Clinics & Workshops

Chris has been invited to present her clinics and workshops at numerous college campuses including Monash University (Melbourne, Vic); Griffith University (Brisbane, QLD); Australian Institute of Music – A.I.M (Sydney NSW); West Australian Academy for Performing Arts – WAAPA (Perth, WA); University of Adelaide (Adelaide, SA); ANATS (Hobart, Tasmania) as well as many private institutions. She works with vocalists of all ages and genres as well as assisting students prepare for auditions into college entrance level music programs. Chris also augments A cappella singing into her workshops with a focus on spontaneous improvisation. Listening and empathy skills using melody, rhythm, spoken word and movement are explored in large and small ensemble settings.

Chris has a special interest and passion for working with gifted and talented young adults who’ve not been afforded the opportunity of a strong music education through their elementary and middle school years.

Download: Resumé / Preface to Vocalist as Complete Musician / Performance Workshop Brochure

Synopsis of Workshops: Full and Half Day Presentations

A Cappella Freestyle Improvisation Workshop (2½ – 3 hours)

An exhilarating, vocal warm up session, dedicated solely to a cappella group work. Singers develop strength and confidence in building rhythmic and melodic ideas through a series of exercises using a less restrictive, formless approach. There are no mistakes! We’re operating outside the box and outside the constructs of traditional form and harmony. These freestyle explorations are based on the teachings of world renown performance artist-educator, Rhiannon Watson. The work has a strong emphasis on building empathy and listening skills. Tone, pitch, harmony, melody, rhythm, spoken word and movement are all used in specific exercises. We’re also creating short compositions on the spot. This work can be enormously uplifting and joyful, allowing for a freeing up and opening up of the voice and spirit, in a safe and nurturing environment. We’re in the spirit of the moment with this work. Open to all genres and levels.

Vocalist as Complete Musician (2½ – 3 hours)

Using extracts from Chris’ Vocalist as Complete Musician methodology. The work is based around a series of exercises integrating the use of tetra chords, scales and chords. We start from a simple template, moving on to work from several scale sources. Scales are internalized by using a combination of tetrachords (major, minor 1 (dorian), minor 2 (phrygian), whole tone (lydian), diminished & harmonic). The exercises explore chord/scale relationships in jazz harmony, sourcing several scales – major, minor, melodic, harmonic, diminished (whole/1/2 and 1/2/whole). The pentatonic scale (minor/major) and be bop scales are also explored over sets of chord progressions. Finally, we move on to creating melodic passages and motifs, using scalar fragments over specific sets of changes/songs.

This work develops the vocal ear for hearing and improvising over more complex harmony. Ear training, improvisation and theory are taught at one and the same time, providing the student of vocal jazz with the same tools that jazz instrumentalists use to navigate their way through musical passages. By learning how to integrate scalar fragments over various sets of chord changes, the student gains more freedom and confidence as an improvisor. It also gives vocal students a template to analyze and prepare pieces of music for improvisation as well as developing arranging and composing skills. This work is predominately piano based. Workshop presentations require the use of smart board and piano. Handouts in Sibelius/PDF format

Preparation & Being Ready (2½ – 3 hours)

Approaching the performance – Body Mindfulness & Spirit. The importance of breath. The open self – the open voice. Vocalists should bring at least two prepared pieces to perform – ballad, swing, latin, bossa and/or straight 8.

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