Spirit Singer Productions

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More about Maya

History of Maya

There is always more to a musician.... there is always a story that brings us to our music. I am no different. My passion for music has been with me as far back as I can remember. At four years old, my grandmother had me singing in front of the little church at the summer cabin in Mackinaw City, Michigan. She stood me by the piano every night and we sang hymns. I was unsure about the words, but I knew in my bones that the joy I felt singing with my grandma about the Great Mystery was with me for a lifetime and held a key to my purpose here on Earth.

I sang all through school, taking piano lessons and voice lessons. I started a musical quartet in fourth grade where we won an award in the talent show singing, "Sugartime". I sang in USO shows, school and church musicals and solos. I bought my first guitar when I was fourteen. My mentors were Peter, Paul & Mary, Buffy Saint Marie, Carol King, Melanie, Bob Dylan, and later Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne. I started needing something more than the classical music I sang in my lessons and the choral music at school. I started composing simple folk songs that matched my ability as a new-comer to the guitar and I started singing at hootenanies and at rest homes, sanitariums, and hospitals. I toured for eight weeks in South America with a 60 person choir when I was 17. I also sang in the madrigal group that was featured during performances.

I knew I wanted to keep composing, so I majored in music composition at Michigan State with a minor in voice. There I was, in the tiny closet in the lonely basement of the brick vine-covered music building, me and the piano. Hours of opera and listening to intervals on tape, writing piano pieces according to the rules of composition. This is when I decided to become a spirit singer. I wanted to sing the songs of my heart. They often didn’t follow the rules of music composition. They often were sad or blue. They were the journalings of a spirit child starting to remember. I started singing and playing music with people outside the music department.

This experience of disappointment in my musical education led me to the education department. I decided to become a teacher, “ a teacher of life”. I had the vision of creating education that sparked passion and creativity. I wanted to make it possible for learners to connect with their inner gifts and purpose. That is when I started the quest to become an educator or facilitator of learning. Wide-eyed and full of hope, I entered my teaching career in public education. I was immediately shocked and faced with a wounded and essentially faulty system of passing on the skills and culture required of the emerging world. I was ready to make change, but found the system fixed and rigid.

The quest continued from there: how to change the way we educate, how to bring life back to learning. Within months, I was traveling around the US talking to future educators on college campuses. I asked questions, we dialoged. It was wonderful. I sang and played songs in the evenings, with new people I was meeting in the circles of change oriented folks. We would get wild and creative, drumming on kitchenware and improvising on calls for freedom and connection. I learned songs that people could sing along with, but my personal aliveness was with the songs that emerged from within me. A song would come and I would sing it daily and dream about it at night. It would remind me of who I was becoming and who I really was.
I went through a long period of wanting to know the Earth and live closer to the ground, less attached to my possessions. If you are interested in that story, you will have to read my book that is half finished, “Mystical Mystery Tour”. I had many opportunities to write music and share songs since the campfire was a place of council and celebration during experiments in living with nature. Singing in a tipi by a pond with twenty close friends is a rich and fertile place for song writing. As my guitar ability increased, the songs had more territory to roam in (also, there is inspiration in sitting under a giant oak tree with frogs droning in the background). You can hear some of these tunes on my album, "Comin' Home". During this time, I got to be a lead singer in the Hanuman Foundation production of "The Ramayana" in Santa Cruz, CA in 1978. I also sang spirit songs with a trio for a year and performed several times with the Bolo Band.

Along with raising a daughter came a new type of life and a new type of music. Little home spun school rooms and music with children. I found that children were naturally drawn to music and rhythm. Their voices rang and their bodies moved as they went straight to ecstasy. It became a side gift for me to be able to sing with children and it led to an open door when I was ready to return to the world and be a part of public education again. I sang for three years with one thousand children a week and two elementary school choirs, in Santa Cruz, California. My own songs were set on the shelf or only played late at night, as I took on the responsibility of motherhood and educating the masses. At least six years went by without writing a new song. I was a Kindergarten teacher and later a First Grade teacher.

My life was racing by as I recommitted to public education. I created a learning environment that reflected my values and made creativity and individuality a priority (as much as possible with 30 young learners). I was proud of my gallant effort and yet, success seemed impossible. After 13 years of public school teaching and a year and a half at Mt. Madonna School in Watsonville, California, I left to find my next true calling.

Then the floodgates opened again and I found myself tapping into a place inside of me that longed to express itself. I traveled the world and wrote songs and poetry (read some poems), I journaled the transformation process that took place as I allowed myself to return to my life’s meaning. My songs were the constant friends that encouraged me to live an authentic life and to feel alive. They were the lyrics and tunes that kept saying, “continue to go deeper, don’t give up, there is much to remember and much to share.” In 1993, after performing in small venues like coffee houses, healing fairs, and new thought churches, I produced my first album, "Comin' Home". It is now remastered and released on a CD. It is a legacy of my song writing during the first half of my life. I have performed in many places around the world: Alaska, Thailand, Budapest, South America, two Denver Coaching Expos, the San Francisco Whole Earth Festival and several Goddess Festivals in the Monterey Bay area. I was the vocalist for "The Hero's Journey" in the Buck Minster Fuller Amphitheater in Bali.

While singing my heart songs, I finished my MA and my Doctorate in Communications. I was intrigued with how people interact and make verbal sense in a multi-cultural world. I lived in Colorado for four years and there I heard about a new vocation called, Coaching. I knew immediately that I had found the title for the work I had been doing with people and children all my life. “Teacher of Life”, with a new age twist. I hold the vision, and a person emerges into their wise self. I jumped into coach training. I was certified as a corporate coach and was training new coaches, within 18 months. I also continued to sing and write songs and play them at coaching events and various workshops. I also enjoyed singing with the Ecstatic Choir. I was involved in two book publishings during my last two years in Colorado that spilled over into my move back to California.

I moved back to California in the Spring of 2002. Sage and I had met earlier and our relationship was growing in friendship and in musical collaboration. He happened to live in the same area as my daughter and grandchildren (nice bonus). We started singing together regularly and are currently out performing publicly whenever we can. We found that we enjoy several venues. We like new thought churches, benefits and celebrations where we can play original songs and get people reflecting and dancing. We like singing for audiences that are receptive to songs of heart opening and celebration of life. We also like leading devotional chanting in a sing-along improv style. We decided to get married on Aug. 17, 2003 and we had a glorious musical wedding.

While singing everyday, I continued to coach and lead seminars. My practice included life coaching for those who are wanting to bring more passion and purpose into their lives. This includes coaching for personal or professional development where together, we develop a program for growth ,and move forward with new or continuing learning.

The music continues and the committment to Spirit Singing deepens every day. Music is in our bones. It is our passsion and our love! As our magical musical life moves forward we are surprised by the adventures it brings. After several CD projects and many new music collaborations, we are excited to see what unfolds with each new day.

Rethinking Classroom Management
You can purchase the book I co-authored with Patricia Belvel for educators, published by Corwin Press in August, 2002. It is called, “Rethinking Classroom Management: Strategies for Prevention, Intervention, and Problem Solving”. It is a resource and guide for teachers and parents who are interested in empowering the learner and restoring respect, creativity, and dignity to the classroom community.

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