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Chris MacLean
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Voice Movement Therapy (VMT) is an integrated Expressive Arts therapy that seeks to embody the voice and use the whole body and the intuition as instruments of self-expression. What is stored within - even the unspeakable stories - are expressed through breath, sound, movement and rhythm. By focusing on the mechanics of voice and movement, the exploration of the energetic sphere and the creation of collaborative sound; painful emotions are allowed to emerge, exist and be transformed. Voice Movement Therapy was founded by Paul Newham inspired by Alfred Wolfsohn’s pioneering work on the human voice and its psychological implications, Roy Hart’s work on the human voice and theatre, otolaryngologist Paul Moses’ study of voice, and the psychological work of Carl Jung.

“I live by breathing in and breathing out. I sing by transforming this breath into sound, sound which in turn
forms the material for the contents of the soul.”
- Alfred Wolfsohn

LifeSong – 10-week intensive course – next session has been POSTPONED

8 participants maximum
If you are interested in being part of the next session, please contact Chris by MARCH 8, to set up an 'intake' interview. All participants must be interviewed before the program starts.

Reclaim the natural malleability of your voice so that the emotional and spiritual bounty of your inner landscape, borne on your words, can sing itself into the hearts and souls of all who listen to you.

Lifesong was created and facilitated for over 20 years by Barclay McMillan. Based on the teachings of Paul Newham, and the International Association for Voice Movement Therapy (IAVMT), LifeSong offers an opportunity to explore your voice as an instrument of self-healing and life transformation. The experience is designed to open you up — physically, emotionally, spiritually — to more fully express the genuine, authentic, multi-faceted you.

In June 2019, at age 87, Barclay decided to retire and pass the torch to yours truly, Chris MacLean, his associate for the past 5 years. Sadly, Barclay passed away on November 2, 2019. But the work, that Barclay said was the most important of his lifetime, continues on in Lifesong.

Admission to LifeSong is by permission of the instructor after a personal interview.
For more info, to set up an interview, or to register, please contact Chris artstraveler(at) or 613 316-one396

How does LifeSong Work?
Every evening of LifeSong has two parts:

Physical Movement & Vocal exploration:
Participants use free movement to probe the interconnections between breath, motion, emotion and voice. This part of the evening is devoted to increasing the malleability of our vocal instrument by exploring 10 different parameters of voice production.
In the second half of the evening, participants explore the various themes of their lives by telling stories and singing songs that they, themselves, have written.

What is LifeSong?
Explore your voice as an instrument of self-healing and life transformation. LifeSong helps you grow a voice that is responsive to your inner landscape and flexible enough to convey your own emotional and spiritual music. Before we could speak, our voices were totally uninhibited. As babies we whimpered our anxiety, sobbed our pain, screamed our rage, cooed our contentment. As our interior experience changed, the sounds we made changed too. But as we acquired symbols — words made less and less use of the physical agility of our vocal instrument. Our voices flattened out and lost much of their ability to authentically convey the feelings underneath our words. LifeSong is exercise for the voice. It opens you up — physically, emotionally, spiritually — to more fully express the genuine, authentic, multi-faceted you.

Songs? Singing?
You don’t need to have musical experience to do LifeSong. We will work with you to take the lines you’ve written and play with
them, exaggerating the natural rise and fall of the spoken language, expanding and freeing your voice, until your uncontrived melody emerges spontaneously from the well of joy or pain, laughter or despair, anger or delight, that bubbles within you.

LifeSong groups are kept small, so that everyone can receive lots of personal attention.

LifeSong is not for casual participation. Voice work is fun, but it can also be emotionally and physically challenging. Participants can expect to spend about three hours per week doing LifeSong homework in addition to class time.

ABOUT CHRIS and private VMT work

In February 2013, Chris returned from South Africa, having completed an intensive experiential VMT training, and has been facilitating individual and group sessions since.

Chris calls her work LICENCE to SING. The work is as much about the LICENSE as it is about singing. Chris’s sessions are not your usual "How to Sing" classes. Participants learn to use their whole body as an instrument, and to ‘get in touch’ with what the body has to say (regardless of physical ability or challenges). It's about learning how to use the full capacity of the voice, not just the habitual one that we gravitate to. It's about slowing down to the rhythm of the heart and allowing one’s self to listen. It's about play. It's about getting out of the busy and bossy chatter of the mind and connecting with something deeper and more creatively free. It's about making sounds that aren't always 'pretty' but are true. It's about being imaginative and exploring the depths and range of sound that we all have the capacity to make. 

If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance. Maybe you won’t become a performer, but if you are someone who wants to:

  • increase your ability and confidence to make sound;
  • be heard;
  • sing, speak and move more expressively;
  • be more aware and accepting of your body;
  • and feel at home in your own skin

– then working with Chris MacLean might just be what you need!

Each series of sessions include:

  • Proper breathing to fully support the voice;
  • Imagining, exploring and making sound into our energetic space (sphere);
  • Introduction to a range of vocal components including various timbres, projection, loudness and expressive dynamics;
  • Connecting with the whole body through movement and meditative breath work;
  • Journal writing;
  • Utilizing the power of words;
  • Creation of simple songs, chants and vocal improvisation

Private clients begin with a minimum commitment of 4 sessions. However, in order to give the one’s self the opportunity to benefit most from the work, 10 or more weekly sessions are advised.

Chris integrates visual art into some of the workshops and private client work.

For all who choose to work with Chris, no previous experience is necessary and participants do not need to know how to read music!

Come as you are; wear lose comfortable clothing and bring a journal and pen/pencil.

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Voice Movement Therapy Training: For all those who seek personal or professional empowerment through the sounding voice. The Voice Movement Therapy Center is pleased to announce the next Foundation Training, The Voice Unchained: Empowering Oneself and Creating Community through the Embodied Voice which will commence in November 2019 at the Marion Music Hall, Marion, MA USA. For more information, please visit the International Association for Voice Movement Therapy website.

LifeSong Barclay McMillan's life changing program - Next 10-week Session begins September 2019. Please read below left and contact Chris for more info


on CKCU Radio for ArtBreak:
Arts & Culture, with
Kristine St-Pierre

JANUARY 13, 2015

Listen live @ 7AM or
archived after the show
Feature interview on CKCU 93.1
with host Suzette Schmiedel on her show I AM ALIVE!
Chris will be talking about Voice Movement Therapy, and the upcoming CD release

International Voice Movement Therapy Association website