Mirenda at work in the classroom.
Using techniques developed onstage as one of Ireland's top live soul singers has led Mirenda Rosenberg to develop her passion of teaching self empowerment for people of all ages.
Known to many for her powerful voice and soulful performances, Letterkenny based Mirenda, a mother of two who is originally from Washington in the United States, has been developing her own unique approach for teaching children and adult about self-respect for themselves and others.
She says she “snowballed” into her new role as an educator and group facilitator when she was asked to give performance coaching to groups of young people and this led her to be invited to expand her role in developing a programme that aims to connects people with themselves and others in a positive way.
Her own development has led her to study psychology at Dublin City University where she is now in her third year. She aims to use some of personal development work she has done with groups in the north west as part of her academic research for her finals year next year.
She says her studies are to ensue she is learning to apply what she is learning responsibly help those she works with to learn how to use the self development tools that can be gained from her teachings and apply them to their life for the best outcomes.
“It was through hosting performance workshops to groups and school students that led me into personal development work. When I say personal development I mean building up self confidence and self esteem, and teaching them to value themselves and others,” she explained.
She has mostly worked in Derry and across Northern Ireland and closer to home with groups on Arranmore island but she is hoping to expand her work further here in Donegal.
“One of the reasons I started in Derry was that I was asked to do a girls' performance masterclass and the company liked what I did and kept asking me back and the word just got around from there of what I was doing,” she added.
She said she has been providing the training on Arranmore for a number years and says it has been highly rewarding to see the people she with a number of years ago grow and develop in that time.
This development work coupled with performance tuition and motivational talks have led her to found her own company called “Commonality” that can do what she offers to any part of the county for groups or all ages.
“I call my company Commonality and what I would like to do is teach workshops in secondary schools and private organisations here. People commission workshops from me, so when I did a recent course on self confidence at a school they asked me if I could do one on body language and media, so Ii ended up doing a six week course on it. I did three months of research and then six weeks of teaching, but the core of what is underneath all that having some confidence and self esteem and actually teach them how to do that, instead of saying ‘just have confidence’. We teach them how to build it. I see people often telling kids ‘you should have better self esteem’ but it is a case of asking ‘how?’,” she explained.
“They can build on the skills because I am literally teaching the skills. Not just to have self confidence but what is self confidence? What is the difference between self confidence and self esteem? It is a case of here is how we build it and you don’t even have to like yourself in order to build it. Liking yourself is the result of it. It is a very logical process to building it.”
“I think that these are great workshops for here (Donegal) because what I find here is that kids are taught that they cannot say anything nice about themselves. You are not allowed to express any pride in who you are and what you do, some people just trash you. It is hard for me when I’m teaching adults, which I do teach, but kids, particularly first years if someone says ‘I did really well’ others might say ‘You think very highly of yourself’, then I teach them the skills to deal with that and how to come back from that.”
As well as studying and running her new business, Mirenda still finds time to do what she loves best and get out to perform before audiences all over the country.
She has been a stellar performer on the local music scene since she arrived in Ireland in 2005 and had been busy writing and getting ready to record her new album which she hopes to release in the Spring.
She says she is also delighted that her single “Go” has been shortlisted for the prestigious IMRO Ireland #ChristieHennessy Songwriting Contest and she will perform it at the finals in tralee on November 4th.
She is also a finalist in the Ballyshannon based Allingham Festival songwriting competition which will be held on November 10th.
She says her single “Go” is enjoying airplay on radio, online radio and podcasts and her original sound she calls “indie soul” is breaking through in some cases to programmes that primarily play other genres such as country music.
Speaking of her latest single being selected for a national award she is delighted to have made it that far but has her eys on teh top spot
“I am over the moon to get into the finals of the IMRO Christie Hennessy SongWriting Contest and I feel validated as a songwriter and I would like to win it because I believe in the song,” she says.
She says she still enjoys play live and this is when she “feels most alive”.
For more about her work see www.mirendarosenberg.com and www.ourcommonality.org.