Bachelor Girl star Tania Doko on the power of Play, connecting, and staying well in the music industry

The Australian Music Industry

The Music Industry has been hit so hard by the widespread impacts of Covid. MakeShift have been working in partnership with music industry charity, Support Act, to cultivate knowledge, tools, support and skills for people to support theirs, and others, mental health. Program participant Tania Doko shares her experience...

Tania Doko of Bachelor Girl, whose “Buses and Trains” is the most performed Australian composition on radio of the last 25 years, recently participated in Press Play for the Music Industry, a 4 week mental wellbeing and creativity program presented by MakeShift and Support Act.

Here she shares her experience of “genuinely some of the best 6.5 hours I've spent”.

Tania had a challenging start to the year, relocating back to Melbourne with her husband and son, after a decade in Sweden. She joined the Press Play program a few months later and found it gave her new tools to improve her own wellbeing.

“Thanks to Make Shift, we have legitimately learnt new tools in our vital tool kit to survive and thrive doing what we are born to be and do.” 

Working in the music industry can be a really hard gig sometimes and it poses a unique set of challenges to maintaining our mental wellbeing; whether on tour, on the road, creating something new, recording in the studio or back at home. Tania Doko is no stranger to these challenges, having had a successful 29 year career in the music industry, and collaborating with the likes of The Veronicas, Tina Arena, Jessica Mauboy and Delta Goodrem. Tania found that being a participant in the Press Play program was a hugely beneficial experience 

“If this was offered more regularly to the music industry it would make such a difference to our somewhat broken industry.”

Despite juggling being a busy artist and songwriter, Tania found the Press Play Program worthwhile and a safe place “to sincerely 'play' and grow my creative side (journaling, drawing, doodle-ing..stretching my inner artiste!), not to mention practical tools/knowledge to keep my mental health in check during these topsy turvy times.” 

The Press Play program is a 4 week course centred around Creative practice as a vital tool for mental health and wellbeing. Experiential in it’s delivery, each week is a combination of mental health content, guided and shared by MakeShift Co-Founder and educator Caitlin Marshall, and hands on creative practice, facilitated by a guest artist. Across Australia, people from the music industry, in their homes, explored creative writing with award winning novelist, Helena Fox, drew their inner critic with Marvel illustrator Marcelo Baez, worked on a collaborative photography project with visual artist and photographer Joshua Heath, and dived into creative mindless/mindful journaling with artist Mel Young.

The program is one of many offerings funded and made available by Support Act as they rally around the thousands of people in the sector tremendously impacted by Covid-19.

Connecting with diverse people across the music industry and normalising challenges faced by those in the music industry was a highlight for Tania. “Group sharing was brilliant and validated what we often all feel. We could casually share more vulnerabilities, lessons, in that rare, safe space.”

"Our passion for making music connects us - as does our vulnerabilities  - inside of a recovering music industry right now. There's a path forward when we come together and normalise our challenges."

Tania loved that the facilitators weren’t musicians and encouraged creativity outside of her usual comfort zones.  She found that the time with the creative facilitators was not only productive but also inspired. “All (were) very new practices or an extension of existing practices I would not have in my tool box if I had not taken up the offer to do this course.”

Press Play participants receive a Creative First Aid Kit, including all the materials they need to participate ahead of the program (journal, collage book and paper, POSCA pens). “I loved that we received all those pens and notebooks too”.

MakeShift have designed a range of programs and courses intended to skill up people with tools to understand, support and maintain their own mental health, with play at the centre. The hands-on creative experiences woven into each workshop give people a 'real-time, real-life' moment to see the difference it makes when we stop and get into the zone of creativity, release our brains from overthinking and restore our nervous system with sensory play. This approach of 'creative prescribing' is at the heart of MakeShift programs.

Press Play for the Music Industry is designed and delivered by MakeShift, an education and support agency committed to creativity and mental health.

The next Press Play for the Music Industry program starts Wednesday 11th August, in partnership with Support Act, with thanks to Australian Government funding.

Photo: Cherie Abdy

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