Sounds Across Oceans acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which our events stand on, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples of Meanjin, and recognise their continuing connection to the land and waterways.
About Tree of Life
Welcome to The Tree of Life, a transformative community wellbeing initiative designed to nurture the creative, emotional, and social wellbeing of our vibrant seniors community. This innovative workshop program will inspire your inner artist and invigorate your soul through improvised music and movement sessions facilitated by a team of highly skilled teaching artists.
The Tree of Life is a creative workshop program that channels ancient wisdom through the prism of contemporary experimental art. The program draws inspiration from the timeless Tree of Life symbol, a motif employed throughout history and across diverse cultures. This symbol encapsulates our inherent creativity, the richness of our diversity, the interconnectedness that binds us, and the ongoing social and cultural evolution that shapes our shared humanity.
Established in 2020 by SAO artistic director Dr. Anthony Garcia with the support of renowned dancer Sandi Woo, the program, which began as an experiment, has evolved a unique and innovative methodology that integrates improvised music and movement, meditation and reflection to give people the skills and confidence to express themselves in an free, fun and open way.
The skills developed through this program are life affirming, inspire creative thinking, self-reflection and provide important psycho-social tools valuable for everyday life challenges and interactions. Tree of Life participants leave the workshop space with fresh insights on the creative process that can be applied across other areas and aspects of their life.
Book a Program
The program is flexible and adaptive to the needs of diverse communities, spaces and contexts. We have successfully run four, six and eight-week programs across Brisbane, each providing distinct outcomes and opportunities for participants to learn, grow and express. We also have a new digital version of the workshop program for your reference that can be accessed here: Tree of Life Digital
For those seeking the joy of performance, the program can showcase your creative discoveries with impromptu performances, where friends and family can experience the creative process through a delightful morning tea-style gathering.
Who Can Participate: Embrace Your Artistic Journey
The Tree of Life is a dedicated seniors program and warmly welcomes individuals and groups who identify as such, recognizing that creativity knows no bounds and is not limited by age or background. We understand there are no age restrictions on creative expression so if you have a child, relative or younger friend who you’d like to bring they will always be welcome.
Whether you’re an experienced dancer or a beginner taking their first steps, this program invites you to unleash your inner rhythm and voice. For musicians, even rudimentary or intermediate knowledge of an instrument is encouraged, allowing you to further explore your musical talents. All styles and sounds are embraced, and even those without prior experience can enjoy singing and playing percussion instruments, supported by our dedicated team.
The program was designed and implemented by SAO artistic director Dr Anthony Garcia with the support of dancer/producer Sandi Woo and a team of talented teaching artists from diverse cultural and creative backgrounds.
Tree of Life Digital Workshop
The Tree of Life Digital Workshop Program is an online companion to the in-person program mapping the basic skills, exercises and strategies that underpin the method. The program was recorded at the Sandgate Town Hall with the help of volunteers who had participated in previous the workshop program. Sounds Across Oceans would like to thanks volunteer participants; Judy Shields, Kay Winter, Hilly Kessler, Karen Magno and Jennifer Nosovich.
This digital version of the program also includes two guided meditations Inner Peace and Creative Dance supported by beautiful music recorded live at the Sandgate Town Hall.
This digital program was designed by Dr Anthony Garcia with the support of dancer/producer Sandi Woo and a team of teaching artists including: Dheeraj Shrestha (Tabla), Takako Haggarty Nishibori (Koto), Alicia de la Fuente (dance) and Mayo Muto (dance). We are forever grateful for the creative and cultural knowledge, artistic passion and human insights they have shared with participants.
EXPLORE The Tree of Life Digital Workshop Program
PART 1: WELCOME & WARMUP
Program Introduction and Warmup Session
This video is Part 1 of the Tree of Life Digital Workshop Series. It functions both as an explainer for the program and a practical warm up integrating gentle movement exercises and a vocal warm up. The warm up is a great way to get in tune with your body, release tension and ignite your creative energy field.
PART 2: CREATIVE VOCABULARY
Integrated Body Movements and Voice Training
Part 2 of the program demonstrates a series of simple body movements and vocal exercises that we describe as your creative vocabulary. These will be the creative sounds and movements used to explore the improvisation process later in the program. Building on the skills developed through the warm up video, this stage of the process has more shape and structure.
PART 3: CONNECTION
Connecting and Interacting with Others Through Improvised Movement
This video is Part 3 of the series demonstrates ways to connect with others through improvised body movements accompanied by live music. Feel free to play with these ideas and develop your own movements. There is no right or wrong way to approach this exploration.
PART 4: LEARNING TO SING ‘GUIDING ME HOME’
Part 4 of the workshop program teaches you how to use the previous vocal exercises to learn ‘Guiding Me Home’ composed by Dr Anthony Garcia. The skills developed through this exercise also demonstrate how one can improvise with the voice to create original melodies.
PART 5 – GROUP IMPROVISATION
Part 5 of this series is the creative culmination of the program where teaching artists and participants explore a fun collective improvisation based on the ideas and themes developed through the previous 4 videos. The video exemplifies the ultimate goal of the program—to give people the skills and confidence to express themselves in an free, fun and open way.
The skills developed through this program are life affirming, inspire creative thinking, self-reflection and provide important psycho-social tools valuable for everyday life challenges and experiences.
PART 6 – GUIDED MEDITATIONS
After each workshop the group participate in a guided meditation supported by live music. This process gives people the calm space to relax and reflect on what they’ve experienced and learnt throughout each workshop session. After this meditation people are encouraged, but not required, to offer their personal reflections and insights on the experience. Many speak of feeling transformed through the process of improvising and exploring sound and movement in a unique and culturally diverse way. Shifts in perception, an opening up of the heart and mind, a new awareness of the links between creativity, self-expression and day to day life are shared.
The following meditation helps you transition from activity to calm as the music guides you toward a space of reflection and inner peace.
The following meditation encourages you to embrace into your creativity. Stretch, move, or sing along in the most natural way, allowing your inner grace and to flow through you and activate your creative heart.
INSTERT + LOGO: Supported by the Queensland State Government Advancing Seniors Fund