Communicating across boundaries, through research, integrative pedagogies, and practical training
To book courses in the US and abroad, please contact Joan Melton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joan Melton, Voice/Movement Research and Training, Director of Programs
Jennie Morton, Anatomy/Physiology, Voice and Dance Technique Integration
Irene Bartlett, Jazz/Contemporary Pedagogy
Janet Feindel, Voice/Dialects and Alexander Technique
Wendy LeBorgne, Professional Voice Care
William Lett, Tap/Voice for Musical Theatre
Marya Lowry, Roy Hart/Ecstatic Voice/Lamentation
Michael Lugering, Expressive Actor Training
Patricia Prunty, Classical Singing Techniques
Mary Saunders-Barton, Singing in Musical Theatre
Neil Semer, Vocal Technique and Performance Practice
Kenneth Tom, Vocal Anatomy/Physiology
Pat Wilson, Studio Work/Mic Technique
Julio Agustin (Hons), US
Zac Bradford (Hons), Australia/US
I Putu Budiawan (Hons), Australia
Sammi Grant, (Hons), US
James Harrison (Hons), Australia
Robert Lewis (Hons), Australia
Maggie Marino-Pitts (Hons), US
Erica Northcott, Canada
Sara Paar, US
Elizabeth Smith, US
Jennifer Spencer (Hons), Canada
Caitlyn Stirling, Australia
Janet Van Wess, US
Jack Wallace (Hons), England/US
JAMES HARRISON, Actor, Director, Musician
James Harrison is an Australian theatre-maker, musician, and performance coach currently based in Tasmania. His theatrical credits range from stage management positions and writing, to directing and performing in musical, classical, and contemporary theatre. He has a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts (Hons) from the University of Tasmania and is a certified practitioner of Integrative Studies (Hons), One Voice Centre for Integrative Studies, NYC.
James is passionate about creating new works that explore the Australian experience, as well as investigating the methods by which performers train. His ongoing work centres on exploring the notion that some of the many exigencies of performance could be addressed in training by implementing key elements of Kendo, a Japanese martial art, and he has devised a series of exercises that explore those concepts. Pivotal to this work is the idea that increasing the demands placed on the muscles used for vocalisation in training, prepares the performer for easier vocalisation in performance. To paraphrase the adage: “A ship in harbour is safe, but it is not what ships are built for.” This approach, and the exercises devised to exemplify it, was first presented as part of James’ One Voice studies course in NYC. It would later go on to form the basis of his honours project through the University of Tasmania. Most recently, James presented a paper, “Within and between: Integrative performer training and the sword,” (with accompanying workshop) further illustrating the work, at the inaugural AusAct: Australian Actor Training Conference in New South Wales.
Featured in the following link, “Singing in Sitting Suburi,” is an exercise exemplifying this work. The driving principle behind devising the exercises is that by using a heavy wooden sword, or bokken, the demands on the performer while vocalising are dramatically increased. By implementing repetitive motions that have a strong focus on breath and alignment, performers begin to work in a mediative mode, while still remaining analytical of their form and internal processes.
Perspective – excerpts from “Integrative Links,” by Joan Melton
Voice & Speech Review 2013
Even in integrated programs, there is seldom the opportunity or incentive to really listen to experts outside our own respective field(s). The only people who must listen across disciplines are our students, who regularly take classes in dance (e.g., ballet, tap, modern, jazz), voice/movement for the actor, singing (e.g., classical, musical theatre, jazz, pop, rock) and acting. And the potential for conflict in all of that is enormous!
At the most basic level, what seems to separate us clearly in the training process is our concept of anatomy and physiology…Acting curricula probably come nearer to putting it all together than either singing or dance. Yet, even from actor training, students more often than not emerge thinking the diaphragm is something in their belly that they’re supposed to use—consciously—somehow.
Jennie Morton said, “A better anatomical understanding amongst both performers and teachers can ultimately give them better tools to work with…”
In addition, it takes getting out of our own little corner to see the links from one discipline to another. Long-held views can change—and that’s scary—and what is “true” today may be only partly true or transformed tomorrow. So we must be daring. We must actually listen to colleagues, address the information gaps, and follow threads we never before considered—because staying put is simply not an option.
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