A&HHE Special Issue August 2016AHHELogo-300x300

Interdisciplinary coaching and peer learning in art song performance.

Elizabeth Haddon

Music Department, University of York, UK


This article investigates the application of pedagogical techniques from musical theatre to the presentation of art song within coached and peer learning contexts. Three university music students were coached on art songs from the classical vocal repertoire in an open workshop by a professor with extensive experience of musical theatre vocal coaching. Thematic analysis of qualitative data from the participants reveals the impact of the coaching on areas including movement, gesture, gaze, stance, musical structure, text, analytical memory, and communicating the work. Techniques employed by the leader to establish and maintain a safe space for this coaching are delineated, with discussion of students’ subsequent peer learning and implications for vocal pedagogy.


Musical theatre, vocal pedagogy, interdisciplinary coaching, peer learning


The context for this research, a workshop setting in which musical theatre coaching methods were applied to art song, provided scope both for exploring how interdisciplinary approaches were applied to art song and received by the participants, and for examining the pedagogical approaches deployed in the coaching session and subsequently in collaborative development by students. This research makes a contribution to articulating the perceived value of this interdisciplinary coaching and the implications for implementation in student work.


Context, data collection and analysis

This article discusses a workshop which took place in the Music Department at the University of York, UK. As part of a weekly series of extra-curricular vocal performance classes, a professor who had delivered several musical theatre workshops in previous years (in which he coached students on individual and duo numbers from shows) led a session exploring the possibilities afforded by interdisciplinary coaching, applying musical theatre approaches to art song. Three first-study voice students participated (two undergraduates, and one MA student), each bringing a classical song of their choice to perform with a pianist: ‘Padre, germani, addio!’ from Mozart’s Idomeneo, ‘Sure on this shining night’ by Barber, and ‘Heart, we will forget him’ by Copland. These were workshopped in front of a small audience of ten peer students.

During the 90-minute session it became apparent that the interdisciplinary focus and participant responses indicated a subject worthy of further research. Consequently, I made field notes during the session and identified possible research questions. In particular, I was interested to explore the construct of teaching within this context; firstly, whether it would align with the often highly directive master-apprentice model from the master class, as detailed by Hanken (2008), Schön (1987) and others, and secondly, how the observers were learning, as my previous research suggested that observers are not necessarily adept at transferring knowledge from a master class to their own practice, and may be selective in their observational focus, for instance, not considering pedagogical elements (Haddon, 2014). Therefore, I sought to discover whether the participants had any previous experience of approaching art songs using elements from musical theatre, such as gesture and movement; how the coaching process operated; how participants and observers responded; how the coaching connected to the one-to-one lesson; what participants perceived as challenges and risks in the situation; what the outcomes were, and whether the work would be developed further after the session.

After ethical approval was obtained for the study I arranged semi-structured interviews with the three singers and the workshop leader and conducted an audience questionnaire and focus group interview. The two students in the focus group also undertook follow-up work and returned for a second interview. The interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically, using an iterative approach to data coding.


Interdisciplinary coaching and the workshop

In musical theatre training the development of ‘triple threat’ capability, involving expertise in acting, singing and dance, is usually facilitated through a dialogical approach creating a ‘joint learning inquiry’ promoting ‘active learning processes’ in which a group is encouraged to exceed their perceived limitations (Burgess and Skilbeck,(2000: 21). Teachers can ‘foster exploration and personal inventiveness’ and ‘trigger or activate the students’ artistic impulses and reactions to themselves and the work’; this ‘should lead [students] deeper and deeper into an awareness of their own processes’ (Moore and Bergman, 2008: 44).

Musical theatre coaching shares techniques deployed by those leading community music workshops, who advocate a person-centred approach (Mullen, 2008) in which the leader uses active reflection to facilitate collaborative learning, and demonstrates willingness to depart from plans and to create a ‘safe climate for risk-taking’ which may ‘release the group, or individual, to try the untried’ (Higgins, 2008: 395). This style of workshop creates an active learning context in which the legitimacy of experimental, exploratory activity is conferred by the leader, who becomes a ‘co-learner’ rather than ‘doorkeeper’ (Gaunt and Westerlund, 2013: 1). The workshop can also become a model for use in student-led rehearsals, and ‘collaborative conversation’ within and across these contexts can enable ‘inter-connections’ and ‘cross-fertilization of ideas and practices’ (Renshaw, 2013: 238). Unlike the ‘top-down’ model presented in some master classes, deploying master ‘authority’ and student compliance, prescriptive direction rather than exploratory facilitation, and little audience input (Westney, 2003), the workshop model can generate modes of inquiry through processes of collaborative learning which may be ‘central to transforming the master-apprentice transmission model of learning’ (Renshaw, 2013: 237). This might potentially develop a perspective of ‘doing-thinking’ connecting to practice as research (Dunbar, 2014), leading to academic as well as performance-based outcomes.

Unlike musical theatre, art song does not have a tradition of interdisciplinary approaches. However, interdisciplinary approaches may challenge participants to consider the ontology of a particular musical object (Born, 2010) and through this, understanding of concerns of boundaries, legitimacy, and orientations to interdisciplinary work. The performance ethnographer Dwight Conquergood articulated a sense of relational understanding between those with ‘different voices, world views, value systems and beliefs’ (Conquergood, 1985: 9), deploying a performative stance termed ‘dialogical performance’. Within this, his description of process seems particularly apt in relation to those detailed later in relation to this workshop: ‘it is a kind of performance that resists conclusions, it is intensely committed to keeping the dialogue between performer and text open and ongoing’ (Conquergood, 1985: 9). Therefore, this process enables the participant to ‘question and make vulnerable her own a priori assumptions’ (Conquergood, 1985: 9), resulting in multiple perspectives. As with interdisciplinary opera, viewed as ‘a complex multimedia mixture to which no style discipline or single approach can do justice’ (Hutcheon, 2006: 807), musical theatre literature suggests similar openness to material and resources: making choices that were different from those of the original director is ‘what keeps the art form alive’, in which ‘our role as artists is to be daring, to test limits, to risk making mistakes’ (Miller, 1996: 239-240). Therefore, there is scope to consider whether this workshop challenges participants’ understandings of boundaries, legitimacy and approaches to interdisciplinary work, and to delineate processes and reception of the exploratory performative work (in this setting, the starting point is work-in-progress presented as performance which is developed through subsequent less formal and fragmented performance).



The workshop leader (who possessed considerable experience of open-ended improvisatory work as well as musical theatre) was interested to explore whether musical theatre coaching approaches ‘could be transferred to a repertoire that has a lot of dramatic qualities but isn’t usually thought of as a stage piece’. In previous workshops he aimed to ‘help students understand that the blocking and staging … and, indeed, even the demeanour of the performer – is intimately interconnected with the structure of the song’, and he stated that ‘it doesn’t make any sense, really, to talk about the theatrical manifestation independently of the musical content.’ Therefore, he felt that his primary aim was to explore ‘how the essence of the music can be manifested in space and in movement’, enabling students to gain increased musical understanding of the specific work. None of the three singers had previously seen any similar professional presentation, but were interested in the ‘idea of “staging” stuff that wouldn’t normally have been staged’. Participation was also motivated through the awareness that workshop opportunities enhanced performative ability as well as musicality and were a beneficial addition to one-to-one vocal lessons.



The performers noted that after observing the singer’s own performance the leader’s starting point was the text: ‘first of all we talked about the text and what it actually meant, and what I thought it meant and its significance’. The leader asked what might have happened before and after the song, as if it had been part of a sequence of events, and suggested that students considered how the structure of the song might relate to dramatic realisation: ‘dividing the song up … and imagining there’s a change of state from each one and how you’re going to indicate that through movement in a fluid way’. Each singer was encouraged to imagine a setting, to describe what it looked and felt like, and to consider whether other characters were present. After that, ‘we just played around with the scene I’d created’; the leader then ‘gave me different ideas and we mixed things around a bit just to try and make it seem natural, but using the dramatic potential in the music and in the text’. This process also included ‘going through almost phrase by phrase and working out where I might move at that point and what I might be looking at and what I might be feeling’. The leader encouraged performers to ‘journey through the psychology of the situation’ as the protagonist’s emotions changed during the piece, connecting this to musical structure, gestures, pace of movements and the singer’s facial expressions.

While this process is similar to those which might be deployed in some classical vocal master classes, it was noted that ‘there was a lot of work with direction of the gaze’, and that singers were encouraged to move around the performance space within the seminar room, connecting their movements to the structure of the song, for example, moving towards the front of the space to deliver the emotional climax. The singers were advised to ‘make sure you’re constantly opened out towards the audience’; one noted that ‘your stance is something that allows you to be active and move somewhere else’. Although they had all previously participated in musical theatre productions, this work on orientation of the body was new to one performer.

An observer noted that ‘a lot of what [the leader] said was about … intention’, describing how ‘the singer’s commitment to the song completely changed when she looked somewhere first and went to it’, rather than suddenly looking in a different direction and moving towards it at the same time’. Understanding how to motivate a movement was additionally connected to the projection of energy levels during the song and to changes of pace. In one song, the use of a chair within the performance area provided scope for strategic actions in terms of moving towards or away from the object, and also demonstrated how moving behind the chair was ‘the least reinforcing behaviour’ that a singer could have selected.

Observers noted that the leader ‘was happy for there not to be an ending … he said go away and think about this, this is up to you’, so the whole process felt very unrestricted and not directed towards a final choice presented in a performance at the end of the coaching process. This multi-layered, holistic approach involving bodily embodiment of the song through gesture, movement and gaze facilitated structural, emotional and dramatic understanding. The open-ended approach also suggests an emphasis on exploration without boundaries as opposed to rehearsal towards definitive performance, and aligns with Conquergood’s dialogical perspective, enabling dialogue between the performer and the song to remain ‘open and ongoing’ (Conquergood, 1985: 9).


Observers: Legitimation

Observers were ‘encouraged to input our visual opinions and interpretations’ and felt active; one observer described how ‘in my head I had … a different interpretation of the song, so I was taking into consideration what was said and thinking how could I apply that to my own setting’. Watching the performers could develop performance awareness: ‘I am interested in imagining myself being on the other side … would I have the confidence to forget all the things like diction and all the technicalities and just completely imagine yourself in the moment?’

While there is parity with this process and the experience of the audience in a classical vocal master class, this leader created an atmosphere in which everyone could contribute, informed by his previous experience involving interactive exercises explored ‘with people, not to people’ from his theatrical training. One observer felt that ‘it was really easy to input’, and that ‘no-one in the audience was looking with a distinctly critical eye … it was very much like “how can we make this performance better and it’s really good already; what can we bring to change it as a collaborative group?”’. The performers felt that the audience ‘were able to comment openly … sometimes you could see people nodding or see their facial expressions and understand whether or not you were properly communicating what you wanted to communicate to them, so having an audience was definitely beneficial’. Students thought that it was ‘quite supportive, and you felt confident giving ideas and receiving ideas’. The leader also noted that with a small group (fewer than ten people in the audience) there was more freedom to experiment and less tendency to make the focus on performing compared with his previous workshops. The focus on active participation appeared to one student as ‘informal conversation rather than a judging panel’; furthermore, the emphasis on dialogue and openness towards sharing rather than imposing legitimises and develops the responses of observers as well as of performers.


Engaging with the process: Facilitation and liberation

Singers felt that their ability to engage with the process was enabled by their individual preparation (learning the score, researching the text, considering the composer’s aims), and through the leader’s facilitation. It was noted that in some classical master classes ‘you can feel a little bit under attack and under scrutiny, but that wasn’t how this one was’. Instead, students felt that the leader was ‘genuinely interested’; ‘the way he communicates with you is very open and you feel like you can ask any questions you want to’, and ‘he’s relaxed and warm … he has a talent in speaking and making you inspired’. One performer noted that his manner ‘made you be a bit more daring’, and this was something to aspire to: ‘to be able to encourage people to be daring and to … experiment with things, without them feeling like they’re going to fail’.

Students observed that the leader ‘was very concentrated on what he was doing at that moment and really paid attention to detail’, which included some demonstration. His facilitation was enhanced through ‘probing the imagination of each individual in a gentle, warm way’; by asking questions he ‘managed to get the performer thinking, and that’s how he got emotion and imagination out of them’. This also led to consideration of ownership: one performer felt that ‘it was very collaborative, but I kind of had ultimate ownership’. This was because ‘the movements … and the gestures that he was suggesting were relating to my [initial] reading of the text … he didn’t impress his reading on to it – he went with my reading and thought of what would fit’. Furthermore, the fact that the session enabled students to develop work on material unconnected to performance assessment created freedom to respond to what the leader called the ‘liberation that comes from that playground, rather than a classroom’.


Challenges and risks

Despite the freedom afforded by the context and manner of facilitation, both leader and singers noted various challenges, including challenges for performers in responding to new processes and information, and for the leader, concerning the extent of input and the creation of a safe space for exploration.

Challenges for the performers related to time constraints, and, as the leader noted, ‘being asked to think about a whole lot of things they’re never asked to think about’, and ‘to be creative in a physical domain the same way you’d be creative in a musical domain’. This could include many elements of ‘basic theatre-craft’ such as ‘how you stand up and sit down, how you move your feet, and when do you stand up or sit down, and how do you walk slowly and motivate walking slowly’ and also ‘which part of your body turns first, and where your eyes are looking’, which needed careful management in order not to overwhelm the performer. The leader was concerned ‘not to talk too much’ and ‘to let the work evolve in its own way, with support and critique, but not to impose too much’. Admitting this difficulty, he noted that ‘you have to impose something, otherwise there’s no reason for you to be there, so the question is exactly what and exactly when. When is sometimes as important as what’. Therefore, continual awareness of input and dialogue is needed.

Additionally, the leader acknowledged an element of risk through the potential for ‘some sort of peer group interaction … that causes a person to feel that they’ve made a spectacle of themselves or been ridiculous’, such as, for example, laughter at a particular gesture. This concern to create a safe space was also discussed by the students. One noted that ‘in terms of feeling safe to experiment … there was no pressure in terms of what was going to happen’, particularly as the observers were not following scores. Multiple repetitions were used as an exploratory process in order to try different approaches and see how the performer and audience responded, rather than as a device to work towards a particular standard of attainment, and observers noted that ‘what he was hoping you to gain from it was much more experimental, much more interesting rather than “we’ve got an exact aim here and I’m looking to correct each point so that we come out with a perfect finish”’. This created flexibility, openness to different possibilities and creative freedom.

Compared to a conventional classical vocal master class, it was interesting to observe that certain elements such as intonation and diction were largely missing. This was deemed positive: ‘the fact that the workshop wasn’t focusing on vocal technique or exact ensemble with the accompanist created that safe environment, because [the focus was on] your overall presentation of the piece’. In fact, the missing elements only became apparent to students in the interviews and focus group discussion after I mentioned them. One student felt these concerns were ‘obviously important, but … I didn’t feel they were lacking from the workshop because it wasn’t about that’, as the main aim was ‘am I going to present this in a way that’s going to be effective?’ Another student felt that these aspects could be prioritised by those with a mindset aiming to ‘want to do well and get things right’ but ‘sometimes that cuts you off from the heart of your musicianship and performance’, and therefore, as the leader noted, ‘it’s important that the focus stays on the greater purpose’. When timbre and diction were discussed, ‘we talked about it because it arose out of the theatrical and musical consequences, not as an objective in itself’. This enhanced the focus on dramatic presentation and emotional connection, and reduced preoccupations with accuracy.



Through exploring and applying interdisciplinary processes from musical theatre, rather than working to realise the vision of a classical master class leader or a director, students were encouraged to ‘make your own concept, so it’s kind of more imaginative’. This suggests a productive and positive pedagogical outcome, enabling student ownership. Through involvement in the experimental and exploratory processes, students realised that ‘to a certain extent there was no right and wrong … something might be interesting, something might be able to be looked at in a different way … there were no limits’. The questioning approach of the leader led to realisation of the possibility of divergent readings of the text, which led to exploration of multiple potential interpretations of the music. While one performer thought that ‘an audience is intelligent enough to know that there are multiple readings to any piece of music’, the processes engaged with could define the performer’s intentions: ‘I wouldn’t have ever been able to clarify specifically which one I was trying to communicate if I hadn’t used some form of gesture’. This also encouraged commitment in performance. The connections between spatial location and musical material highlighted through structural focus of discussion could also aid memorisation, both for performers and for observers, and therefore enhance audience reception.

This experience might then enable greater emotional engagement in performance: ‘when you connect with the meaning more, the technique and the actual voice stuff happens a lot easier and it’s more real – it’s more connected and more emotionally engaging for the audience as well’. Therefore, ‘you’re occupying your mind with something other than the anxiety of trying to get something right … you’re thinking about telling the story of the music, which is much more liberating because it’s not about you – it’s about the music’. One singer felt that ‘the session was a really good re-invigoration of why I sing and why I want to – why I perform’. Another described the new approach as ‘thinking of it as an emotional journey and then the emotion that the character’s feeling would inform your singing as well so it would inform the point of the piece as well as the action that you’re doing’. Therefore, ‘it’s thinking of everything as a whole and combining those separate elements together to make it into a whole performance’.

This led to awareness that the process was ‘changing your thinking’; ‘it opens your eyes to a wide range of new possibilities in performance and in the way that you prepare and learn a song’; and ‘it’s so good for losing all inhibitions’, as well as learning to deliver with total commitment. One student felt that now, ‘even in a more classical context I would definitely be more inclined to use more gesture and wouldn’t be afraid to use facial expressions to help communicate what I’m saying to the audience’. Students noted that workshops helped define their ideas of what kind of singer they hoped to become, and it was also felt that this experience would enhance the work of their vocal teachers: ‘teachers are always looking for ways to make us sing and communicate really well in front of an audience’.

Those observing noted that watching others engage with the process would inform their own performance: ‘I get to realise what the possible weaknesses might be, like body language weaknesses and how you can improve those … you get more critical and more distance’. Focused observation enabled an audience member to consider ‘what would I be doing if I was the performer, and what would I be thinking as the observer that I should be doing? How would I be directing myself in the situation, or if I was outside the situation?’ Therefore, critical awareness developed which could inform both performance and appreciation as an audience member and as a potential director. The leader felt that ‘you’re gaining insights, and, to a certain extent, behavioural techniques, that will pay off in a much more indirect way, in a different kind of performance’.

Furthermore, both observers and performers were also developing reflective skills, as the leader noted: ‘the ability to reflect accurately and intelligently on what you have done is really crucial to performers, and that’s a hard skill to teach’. In this context, students were encouraged to consider what the performers had just done, how it compared to their previous delivery and to the preceding discussion of possibilities; they then contemplated and discussed further potential modes of delivery. This could relate to students’ possible future work as directors, workshop and/or master class leaders as well as performers through understanding dialogue and reflection within coaching contexts.

Further development

While literature on classical master class learning focuses predominantly on the master class as a ‘one-off event’, with consideration given to the roles of master and audience (Hanken, 2008; Haddon, 2014), student perspectives (Long et al., 2011) and coordinating re-starts (Szczepek Reed et al., 2013), little has been written about how further development of learning might occur. Long et al. (2011) noted that some students felt that master class participation would influence practising and motivation, and would have career relevance through enhanced awareness of communication in performance, professionalism and independent thinking. However, there is scope to extend understanding students’ views on the development of their understanding of learning in this context, both as participants and as observers.

In this study, all participants were interested in further development of the work, though they agreed that it would be difficult to achieve in isolation as an individual. One student felt that ‘I’d love to say I could do it on my own but I probably couldn’t … no matter how much I understand it in my own head, I’ve always found it difficult to think of something by myself’. In order to explore dramatic possibilities in her vocal performance this student had asked other people for direction: ‘I’ve been working on my ability to be receptive to their ideas, but I think the next step for me will be “how do I actually direct my own arias?”’. Even in vocal lessons, students thought that it would be hard to shift the focus away from technique, due to limited hours of teaching. However, one student did note that ‘when you’re practising there’s no reason that you can’t do what you would do in a performance because that’s the best way to rehearse’. Following the workshop, this student felt that ‘I’d be more inclined to go to my lesson and say “we did this in workshop and I found it really helpful and I think I’ll perhaps sing it even better if I use these techniques”’.

Two of the observers decided to work as a singer-director collaborative partnership to apply some of the processes utilised during the workshop. The song they chose to work on was Jerome Kern’s ‘Can’t help lovin’ dat man’, which they explored together in two sessions. The first theme emerging from their subsequent focus group discussion was the vulnerability of the singer, who felt that ‘the more intimate and more familiar the situation … the harder it is to put on an extra layer of performing’. This was recognised by the student acting as coach, who described the singer’s initial participation as a ‘huge step’. Reflecting on her feelings, the singer connected her experience in this session to previous work on the same song in an Alexander technique session, where she had felt that she was not ‘connecting to the song’ and had realised that it was ‘about breaking through a barrier of how I personally feel … being aware that I’m singing somebody else’s words rather than being the person that channels the song’.

The student-coach recognised the need for the singer to be more emotional, and helped achieve this through work on facial expression, gaze, movement and use of hands. As with the workshop participants, the singer realised that ‘the intention had to come first … if I thought how I was going to move and then did it, it became very robotic, but I had to do it naturally through the words of the song’. This process was facilitated by multiple exploratory attempts with some input from the coach suggesting and demonstrating where and how to move while allowing the singer to find her own way; the coach reflected that ‘you did the same thing but in a different way from what I had said, which was more natural to you’. As in the workshop, performative elements were related to the music; for example, the coach suggested ‘opening your mouth more because it is a phrase that needs to be stressed more’. The coach felt that after a few attempts ‘your look is different … more friendly, more alive … professional, less childish’.

Both students felt that collaboration was essential. The singer observed that ‘it’s very hard to [explore these ideas] in front of someone else’, but also felt that ‘it’s even harder to do it without somebody watching you because although I could tell what I was doing was more fluid and more natural I still didn’t feel certain about how it was coming across’. She stressed the importance of her trust and belief in the coach but also noted that repetition and practice led to gradually feeling more comfortable. The participants needed to allow time to accommodate the development of the working relationship, the singer’s trust in the coach, and the singer’s self-belief. The peer learning extension of the workshop suggests that the process is viable for application in different contexts, and that students are able to reflect on, apply and adapt coaching principles to positive effect.

Other students noted that the transferable principles observed in the workshop could inform extra-curricular work in peer activities such as musicals, opera performance, and vocal ensemble settings, and would enhance their own vocal teaching work. One student said that ‘it brought home how advantageous it would be to get that theatrical idea, the drama side of things into [performance] earlier’. While all students felt that application of the work had to be context-appropriate, raising concerns that it would perhaps not be acceptable to perform art song in a dramatic way using gestures and movement in the context of an audition, it was felt that engaging with the processes explored in the workshop would enhance performance and would help audiences engage with the work, perhaps even changing their perceptions of art song. However, the leader felt that students could turn the application of theatre-craft ‘to their advantage really quite spectacularly, even in a constrained Lieder recital’, and one performer stated that she might be ‘more inclined to sing art song in an audition for an operatic role now, knowing I can present it in exactly the same way’. This student was also keen to apply the processes to other songs in the same cycle, and to perform them to peers: ‘the workshop opened my eyes to a new way of performing art song’. This could promote wider understanding of the benefits of this way of working; furthermore, development of the mode of performance could take the work into new venues.


Discussion and implications

Student comments relating to this workshop align the processes to Conquergood’s concept of open-ended ‘dialogical performance’, facilitated through the creation of a ‘safe space’ for learning in which all participants and observers were able to contribute, and where learner agency and empowerment were promoted by the leader’s belief in their ideas. The leader’s qualities of warmth, subject knowledge and passion for the material and its possibilities as well as for the student learning experience show a skilled facilitator at work, and this dialogical approach enabled a more egalitarian relationship between leader, participants and observers than the normal master class. The responses from the small sample demonstrate active and creative engagement with the material and with other participants, both in the session and subsequently: unlike the classical master class, where a community of practice is acknowledged within the specific class (Hanken, 2010), here, learning occurred not only within the actual workshop but also subsequently in a wider peer community of practice.

This mode of inquiry, generated here through the ‘indivisible expression’ of musical theatre, fusing music, acting and movement (Burgess and Skilbeck, 2000: 16) may be particularly enlightening for those with a background in art song. In this case, the crossing of boundaries, the connection with the multi-modal nature of musical theatre, with the process of engagement and interaction with protagonists whom students might not normally meet in their own discipline appears to create flexibility, embodied creative insights and responsiveness which have relevance to processional capabilities and employability. Furthermore, the processes explored during this workshop may not only have implications for the creative development of the performance of art song, but may also lead to the development of pedagogy and performance in other areas.

Issues raised that are worthy of consideration in future research are as follows: (1) the idea of safe space, and how this is facilitated by the leader and experienced by participants and observers; (2) the relationship between the workshop and the one-to-one lesson, particularly concerning the balance of technical and interpretive work and the application of ideas from one context to another; (3) students’ development of these ideas in other contexts, unsupported by lecturers and vocal teachers; (4) the relationship between process and performance and the ways in which students are able to consciously manipulate elements such as gaze, gesture, pace of movement etc. within vocal performance; and (5) methods of reflection and deepening awareness of process and product within lessons, workshops and performance settings. In addition to extending discipline-specific knowledge, the work of this particular session demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary collaboration, and future development in this area could be enhanced through the contribution of students to research through articulating pedagogical insights generated by their own participation as workshop leaders and directors, and through their responses to the richness of collaborative learning possible within the dynamic cultures of engagement in which they are active protagonists.



Thanks to Professor Bill Brooks and to music students at the University of York for participating in this research.



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