Healing Power of Sound Residential
This time last week we were winding up four glorious days at Chris’s Healing Power of Sound Retreat at Lennox Head, where the gorgeous kookaburra shot was taken. (By the way, did anyone get a pic of the big carpet snake that appeared for two days running to soak up the sun in a tree right outside our room? A more perfect symbol of the transformations that were taking place inside as we sang, played and listened would have been hard to find.)
As I reflect on the Retreat, I am amazed at where we all got to in terms of developing our expression. Some of us had little experience expressing and singing other than attending Chris’s Big Sings or one-day workshops; others had been on retreat with Chris a number of times and run their own singing groups back home; a couple work or had worked with music in a professional context. So a very mixed bag in terms of experience, ‘proficiency’ and confidence.
But none of this mattered. At the end of the day it was about having the courage to stand up and be heard; to claim our right to express no matter how that sounded or looked. For many of us it was a challenge if not downright scary - though challenged or not, each and every one of us had moments where we felt the pain of having held ourselves back for so long. Equally however, we all experienced moments of pure joy, reconnecting with our bodies and singing from our hearts and souls – as individuals and as a group. The times we came together as a harmonious (and sometimes not so harmonious) whole were exquisite. Other times it was just plain funny!
And that was another marvellous take-home learning: there is no need for perfection and mistakes are totally OK. Another was the power of being light in all we do… And of learning to be with our bodies in stillness and in gentle movement, feeling as we go… Of sinking into Chris’s wonderful music and feeling all that came with that… The beauty in truly listening to another without running an internal critique, or drifting off with our own thoughts. The opportunity to share mealtimes and lodgings with other participants was also a bonus as there’s definitely a sense of being on a shared and unfolding path.
A new understanding for me too was finally getting that the music is actually there to support the voice, and by extension, the other voices in the room are there to support the individual and the whole. The implications of this for our daily lives is profound when we consider how often we use our voices: there’s an opportunity to support another every time we open our mouths.
So if you’ve ever done Chris’s workshops and had a sense you’d like to go further, or you know deep inside expression is something you struggle with, go for it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never sung before, the support will be there – from Chris, his amazing music and voice, and your fellow students.
Victoria Lister -
Founder at Nonprofit Assist
Chris’s sense of humour and fun encourages connecting with others, and he creates an environment where everyone is supported and supportive of each other. A very nurturing and self empowering week for singers and non-singers alike where you will come away with powerful tools for self healing that can easily be shared with others.
A truly magical course….. transformational. About honesty and clarity… the truth of how one is truly living and being in the world. Simply by being gentle and self loving with ourselves, how much of our life can change, and how much truer our life can be with ourselves and with others.
I found the course to be an opportunity to expand, to remind myself of what I have learnt in previous courses: to delve deeper into myself and connect with my heart, to reclaim the power and purity of my voice. It was a reminder of the joy and power I experience when working and learning with Chris.
Give yourself the gift of having the opportunity to really start to feel: your body, your restrictions, your breath, your heart….and you ! Wonderful, powerful, real, caring, challenging, loving and healing.
This course was a coming home to myself. Living with awareness and taking the gentleness into every aspect of being myself with others. These days have been a revelation and a honouring of myself.
My musical journey started many years ago - however my recognition of the illusion and the emerging beauty of the truth of this journey, unfolded during a healing session with you - Yes I had come to a realisation that while I didn't play with finger blurring speed, I was however well received - people loved my playing - but rarely did I experience true harmony and sheer joy. I 're-tuned myself' as the realisation came that it not about what I play, it's about who I am when I play.
Bittern Primary School, Victoria, Australia
“Chris was fabulous! His energy and obvious love of music was evident as he led the children through a variety of activities. It was great to hear the different sounds coming from the children’s mouths! The children realised they could make many sounds once they were showed how. They were totally engaged- 84 students all at once! Chris kept their attention the whole time - sounds, movement and songs! Confidence and participation increased as the session continued - Chris certainly knew how to play to the children. No behavioural problems during this ‘musical adventure.’ We will welcome Chris back anytime!”
Eureka Primary School, NSW, Australia, Julie Taylor, Principal, Eureka Public School
For the last four years Eureka Public School has been fortunate to have Chris James work extensively with our students, implementing his innovative music program. Through this program all of our students (and staff and parents) have been encouraged to develop their vocal skills in a happy, supportive atmosphere.
Chris has an incredible ability to empower children to be confident in performance. Percussion instruments are used extensively by Chris, and our students have been encouraged to use them as well. Movement to music is also an important component of Chris's program. Our students have had opportunities to perform for audiences, with the kids themselves taking leading roles in creating / composing / choreographing the performance items. Music sessions with Chris are always highly engaging, and filled with fun!
Music Teacher International School of Helsinki, Finland
“Thank you for the wonderful workshop you gave when you came to ISH. It was inspiring! I think you worked the magic for the students and changed a few opinions of what the students believed they were capable of. This was especially effective with many of the boys, they really needed this!
I do hope we have the pleasure of seeing you again one day. I shall be recommending you for further workshops, so please let me know if you come this way again.”
Ballina Southern Cross School – Years K-12
“We all had a wonderful time on Friday. We really appreciate you coming and assisting with teaching these kids how to sing. It truly was amazing to see the seniors engage in your method and they are very keen to have you back. The juniors and year 7 all had a positive response to the vocal techniques that were employed.”
Staff workshop with 70 teachers
I would like to thank you for that brilliant workshop with the staff. I received a lot of positive feedback I look forward to working with you more next term. Until then, Cheers Dave
Vicki Kirwin, Visual and Performing Arts, Elwood Primary School
"The students and staff at Elwood Primary School absolutely loved Chris's singing workshop. Chris had all of us singing with such joyous feeling and expression in no time...totally inspirational work!"
Feedback from children whom Chris has taught worldwide
"Today we had a guest presenter, Chris James. He helped everybody become happier with their voice. Mr. James also helped us to stay in tune, with a strong voice and without pushing. At first I was shy but then as time passed everyone, including me became more confident”.
”Today we had a guest come and talk to us about the voice. He taught us singing techniques and we got to have a lot of fun with it! It was so much fun! He was really funny and had a great voice! His name is Chris James and he comes from Australia. I got his autograph!”.
”Today we had a visitor named Chris James. We all realised that we all have great voices! We moved and sang, from within our own bodies. It was really interesting and fun, but hard to explain how I felt. Something good.”
"My favourite part was when we all got to sing."
‘Shane Gregg from Stanthorpe informed me of an amazing experience he had last year, at a big agriculture conference that he attended. The story goes like this. A couple of hundred farmers who had been listening to guest speakers paint a bleak picture of the future of food shortages across the world, when they were asked to go and participate in the Chris James Workshop. The doors were closed they were trapped, Chris hopped up and said we are all going to learn to really sing and have fun doing it.
The arms crossed, the faces dropped, and a lot of muttering erupted, Chris launched into a note and the room fell into stunned silence. One hour later, every one walked out feeling great and bubbling over with the wonderful sounds they had produced from their voices. Shane was so impressed, he and his daughter attended one of Chris’s two day workshops which was a life changing experience and a lot of fun.
Chris is an interesting character with an amazing gift of helping people express themselves, and to feel good through very simple speaking and singing techniques. He has worked all over the world, one on one, workshops with school children, and concerts with thousands of people. He has had an interesting life starting his career as a soldier then became a monk, a security guard and then found himself through his voice which has bought him and others so much joy.’