Music Collaboration Reveal!

Music collaboration reveal for the book launch event on June 17!

Ambient music duo Lakewater will join me to add music to the poetry I will be performing, all from Just Leaves.

2pm at the Owen Sound Library

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Kaleidoscope Music now in PCM Hub

The documentation that I created for Kaleidoscope Music is now available in the Participatory Creative Music Hub project database. I’m thrilled to be included alongside other interesting creative community projects.

I’ve been testing the framework with  groups of children during a two year pilot, and I’ve successfully used many of the activities with adults also. The activities work particularly well with piano, and I used them with voice and ukulele as well. Most could be adapted to any instrument (or even no instruments, with only voice and body percussion). Group music lessons are wonderful ways of building not only musical skills, but creative and collaborative skills that transfer beyond musical settings. Music making is a powerful way to connect with other people, and I believe it’s essential that we introduce young people to the power of music with playfulness and curiosity.

Please feel free to share the link to this resource. I created it with the intention of musicians, educators, and parents being able to use the information for their own music-making initiatives.

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Announcement: OAC Literary Creation (Works for Performance)

I’ve been taking my time to find the moment to announce this project. It’s big news for me and it’s been years in the making.

I’m honoured that I was selected to receive support from the OAC Literary Creation (Works for Performance) program, to create and record a new audio poetry collection titled Child in the Mist: (un)known influence.

I am using source text from my great-grandmother’s 1933 parenting handbook, The Child in the Midst, to create new work using erasure and cut-up poetry techniques. The final audio pieces will be released as a recording of spoken word poetry with accompanying sound art.

The project is already challenging and rewarding.

This representation of rebirth of matriarchal wisdom, through transforming text across time and generations, raises questions for me as an an interdisciplinary artist about how I engage with the creative process to uncover themes and understanding. I’m working in ways that are deeply personal and yet intertwined with so many stories beyond my own. My perspective is shifting as I find new ways to consider legacy and family history, reckon with my own identity as a creating mother in interrelation with my community, and seek to better understand my ancestors and myself through grappling with the words of a prolific and driven woman in a complex global context.

The photo to the left is an image of my great-grandmother, Lucy Winifred Bryce, with her younger sister. She was not yet Bryce but still Robinson in this photo. She was born in Japan, daughter of Canadian missionaries. People say I looked like her as a child.

If you’d like to hear more about what I’m doing, you can follow along on instagram @bylaurenbest or join my email list.

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Praise for Just Leaves from Richard-Yves Sitoski

I’m so excited to reveal the first blurb/review for Just Leaves, written by Richard-Yves Sitoski, Owen Sound Poet Laureate 2019-2023.

It’s the first written declaration regarding Just Leaves from someone other than me, and I’m grateful that it is from an esteemed colleague.

He’ll be reading poetry at my book launch in June, but you find him on stage even sooner! He will be performing his one-person show Butterfly Tongue June 8 and 10 at Grey Roots Museum and Archives. Info and tickets at:

“In Just Leaves, Lauren Best comes to grips with words as emotional vehicles in all their mutability, a task more challenging than catching minnows with bare fingers. The process can be frightening, requiring the exposure of vulnerabilities, but Best is categorical: there must be ‘no story left unturned’. She also knows what counts: compassion, caring, curiosity and creativity are at the heart of her practice as a cultural worker, and she brings these to her exploration of inner states as much as to her conclusions on poetry itself. Her reckoning with the trickiness of language leads to some exciting conclusions, such as that ‘letters don’t / make sounds / with dependable angles’. Perhaps the strongest part of the book is the section entitled Kitchen, which explores recipes at once as instructions to be followed and also as complex narratives in themselves, containing intricate (often bewildering) histories. Most significantly, recipes possess emergent properties: recipes are greater than the sum of their instructions, as they physically bring together disparate things—things often sourced from places that are worlds apart in time and space—to create new wholes greater than the sum of their parts. Equally rewarding is fire side (late watch), Best’s extended and wide-ranging meditations during an all-night vigil. This is not a dark night of the soul, but a reckoning with the self, between the self and an unnamed addressee, and between the self and the outside world. The conclusion of this section comes with a categorical demand that could stand for the entire book’s thesis: the only way to read and express the universe is through poetry.”

Richard-Yves Sitoski, Owen Sound Poet Laureate 2019-2023

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World Creativity and Innovation Day celebration

I’m planning something special for World Creativity and Innovation Day…
and also to celebrate Poetry Month 2023.
I’m doing a pop-up celebration series on IG Live!

9am EST
Poetry Reading and Creative Voice Practices (I’ll be sharing poetry, and then leading creative practices focused on singing and embodiment inspired by ACE Voice including some of personal favourite ways to have fun)

10am EST
Q&A with my poetry book designer
(we talk self-publishing, collaborating with other creatives, and working across different art forms- she’s also an experienced video editor!)

PLUS surprise evening improvisation: movement, poetry, music in collaboration with Adela of Wildflower Dance Arts
(yes, live collaborative improv.. watch for us after 8pm EST)

Catch all of these with me on IG Live @bylaurenbest
Have a question for the Q&A? Something you hope to see during the voice creative practices? Connect with me and let me know!

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Kaleidoscope Music awarded Participatory Creative Music Hub grant

I’m honoured to be selected to contribute to the Participatory Creative Music Hub as a PCM Hub Open Call 2022-2023 grant award recipient. I will be documenting the framework I have developed for group music lessons (Kaleidoscope Music). Thank you to the Canadian New Music Network for this opportunity! PCM Hub’s Open Call 2022-2023 exists “to support documentation of an existing PCM project to provide inspiration and tools for user groups of the Hub to make their own music.”

I suggest checking out the other interesting and inspiring projects on PCM Hub. It’s awesome to see this kind of creative infrastructure being built so that we can connect and share experiences and ideas, and work together to increase the impact+acceleration of Participatory Creative Music projects.

Kaleidoscope Music is an online group music lesson framework that I have been developing since 2021. Over the past two years, I’ve used this framework to facilitate groups of children ages 6-14 learning voice, piano, and ukulele. I was inspired to create these groups after seeing for myself the long term effectiveness of learning through creative group music making. I’m especially excited by the socio-emotional and cognitive benefits that young musicians experience when participating in collaborative creative learning.

I’m very excited for this opportunity to share what I’ve learned, and to add to the wealth of resources already available within PCM Hub.

I have been continuing to develop this method with community music and social enterprise lenses in mind (or is that regeneration? transformative learning? lots of different ways to consider the power of making music together). I’m especially proud of this opportunity to provide a resource to be repurposed, learned from, and experimented with. I hope this documentation will create a ripple effect and inform efforts to create, expand, and innovate community music programs.

I’m particularly interested in ways that the framework could be adapted/adopted to serve rural and remote families and others with barriers to accessing music lessons, increase participation in extracurricular music through meaning-making in a convenient fun context, and create more opportunities for family involvement in music making.

You can help! Whether you’re familiar with what I’ve been doing are totally new to it, I’d love to hear from you.

When you think about group music making online or the idea of creative music lessons… what are you wondering, what are you puzzled by, what excites you? What questions and comments do you have? This will help inform and shape the documentation that I create, so that I can share what is most useful to others who would like to explore new ways to work and play musically.
Get in touch with your thoughts!

What is Participatory Creative Music?
“According to the Canadian New Music Network’s Public Engagement Committee, Participatory Creative Music is a multitude of approaches to creating music in which everyone involved, regardless of their prior experience in making music, has active input in the creative process. Authorship and decision-making is shared to greater or lesser degrees, depending on context.”

More about PCM Hub from their website:
“The Hub showcases people from all walks of life creating music together.  Whatever you call it — participatory creative music, community music, jamming, co-composition, improvisation, music exploration, listening games or having fun with sound — The Hub celebrates music creativity for everyone. Whether they are 4, 40 or 94 years of age, an experienced musician or making music for the first time — everyone has active input in the creative process.

The Hub sparks new inspiration through shared processes. Next time your group makes amazing music, share the process to the project catalogue, and check out other projects for new ideas while you’re at it. Walking into a new situation? Want to brush up on your skills? Check out Tips and Tools.

Creative music projects include those in schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, social services and prisons, using materials as varied as playdough, stethoscopes, found objects, acoustic instruments, rock band instruments, field recorders and digital software.”

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Just Leaves Cover Reveal

Just Leaves by Lauren Best

Just Leaves is coming out in June 2023! The cover reveal is here now…

Yes, you can get on the early list now to be among the first to read it (and the chance to get extra bonuses).

I am feeling amazing in this moment, finally revealing this cover. I took this photo on my birthday, during a pause in a solo bike ride. When I see it I’m back there instantly, feeling quick deep breaths fill lively lungs and the warm air of August on my cheeks. It’s from one of my favourite places to travel through.

I hope I transport my readers with some of the energy that following that path gives to me. Hopefully someone picks up the book and travels there for a brief moment, imagining feeling the dappled sunlight through the leaves and the crunch under their feet. Maybe they wonder where they’re going. Then, they open it up and start to read.

Just Leaves by Lauren Best

Thank you to Sam Blake for working with me on the book design for this project.

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Leading workshops and vocal coaching at Choir Camp 2023

I’m looking forward to leading music making workshops and offering individual vocal coaching this summer at Choir Camp. I’m proud to be singing alongside a breathtaking list of fellow faculty, and it promises to be an extraordinary inaugural experience.

People have already registered from far and wide to sing with us in Owen Sound this summer, and the list of guest conductors and singers keeps growing!

Choir Camp 2023 in Owen Sound, Ontario.

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New Member of the League of Canadian Poets

League of Canadian Poets Supporting poets & poetry in Canada New Member

I am delighted to announce that I was accepted for Full Membership with the League of Canadian Poets!

I’m grateful for this opportunity to connect with other Canadian Poets, learn and grow, and access support for performances, workshops, school visits, and more.

2023 is the year my first full length poetry book Just Leaves will be published, and I’m excited to be standing alongside other Canadian poets while on this poetry self-publishing adventure.

If you’re interested in a Poets in the Schools classroom visit, booking a reading or performance, or talking poetry/music on a podcast, I’d love to hear from you!

I can’t wait to see what this book launch year holds… and that’s just the beginning of the exciting news! Don’t forget to sign up for the Early List to be among the first to get the book.

I have some summer performances already booked and I can’t wait to share the details.

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Did you know I’m a voice coach?

Did you know I am a voice coach?

It means a lot for me to show up for other people’s voices, to help them become creators of new musical journeys, to support people through listening, questioning, and guidance along the way. We all need a little help staying in good humour on a lifelong path, and we can all use some feedback and guidance to help us save time and believe in our own breakthroughs.

There was a time it was hard for me to believe or understand what was vocally possible for myself, and I definitely have felt discouraged on my musical journey at times. I have had help along the way that truly has felt like an illumination of a path forward, to empower me to create results and to awaken desire for more, through renewed connection to making music and helping others.

It’s an honour to create space that helps people who seek alignment, connection to their creativity, and learning through not only our minds but through the innate wisdom of our bodies. Our ability to sing evolved before language, and when we coach we purposefully use language to engage our conscious and unconscious minds. In seeking an improvement in our singing, we also intentionally access embodied cognition. We expand our awareness and learn through experience, guided by experience.

Sing well, feel well, live well.

Come journey. Get in touch to discuss.

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Sticker Collection - 12 Song Album by Lauren BestBuy Sticker Collection - 12 Song Album by Lauren Best