How can acting techniques improve music performance?
Prof. Paul Barker
My research focuses on the connection between the practice of acting and instrumental music performance with a view to develop a new Higher Education course in order to improve performance skills. I have chosen Constantin Stanislavski in order to illustrate the effectiveness of an inter-disciplinary pedagogical practice. Arguably one of the most important practitioners in actor training, Stanislavski’s ‘system’ puts emphasis on action for a purpose and a focus on truth, an objective that musicians can use to find meaning, intention and provide them with much needed concentration to enhance their performance. My study’s main emphasis is on the solo performer who may be accompanied in a performance setting. I examine musician’s conventional routines when preparing for performance, including one-to-one lessons with their teacher; workshops with an expert; group lessons with peers and rehearsals with other performance members (for example accompanists). Through the main focus of my analysis – flautists rehearsing and performing music through conventional routines – I aim to develop a new approach which incorporates the use of acting techniques.
I am a musicologist, flautist, pianist and actor. Much of my research focuses on the synthesis between acting and music performance, with a special interest in Higher Education courses. Other research interests include music performance pedagogy, programmatic music, musical theatre, teaching acting in Higher Education and Stanislavski. From 2007 I have been working as an Associate Lecturer in Music at the University of Chichester, where I run the Music Theory support seminars and lectures on the Musical Grammar module. I established a private practice music business in 1998, teaching flute, piano, keyboard and music theory. I have also been employed to teach musical instruments for West Sussex Music, West Sussex Music Service, Music Matters, Portsmouth Music Service and Sussex Academy of Music.
Prior to working at the University of Chichester, I worked as an actor. I trained at Anna Scher Theatre School, East 15 Acting School (Summer Course) and Rose Bruford College. After college, I continued to receive acting lessons from Simon Dunmore and singing lessons from Stephen Douse. Over the years, I have appeared in several TV productions including The Bill, EastEnders, Family Affairs, Casualty, Teachers, and a number of advertisements. I have also acted in corporate videos and short films.
2015 ‘An investigation into current Acting and Music Performance Higher Education Courses in the U.K.’, Intersections Impact and Value conference, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London (RCSSD)