"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

02 April 2015

Day 2 of the A to Z Challenge: Tips, Techniques and Reflections from a StoryCoach

B is for Blogging and Breathing

What do 'blogging' and 'breathing' have to do with the art of storytelling? To begin with, both are instrumental in helping you to communicate; and both will ensure the vitality of your storytelling. . . .

. . . .  So, does a storyteller need a blog? An increasing number of storytellers certainly think so. But it depends what you want to do. If you're interested in building an online relationship with your audience, then a blog can be a great way of reaching a large audience over a wide area. It's like an online resumé or CV but so much more. You can keep an up-to-date schedule of upcoming gigs, post photographs and videos of your gigs, and links to your favourite sites or downloads. You can also invite comments from your fans and followers and, with some extra help, sell your story products like CDs, books, courses, and audio file downloads.

Interested? Check out Google's Blogger (www.blogger.com) and Wordpress (www.wordpress.com). Both offer instructional videos to get you started and both have very helpful user forums to answer your questions and offer advice.
Now, let's turn to our breath. Firstly, from a hygienic perspective, ensure that your breath is pleasant smelling. Nothing worse than being up close and personal with an audience and turning them off your story with the foul breath of a dragon. Lots of remedies to be found out there. Mine is mint leaves and avoiding coffee before a gig.

Secondly, give attention to your breathing. Singers, actors and storytellers all learn to breathe effectively so as to serve their texts and vocal delivery. Your voice is your instrument. Learn to play it well with breath control. When I don't pay attention I invariably run out of breath before the end of the line or section I'm speaking. When I do, I'm able to pace my delivery, giving emphasis where I want. Breathe effectively and your characters and story will live.

Breathing from your diaphragm will give you greater control and tap into your “fire in the belly” energy. Relax and let your voice resonate. Try experimenting, moving the sound of your voice around in your body – from the belly, the chest, the throat, mouth and nasal cavity. Warm up with vowel sound exercises then consonants. If working with a partner try tossing a ball or beanbag back and forth to one another in time with the sounds you're making. Modulate between loud and soft, fast and slow. Move your body in response to the sounds you make. Have fun. . . .

Extracted from the ABCs of Storytelling: Tips, Techniques and Reflections from a StoryCoach by Michael Williams, Ph.D.

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"We have received only very positive reports of your workshop, and must thank you for being so flexible and responsive both before and in the course of implementing the workshop. It has been lovely to work with you. . . . We are hopeful this project will give rise to future storytelling endeavours, and would be very happy to work with you again if the opportunity arises!" Muireann Crowley, At Home in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, May 2014 ("Storytelling, Research and Public Engagement" workshop)

Michael Williams is a a storyteller of compelling skill. He is also a fine human being who engages in all situations and draws people into the warmth of communication and shared experience." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Scotland

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