fun. That was a real experience. I think I’ll always remember also my very first clinical placement as a student music therapist, where I worked in a burns unit at the then Royal Children’s Hospital, and had a case there, a young toddler who had been in a car that had kind of spontaneously combusted, and she’d experienced really severe burns and so my job was to work with her intensive rehabilitation. So of course, the physios and the occupational therapists are trying to get into this, get this young girl to do exercises with her very burnt hands. And that’s painful and not something a toddler wants to do. But give her a castanet or a shaker, play some guitar, play some of her favourite songs, she would then you know, participate in some of those rehab things with that sort of distraction and that that element of music that was wrapped around some of the therapies that other people were trying to do with her, as well as using music therapy as distraction during her baths when they were changing dressings, and it was very painful. So that was something I’ll always remember as you know, one of my highlights in terms of how music therapy can support young children. I did also love as when I was working for Sing and Grow. I had a couple of programs in the Brisbane women’s prison and where women were living there with the young infants and children. And I’ll always remember trying to get my guitar Deb, my guitar and percussion case. But you know, through security there I think they thought I was smuggling in something ridiculous and the guitar wouldn’t go in the you know, wouldn’t go in the scanner. So I’d had to go on it standing up in the body scanner and be body scanned and it was it was a bit of fun. That it was a real privilege to be able to work in there in a very unique environment where children are living in unusual circumstances with their mothers and I’ve had so many of those opportunities along the way working with parents in the child protection system who are trying to build those, rebuild those bonds with their children who may have been removed and may be coming back into their custody. So lots of highlights, certainly the fact that now sometimes I will visit a center for for a different reason, visit an early childhood center or a school or be talking to a teacher and they’ve heard about RAMSR and they’re doing RAMSR. And it’s because they’ve been inside one of our courses. I can’t keep track of everyone who’s in there, because every year we have hundreds and hundreds of people enroll and do the course. But it’s just so amazing to then go out there and have somebody say to me, oh, have you heard of this thing called RAMSR. Oh yeah, that’s awesome.

Debbie 15:45
Oh yeah yeah yeah I’ve heard of that

Kate 15:47
Yeah, so even though even a friend the other day, who runs a business out of a beauty business out of her own home, she said, Oh, I was waxing somebody’s legs the other day? And she said, Yeah, I’ve been doing this in my classroom, it’s this thing. And she said, that’s my friend, you know, developed that. So they’re all really great highlights.

Debbie 16:05
Oh that’s wonderful. I don’t the burns unit, and the women’s prison and my heavens, just it sounds all a little bit heartbreaking.

Kate 16:16
Yeah, I mean, I think it can be, I guess, the way that I handled doing that work is knowing that, well, if I didn’t, if I wasn’t there doing that work, those things would still be happening, that child was still be in hospital burnt, and those those children would still be living in prison with their mothers. And it you know, it wouldn’t change anything if I kind of couldn’t be there or refuse to be there. So I guess I just tried to add value, you know, where, where I can and make it and now that I’m, I suppose more further on in my career, I’m trying to look for leadership roles in for example, I’m co-convening a working group in the Thriving Queensland Kids partnership, trying to make really systems level change for children in Queensland to to support their development, improve wellbeing and outcomes. So I think you gain those experiences, and then, you know, look for opportunities to make changes at the system’s level that will make a difference.

Debbie 17:08
Wow, that’s so lovely to hear. Oh, almost a bit emotional, isn’t it? Okay. What thank you for doing that. Because we need people like you to be fighting for the kids.

Kate 17:18
We all try. I mean, everyone’s yeah, there’s a big group, like you do with your advocacy work, Deb, you know, all we can do is keep trying and chipping away, can’t we?

Debbie 17:26
Yeah, we can only do what we can do. Yes.

Kate 17:28
That’s right.

Most Influential Person in Your Life

Debbie 17:29
All right. Now can you tell us about any people or particular person, person, people who’ve been influential in your life? Obviously, the lady who suggested you meld your two, your two areas together? That was a pretty big influence? Who else would you like to mention?

Kate 17:46
Yeah, so definitely Professor Donna Berthelsen, you know, a mentor I talked about before, she’s I met her long before my PhD when she was evaluating a senior growth program that I was helping to lead. And then she supervised both my masters and PhD and then you know, basically told me what I should do when I grow up, which is always very helpful when somebody else can see from the outside what you should do. She’s still a great colleague and a mentor that I work with a lot. Umm I guess personally, thinking about, you know, my Mum and my Grandmother, I come from a line of strong women, I would say, but they both grew up in kind of highly adverse and disadvantaged circumstances and both worked hard to break that cycle and particularly my Mum, you know, providing me with all of the opportunities that I possibly could particularly music, I mean, she just nobody else before me in my family was necessarily musical at all. Nobody had had a musical education. In fact, before me nobody had completed high school Deb, I would have been the first in my family to complete high school and go to university. But I think what happened is Mum kind of accidentally got me a secondhand little awful now but little electronic keyboard when I was quite small, and I was working out playing things by ear and she thought, you know, gosh goodness, I don’t know where she got that from but then the opportunity came up, of course, because of our amazing Queensland instrumental music program that is the envy of the world. I went to a state school and was able to pick up an instrument in grade five, I think

Debbie 19:21
Yeah, which instrument?

Kate 19:22
Saxophone but of course, I’d done recorder first Deb, the good old recorder. And now the recorder is much maligned. Yeah, I always tell people, it’s the beginning of everything. Like don’t don’t knock the recorder.

Debbie 19:34
And you know, if anybody has heard the recorder played well, you would never say that and even even in classrooms, you know, this, I challenge anybody if you let Oh, of course, if you let the kid out in the playground with their recorder, it’s going to sound aweful obviously, but really, in classrooms with a trained music educator. It’s going to sound lovely.

Kate 20:01
And you’re getting, getting the basics for all children with an inexpensive instrument. Yeah, so anyway started off recorder with my with my music educator in the classroom during the little recorder, a marching band that we had back in those days, with my little epaulets and my my little uniform, socks pulled up high to my knees, and then saxophone. And yep, I guess, coming back to Mum, all of that, of course, was enabled through the state school system. But of course, there’s only so far you can go with that. And in the end, I was loving it so much my Mum would have scraped together the cash to get me private music lessons. She paid for my AMEB exams to go through on, you know, saxophone and flute. She bought me a professional level instrument in year 10. And those were not easy things, financially for her to do, but she just supported me all the way. And I’m just so grateful for that. So that’s that’s the person I would name.

Debbie 21:01
Wow. Yes. Thank you. Thanks, Kate’s Mum, and Grandma

Kate 21:05
Yeah, thanks Kate’s Mum Anna

Debbie 21:06
And lovely that Queensland and the state system was part of that. That’s, that was so wonderful to hear. Can I ask which school? Where did you go to school?

Kate 21:16
I went to Redland Bay State School and then Cleveland District High School

Debbie 21:20
Go the state system. We can’t lose what we’ve got. Can we?

Kate 21:24
Definitely not.

Debbie 21:25
Anyway, we shan’t go off on that tangent, but anybody listening? Anyone listening?

Kate 21:31
It’s the, Queensland is the envy of Australia and the world. So I’ve got relatives down south who look at our Queensland State system and come up and listen to my children play in their state high school concerts and just cannot believe the sheer size of the program, the professionalism of the program, we cannot back away from this and it’s not about creating 1000s and 1000s of professional musicians, although some students will end up there, but it’s what it’s doing for us developmentally, socially. Yeah, we just have to continue.

For what are you most grateful?

Debbie 22:06
Yes. Thank you so much. I could not agree more. I want to jump through the screen and high five. Yeah. Yeah, we can’t lose it. We just can’t lose it. So thank you for reinforcing that. So if we talk about gratitude, because on these podcasts, I always like talking about gratitude because sometimes, you know, the turkeys get you down, things get a little bit tough and you’ve got to remind yourself, wow, we’ve got so much to be grateful for, would there be anything specifically you like to list for which you are grateful?

Kate 22:44
Gosh, that’s a really long list. I mean, I’ve already talked about some of the opportunities that have been afforded to me by our state school system, and by my, by my Mum, and the mentorship and generosity that others provide, across my career that I have tried to really pass on, the team around me at the moment, developing, who’ve been developing RAMSR, alongside me and supporting it are just just amazing. So a big shout out to Rebecca Egar, Sally Savage, Kathy Nielsen, and Laura Bentley, who here at QUT provide the support for the research for RAMSR, we co-develop it together, we really co-own it and run the whole thing. So without their support that I’m so grateful for it wouldn’t have happened the way it has for sure. And also one more person I really have to think would have to be my darling husband. We’ve been together for over 20 years now, some some date. And, you know, he took his long service leave back in 2013. Not so we could go on some amazing trip or anything like that but so I could finish writing my PhD thesis, so he took his long service leave.

Debbie 23:53
Oh that’s true love. That is true love.

Kate 23:55
I know. He took his long service leave. He looked after our two young children. We had two under school aged children, looked after them ran the whole house so that I could write and get that thing done. So thanks Tim. That’s pretty amazing. Yeah,

Debbie 24:09
Absolutely. Yeah. Gratitude to him. Yes. Yeah, I’ve got you. Okay, now we’re up to my Nuggets of fabulous. So, advice, I know you get to work with at a different sort of level to us, coalface people that just has the sausage factory of you know, 25-30 kids at a time. But you would have a different view from where you’re standing and where you work most of the time. I’d love to know if you have any tips, tricks, thoughts, inspiration advice to give to people listening?

‘Nuggets of Fabulous’

Kate 24:44
Yeah, a couple of things. So let’s start with educators own well being so I reckon I, have a think about the music that you’re listening to on your way to work or on your way home from work, or at home. I mean, are you thinking about that? Are you thinking about your musical diet, what makes you feel good? And what sets your arousal levels and energy levels for the day? Or are you just throwing on the radio kind of thing, which is fine, I do that all the time as well, I get lazy with it. But if I really feel like I need a bit of an extra boost, or a bit of me time, could I think about there’s something from my musical menu that might just put me in that right mood or the right frame of mind to hit the next class or to hit that kind of difficult day or difficult timetable that I’ve got. So look, after your own musical diet and your own well being? That’s for sure number one. Number two, can you have more fun? I mean, I think we have sometimes forgotten how to have fun, right? And if the music educators can’t have fun, then nobody’s having fun can I just say, so I know, there’s serious curriculum to get through, you know, there’s reluctant learners, there’s self regulation challenges. But can we find ways to have fun alongside and with the children? Can we do something where we let the music be the teacher, and we can become a participant with, alongside the children, because that creates a kind of different relationship that music educators can have with children, that classroom teachers who must always be the leader must always be at the front must always be instructing. They don’t necessarily get the opportunity to be music community members, alongside children. So what, what could you do? Could you dance with them? You know, alongside that, can you be a participant and number three, I’ll stick to three, would be when the children you know, walk into your room, can you do a two minute rhythm and movement activity of some sort that acts as a barometer of where children are at with their neural organisation, right. So if you can observe for a couple of minutes, some sort of beat synchronisation activity where your children are needing to move to the beat, or something like that. And if you can put you’ll get your finger on the pulse and clock, who’s really having a lot of trouble getting on that beat and staying on that beat, you might then clock that they’re not quite ready to learn that day or there, something’s going on for them, depending on how well you know the children, maybe they’re normally on the beat, but today they’re off, or maybe they’re just kind of off all the time. And that’s not developmentally, that is developmentally appropriate when children are really young, you know, they’re not going to be on the beat. But music educators know when that kind of sort of starts to kick in naturally. And I just think that gives you basically what I would call a window to the brain, one 60 seconds, 120 seconds, couple of minutes of some sort of fun, beat synchronisation, warm up movement activity, you’ve got a window into their brains at that point, and you might just see where everyone’s at and take it from there.

Debbie 27:50
They are definitely nuggets are fabulous. And yes, I could not agree more, we really do have to look after our own well being and that idea of a musical diet or a musical menu. I like that, I have to confess that for me, I very, at this point, I very rarely listen to music for me, like ever.

Kate 28:11
Hard to find the time, isn’t it?

Debbie 28:13
It is, it is, and it’s also partly a choice, I want to listen to, there’s some fabulous podcasts that I love. You know, so I guess it’s also a choice but I should remind myself to maybe get have a look at my musical diet. And the more fun, I just think that’s such an advantage of having the job that we’ve got, we get to play the games with the children, we get to be just one of them. We get to be out as well if the beat happens to land on us or whatever. So, but that more fun and the two minute activity at the beginning. I love love, love, love, love.

Kate 28:49
Great, glad they are helpful.

Debbie 28:49
Thank you for your nuggets. Yeah. Now, advocacy. We’ve already talked about it but really everywhere in the world I’m sure music teachers at some point have to justify their position. Whether it’s even saving the state of music education in a system or just in your school, what advice could you give us around advocacy? And I’m sure that some of it will be becoming aware of the great things that we do in the classroom around things like self regulation, well being but how do we I guess it’s increasing awareness of that but also communicating that. So what sort of advice would you give us?

Advocacy for Music Educators & Get On Your Soapbox

Kate 29:32
I think the more you can arm yourself with knowledge and language, as you say Deb, and even hard evidence, right? So some people will want some sort of hard evidence and that can be collected through things like talking to classroom teachers about how children are before music as opposed to after music because they theoretically might go back to the classroom with a different level of learning arousal and a different level of kind of intrtpersonal synchrony and group cohesion. So I think collecting some data arming yourself with the knowledge and the language to talk about the non musical aspects. Now, this can seem such a shame, I think, to some people, so not, you know, if you’re teaching mathematics, you don’t have to justify that as well as, as well as learning mathematics you’re actually learning, you know, problem solving and spatial reasoning and you kind of doing all this other stuff. But somehow we’ve got to the point with music curriculum, where music curriculum is, you know, learning pitch melody, harmony, notation isn’t enough. We have to be justifying all of the other things that this is actually improving. But I think that’s just I think that’s just where we’re at and we’re just going to have to accept it. I mean the jury, the jury is out in terms of it’s absolutely clear, sorry, it’s not out, the jury is clear that on balance, you know, music education, at least a couple of years of music education started relatively young, is providing lifelong brain changes in terms of neural architecture, just the size of of the brain and this supports language development, it supports all other areas of development as well. I think in terms of social synchrony, particularly coming out of COVID, where we’re all kind of locked down and we never moved together, we weren’t even in the same space, I think we’ve got a real place now for arguing around how instrumental ensembles, choirs, dancing together, any of those things that you do in a group with rhythm and support will actually be rebuilding those social bonds and improving empathy. So there’s scientific experiments where we, we do things like take some toddlers and have them move in time, in time with a stranger and then take another group of toddlers and have them move out of time with a stranger. And those toddlers who have moved in time with the stranger, are more helpful, more empathetic, a better playmate than those who moved out of time. You know, and one of my theories is why those All Black, I don’t even watch football. I don’t even how I know about them. I know about them because of the haka because I love to see, you know, those those, that all black team. Apparently they’re pretty amazing at Rugby. Right? And I reckon one of the reasons is they play like an amazing team because they do that haka at the beginning and they move in time and rhythmically with each other. So literally, their brain synchrony is locked onto each other and they play amazingly. So you know, Australia should develop its, learn from its traditional owners and develop some sort of group synchronous movement tradition, and maybe we’d win more games as well. I don’t know, that’s bad, are there any sport lovers around, listening to you Deb. Please forgive me for my lack of sports knowledge.

Debbie 32:47
No, I love it and I’m with you. The haka is my only favourite bit too. And yeah, we should come up with that and just come up with an Australian version. Yeah, I love that.

Kate 33:00
Yeah, First Nations people probably already have many. And, you know, we’ve got a lot to learn there I think from First Nations ways of being and using movement, movement, rhythm and movement. You know, for social cohesion. I think there’s a lot we can learn there.

Debbie 33:13
Yeah, absolutely. Good. That sounds like another PhD for you.

Kate 33:17
Yeah. Probably husband would say no. But yes, somebody’s PhD. If you’d like to do it, come see me.

Debbie 33:27
Oh, I love it. Okay, can I really, really, really enjoyed this chat, and I appreciate you taking the time to come on the podcast. And to finish off though, I’d like to invite you to get on your soapbox and you get to finish the interview by telling the world something that you really want to tell them the most important message you’d like to give them. No pressure.

Kate 33:52

Debbie 33:52
Just , you’ve said so many really important things. And hopefully lots of people after this will go look up RAMSR, oh we’ll put we’ll put some links in the show notes of course.

Kate 34:04
Yeah. Great. Just through the RAMSR QUT.

Debbie 34:07
Where would it be best for people to catch you if they want to connect with you? Obviously, they’ll Google RAMSR and we’ll put links but do you have a favourite platform or some way to connect?

I’m on LinkedIn professionally. So you can look it up on LinkedIn for sure. Yeah. But always happy to chat with people. You’ll find my email on the QUT website. If you just Google Kate Williams QUT, and the whole team is profiled on the RAMSR QUT website. You can enroll in the course online there and we’ll also be offering some in person days soon, hopefully. So yeah, I’d love to connect with anyone who’s interested. In terms of my soapbox, gosh, look, I’m all around. A country like Australia should not have the inequities that we do and for some of us who are privileged to live in, you know, the world that I live in largely which is kind of the majority white middle class, well educated world, it’s easy to not really acknowledge or know about the inequities that are out there but we’ve got, you know, older women and young children, the most rapidly rising population of homeless in Australia, we have inequitable access to health care and education in rural and remote communities, we don’t pay our educators of any kind enough money Deb, we don’t acknowledge them as the brain builders, that they are both music educators and other educators. So we have a lot of work to do to to make this a more equitable society, we kind of talk about Australia with everyone having a fair go but unfortunately, it’s just not the case. So we need to be cognizant in everything that we do about that. And that’s one of the reasons that the RAMSR vision has been absolutely strong from the get go that it’s about all adults, no matter where they are, in which children they work with having these skills and confidence to use this kind of low resource, low cost program wherever they are and that’s what we aim to do. So. And that’s why we have some scholarships too Deb. I didn’t mention those but we offer free course access on application to people from developing nations, rural and remote Australia, pre service, you know, students with educational music who might not be able to afford that course fee. So I think, yeah, my soapbox is just never ever, ever assume that there’s equity out there, and what are you doing to address inequity?

We have to finish on that Mic drop. Thank you so much, Kate.

Kate 36:26
It’s a pleasure. Thanks so much for your time and the invitation Deb.

Debbie 36:44
I appreciate you and all of my colleagues, and hope this episode has been enjoyable and useful. Don’t forget, you’ll find the show notes on I’d love a share, rate or review to help other music educators find this podcast. All I can be is the best version of me. All you can do is be the best you. Until next time, bye.

As we know, laughter relieves stress. Don’t lose sight of the funny side of life. Why do bananas have to use sunscreen? Because they were afraid they might peel.

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Contact Kate via Email ( or Linkedin

Join the RAMSR Community HERE.

Where to find me:

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