Working with Chris is and adventure in personal discovery and development. As a retired research librarian I had to asky myself why.
-- Actively Diagnostic -- Chris found out for himself where I actually am. We started with a (very) short music / singing history, a directional goal based on what I hoped to do, then actual breath and sound work to find out what my breath and sound was at that very moment. He even used that diagnostic process to begin to help me become aware of what I’m doing now. For example, to breathe in a specific way and notice what happened, and describe it. Then breathe a different way and compare it. Already I was learning the physical awareness I need to develop.
-- Discovery not Dogma.-- After the first month of lessons I still haven’t been told what ‘the right way’ to do something is. At least not by Chris. My whole body is telling me what it prefers to do when I’m not telling it to things ‘my’ way.
-- Experiential Learning. -- The beginning for me is to learn to feel breath in my body, to be aware of where it is and how it moves, and what happens to other systems in the body. A new version of learning to rub your tummy while patting your head.
-- Collegial and Collaborative.-- I’ve begun to think of lessons with Chris as a series of experiments with comments on results of each step, repeating steps as needed, then again with variations. Chris may be the ‘lead investigator’ guiding the experiments, but as co-experimentor I have the dual role of being the subject and a primary observer (aka ‘student’). I’ve asked Chris to repeat an experiment so I see what it looks like from the outside, and to get a better idea of the process.
-- Awake and Aware.-- Or as I’m more used to calling it - mindfulness. I check in with my body several times a day to see what the breath and body systems are doing at that moment and relate it to the lesson and earlier check-ins. There is a (nearly) daily practice session, focused on 1 to 3 points that emerged from the work in the last lesson.
** Though it’s been only a month since I began working with Chris, I find not only chages in vocal qualities, but some of the principles are creeping constructively into other areas of life (including saxophone lessons).
- - -
When considering the review consider also the reviewer background: Age 59, my last ("real") music lesson (piano) was 51 years ago, and my last music class was in 6th grade (almost 50 years ago, when we played soprano recorders for a few weeks). Truly a beginner!