About Me

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I am a Zimbabwean who is a permanent resident of New Zealand after coming to New Zealand in July 2007. I am currently (in 2011) studying for the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree at Otago Polytechnic (second year), Wintec Avalon Drive Campus in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Participation in Occupation 2: Sixth (and last) Posting - enjoying my guitar and ambience

In class last week, we were divided into groups based on our chosen activities. My guitar playing was classed under the framework of PLAY. I will here refer to the first year 'Adaptive Living Occupation BT 127001' Moodle notes on the subject of PLAY under GAMES whose first part states that "Play is more than a mere physiological phenomenon or a physiological reflex. It goes beyond the confines of purely physical or purely biological activity." There is sense and something 'at play' with play which imparts meaning to it.

With reference to my chosen activity of playing the guitar, these same Moodle notes go on to say that "Play is easily recognised but not easily defined...it takes many forms (including games, performing instrumental music, drama and theatrical performances). It is difficult to say exactly what it is. As indicated in the quote above...takes a cultural view of play and links it with the arts, drama, ritual, feasts and other cultural performances."

Playing the ukulele (small guitar) out in the country, enjoying nature's serenity


I also visited Raglan beach with my family and we had 2 guitars that we played just like the guy in the video below.



Ferguson, Manser & Pickering (2000, p. 26) defines ambience as "...atmosphere, surroundings, environment, setting, milieu, aura, mood, feeling, vibes, tenor, spirit."

When I am playing my guitar, this ambience may be determined and conveyed by the mood and feelings I have myself. This may also be determined by the mood in the atmosphere in a room, venue, geographical area etc. If I play and strum my guitar aggressively like a heavy metal music guitarist, I produce a euphoric mood or atmosphere which would be the opposite of what I would achieve playing a laid back jazz or country folk song on the same guitar. A good example is the way the great song 'Candle in the wind' by Sir Elton John emotionally affected the whole world during Princess Diana's funeral. Even now, long after that funeral, just strumming that song on the guitar brings sorrowful tears to many.

Record of comments that I posted on the blogs of 4 other students

Izabella Circa: I commented on her last posting titled ‘End of story’ that she posted on the 5th of October 2011.

Cara Tate: I commented on her third posting entitled ‘Affordances’ that she posted on the 12th of October 2011.

Anna Foster: I commented on her first posting on the 8th of September 2011.

Heather Lowen: I commented on her ‘Affordances Part 2’ posting on the 18th of October 2011.

NOTE: I have also posted comments onto various other student blogs, namely, Nancy, Chloe, Lisa, Divika, Amanda, and Victoria Aguelera.

NOTE: I have tried unsuccessfully to hang indent my reference list below in 'Blogger.'


Adaptive Living Occupation (2010), Play/Games: BT 127001 (Lecture notes). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago Polytechnic, School of Occupational Therapy.

Caulton, R. & Dickson, R. (2007). What’s going on? Finding an explanation for what we do. In J. Creek & A. Lawson – Porter (Eds.), Contemporary issues in Occupational Therapy (pp. 87 – 114). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Christiansen, C. & Townsend, E. (2004). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

Crazy Guitar Solo (Original). (2007). Retrieved September 27, 2011, from http://http//youtu.be/6jAphZMWAFA

Crepeau, E. (2003). Analysing occupation and activity: A way of thinking about occupational performance. In Crepeau, E., Cohn, E., & Schell, B. (Eds.), Willard & Spackman's occupational therapy (10th ed., pp 189-198). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Dove's Hip Hole (Ergonomic Custom Guitar). (2008). Retrieved September 16, 2011, from http://http//youtu.be/gdGp-H47ikg

Earl Klugh LIVE! Tropical Legs. (2009). Retrieved September 27, 2011, from http://http//youtu.be/zb1U6SDffOM

Earl Klugh - This Time. (2008). Retrieved September 8, 2011, from http://youtu.be/n7fF_eRYM5k

Ferguson, R., Manser, M., & Pickering, D. (2000). The Penguin Concise Thesaurus. London: Penguin Group.

Hagedorn, R. (2000). Tools for practice in occupational therapy: A structured approach to core skills and processes. London: Churchill Livingstone.

Hopkins, H. L., & Smith, H.D. (1983). Willard and Spackman's occupational therapy. Philadelphia: Lippincott.

How to replace a guitar string. (2009). Retrieved October 4, 2011, from http://http//youtu.be/VFfk91l8UGU

How to tune a guitar. (2009). Retrieved October 4, 2011, from http://http//youtu.be/jr9hODvzNQE

Hunter,D., Bacon, T., Benedetto, R., Burrluck, D., Carter, W., Chandler, D., & Day, P. (2002). Guitar: A complete guide for the player. London: Quantum Publishing Limited.

Israel Houghton and New Breed: "I Am A Friend of God." (2009). Retrieved October 2, 2011, from http://http//youtu.be/ZXFi6lUUz5s

Luttjboer, H. (2010). Guitar exercises. New York: Marie Butler-Knight.

PIO 2 Guitar Playing Craft Activity. (2011). Retrieved September 8, 2011, from

Redemption Song/Playing For Change. (2011). Retrieved October 2, 2011, from http youtube 55s3T7VRQSc

So High - John Legend (Cover). (2010). Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http youtube yy7XzOu3Dsg

Ukulele weeps by Jake Shimabukuro. (2006). Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http youtube puSkP3uym5k

Wikipedia. ( 2011). Julio Iglesias. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julio_Iglesias on 14 October, 2011.

Willis, A. (2006). Step-by-Step guitar making. East Sussex: Guilds of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Participation in Occupation 2: Fifth Posting - 'Practical considerations' in playing my guitar

The last time I played my guitar was last week on Saturday afternoon at home in the garage.

I was preparing Church praise and worship songs for the next day, Sunday's service at my Church. I had 4 songs to work on, not necessarily learning to play all of them from scratch as I was familiar with 2 of them I had last played some 2-3 months ago. So, to warm myself up, I decided to start with the 2 familiar songs.

Firstly, I had to replace my number 1 guitar string which had snapped into two in my last session about a week ago. I had bought a replacement set from the Rock Shop in town a few days ago. After replacing this string, I then tuned it into tune with the other strings on the guitar. I then went on to play around with some familiar melodies just to warm my fingers and my mind up to the task at hand. All this preliminary work took about 15 minutes. Luttjeboer (2010) writes that "People who are just beginning to play the guitar are often surprised by how much work the fingers must do. And to keep those mighty digits limber, strong, and injury free, you should take time to warm them up before you put them through the paces of your guitar workout. Just as athletes warm up and stretch their muscles before playing or practising their sport, you should do the same for your fingers before you jump into the real music" (p. 9).

I then listened through the first of the songs on my recorder with my powerful headphones on. The headphones help me to pick up all the sounds (chords & notes) that make up the song. I then went on to write these chords in order in my song book for future reference. I went on to practice the rest of the songs using the same format.

Some approximately 4 hours later, I concluded my happy guitar session.

The above are some of the 'PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS' associated with my guitar playing activity. These include consideration of the venue, equipment and accessories(guitar, belt, guitar pick, strings, bag, chair, amplifier, speaker e.t.c), the condition of the guitar itself and myself, the time it takes to play and the ethics around noise for other uninterested family members and neighbours. Crepeau (2003) states that, "Identifying the multiple demands, skills, and potential meanings of the activity enables practitioners to have a deeper understanding of this activity in general" (p. 191).



Always remember this,"If your strings are poorly attached there is little chance of good tuning stability, and your tone will probably suffer too. Even plenty of experienced players load their strings in ways that fail to optimize their performance, but its easy to learn a stable and efficient technique for stringing-up - either a basic wind or more advanced locking technique" (Hunter, Bacon, Benedetto, Burrluck, Carter, Chandler & Day, 2008, p. 62).



Sunday, 2 October 2011

Participation in Occupation 2: Fourth Posting - AFFORDANCES


This time around, I am exploring affordances.

Affordances, which can also be looked at as 'outcomes of a particular activity,' are defined by Hagedorn, 2000, as "Anything which the environment can offer the individal which is pertinent to role challenge and can facilitate role competence. Aspects of the environment perceived by the person which combine with the person's efficiencies to produce competence (Christiansen & Baum 1997)" p. 307).

Affordances comprise of various components, namely;


From the above list, with regards to my guitar playing, I will explore the first three, namely, communication, connection, and spirituality.

Communication, in guitar playing, takes place in that the music that I play, even without any accompanying vocals, communicates a feeling or mood to whoever is listening to it, me included. This in itself can be spiritual as well in that we sometimes use guitars and other musical instruments to accompany worship and prayer at my Church. This, we believe, helps us connect horizontally with each other as fellow christians and vertically with our God. "It is through our activities that we are connected with life and with other human beings. Through the activities in which we engage, we learn about the world, test our knowledge, practice skills, express our feelings, experience pleasure, take care of our needs for survival, develop competence, and achieve mastery over our destinies" (Hopkins & Smith, 1983, p. 296). I achieve all these just through playing my guitar.

Below is a Christian Pentecostal'Praise and Worship' concert led by a guitar playing Worship Leader.
< Israel Houghton and New Breed: "I Am A Friend of God" Praise and Worship Song


I have also made new friends of different cultures and nationalities through playing my guitar in public places like in parks and at the beach like in this analogy below of the famous reggae song 'Redemption song' composed by the great late Bob Marley.


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Participation in Occupation 2: Third Posting - Aesthetics with the guitar

The Penguin Concise Thesaurus (Dictionary) has the meaning of the word 'aesthetic' given as "tasteful, classic, artistic, beautiful, cultured, refined" (Ferguson, Manser, & Pickering, 2000, p. 17).

There are various styles of guitar playing, some rough and not having much in the form of aesthetics, and some quite melodious and soothing and what I might consider as having "aesthetics."
Compare and contrast the two guitar playing styles below; A & B. I believe the first one is rough and hard and wouldn't fit in the meaning of aesthetic (tasteful, classic, beautiful, cultured, refined). The second one is a mellow and jazzy tune which, according to me, fits the bill in terms of aesthetics. Aesthetics though is subjective and this moreso in playing a musical instrument like a guitar where one person's classic hit is another's most boring tune. Sample these out

A - Hard and rough


B - Smooth and mellow


In guitar playing, it is not only the style of play that determines the end product sound, but also, the make or model of the guitar plays a crucial part.
"Any good instrument is far more than the sum of its individual parts, but the design and materials used for each component - and the way they all come together - determine the sound and playability of your guitar" (Hunter ,Bacon, Benedetto, Burrluck, Carter, Chandler & Day, 2002, p. 9).

When I was looking for a guitar to buy, I really concentrated on certain world renowned models because I believe that the kind of music I like playing needs the best designs around in terms of sound production. "Well-made acoustic guitars are like fine wines: they need time to mature, and if taken care of and played regularly, they will develop subtleties in sound and tone that will bring enjoyment to both player and listener for many years to come" (Willis, 2006, p. 9).

Friday, 16 September 2011

Participation in Occupation 2: Second Posting - ERGONOMICS


Ergonomics looks mainly at improving activity productivity "...while minimising the adverse effects of task performance, such as fatigue, repetitive strain, stress, boredom and occupational injuries...The nature of work and its effects on the human body and in the capacity of the individual to respond to these demands" (Hagedorn, 2000, p. 177).

Whether one chooses to play the guitar whilst sitting or standing is mainly a matter of preference. Most playing positions are determined by where and for whom one is playing for (Luttjeboer, 2010). When I am practicing my guitar playing at home for long periods (2-4 hours), I find it less tiresome to do so in a seated position. This automatically changes when I am playing the guitar at Church where I have to be standing as part of worship, but probably play for just about 30 to 45 minutes at a time.

Guitars are also designed with ergonomics in mind using anthropometry in general or specifically for custom made guitars like the example below. The ergonomically designed guitar below is about how an instrument relates to the body when in use during playing/performance or what I would call 'occupation versus ergonomics compatibility.' This ties up with and supports Caulton & Dickson (2007) when they write that ergonomics is about constantly making "... slight invisible adjustments to an activity to adapt to the needs of those taking part and ensure that it continues to work for its intended purpose" (p. 93).

An ergonomically designed custom made guitar


Other than the ergonomic considerations of the equipment (guitar), ergonomics also involves the environment and the mood of the activity. In guitar playing, the design of the guitar can also affect endurance during a performance (light versus heavy instrument or generic design versus custom made as above). These can have a bearing on conditions such as 'Occupational Overuse Syndrome' (O.O.S) if I play for long periods, especially when playing standing.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Participation in Occupation 2: First posting


ACTIVITY: Playing the guitar.

Guitar playing is the activity that I will be exploring this time around. It is something I learnt to play during my primary school years in the seventies and have enjoyed playing ever since. I can spend hours on end playing the guitar alone, with my sons or with friends at home, at the beach or out in the country whilst enjoying the scenery.



Playing the Guitar


Key points about what it really means to me.

Two things:

1. Time out alone for me, strumming on the guitar and singing familiar songs, chilling out, relaxing, de-stressing and calming my nerves whilst entertaining myself or friends.

2. Playing with others as a group or band with other additional instruments such as drums, keyboards, bongos, congas, chimes and other guitars. This as part of socialising or at Church as part of religious worship.

Personal experience of doing the activity (include mindfulness).

I sometimes have to listen to a song numerous times before I attempt to play it. Attempting to play it may also take me hours of patient practice until I master it. This helps in building a mind that can concentrate for long periods.

Mindfulness - I can sometimes play my guitar whilst simultaneously having a conversation or watching a TV programme.

As an OT student, what it means to me in terms of occupational activity

Playing guitar benefits in terms of occupation:

1. Cognitive exercise of the mind as a lot of concentration and patience is needed to master just one 3 minute song.

2. Entertaining self and others and helping others in praise and worship in a Church service.

3. Exercising the distal hand muscles and fine motor skills for someone rehabilitating or just strengthening these muscles.

NOTE: The great musician Julio Iglesias first started playing a guitar as rehabilitation after a very bad car accident.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Tutorial 8: Assistive Technology


It is "...any product, instrument or strategy, service and practice used by people with disabilities and older people - specially produced or generally available - to prevent, compensate, relieve or neutralise the impairment, disability or handicap, and improve the individual's autonomy and quality of life" (Pain, McLellan & Gore, 2003, p. 14)

To me, Assistive Technology refers to any equipment/devices that helps disabled people enhance the performance of their activities for daily living, be it personal cares, work, or leisure. This brings into focus items such as wheelchairs (including power chairs), walking frames, talking diaries, Hi-vis keyboards, braille, educational software, etc.

The video below answers a few questions about assistive technology


Describe one piece of equipment introduced in the assistive technology tutorial.
Talking Diary/Album
Below is an explanation on how the talking photo album could be used


This is in the format of a photo album. All the pages have a record button with a microphone used to give verbal audio instructions accompanied by an appropriate relevant guiding picture that gives a cue to a person with memory problems on stages of processes such as cooking a meal.

This device can cost a much as $130 and comes in A3 and A5 sizes. Occupational capacity of the user is enhanced because all the client needs to remember is to play it back and follow instructions and all occupations will be attended to. This website http://www.starmobility.co.nz/ has this and other forms of assisstive equipment.

"Talking Photo Album - A3

Level 2 assistive technology device to assist child with morning routine.


"Combine literacy and ICT with this Talking Photo Album.

Leading on from the popular A5 Talking Photo Album, TTS bring you a bigger A3 sized album with all the same recording features, plus a loud speaker and larger visual area for children to display their stories and work.

The Talking Photo Album supports speaking and listening on the new Literacy framework especially focusing on photo sequences, presentations, hiding and revealing pictures and word recognition.

Record your stories, timetables or messages with the Talking Photo Album. Simply insert drawings or photographs into the plastic wallets and record up to a 10 second message on every page.

Each individual voice message can be played back at any time, simply with a push of a button" http://www.starmobility.co.nz/


Guitar playing for the blind



Guitar hero for the disabled. (2011). Retrieved May 11, 2011, from http://youtu.be/RZuqzoaa_0Q

Pain, H., McLellan, L., Gore, S. (2003). Choosing assistive devices: A guide for users and professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Talking photo album. (2011). Retrieved May 11, 2011, from http://youtu.be/gMLV409Sbdw

Talking photo album. (2011). Retrieved May 11, 2011, from http://youtu.be/0UhPyj1asQA

What is assisstive technology. (2011). Retrieved May 11, 2011, from http://youtu.be/BIxus1IQK6s