public speaking primer

It’s day 3, and after a long morning of rehearsals, we gather after lunch for one of our favorite sessions: the public speaking workshop. How many of us don’t get nervous before going on stage to perform? And when we have to say a few words to the audience, that amps up the pressure even more.

Enter our resident public speaking expert and pianist, Adam Marks, who takes us through an activity that highlights the different ways that artists traditionally present their work. We see works by the same artist paired together, we examine the Wikipedia-style facts of their life, and we hear Adam’s personal feelings on the work. Does any of that information change our perception of what we see? Then we consider what happens if we let some of the relevant facts and some personal details blend together into the story of how this work came to be presented today, all in a vocal style that matches the audience we’re reaching. Now we get nods!

We challenge ourselves to create connective statements, bringing musical concepts audiences by relating them to ideas they know and enjoy. Trying to explain the return of many themes at the end of the Poulenc Sextet? Compare it to a soap opera, in which you know you’ve reached the end of the hour by the quick changes that begin to occur (pregnant woman at top of stairs, couple gets into the car on a rainy night, coma victim’s eyes begin to flutter…).

Once you’ve got your content, it’s time to start thinking about the physical act of speaking and finding your natural voice. To that end, Adam leads us through some vocal warm-ups in the dark. Huh huh maaaaaaaaa!!!!

After hours, we get a visit from Jenny’s son, Charlie, who won the “who tires out faster, the 2-year-old or the 32-year-old” contest between him and Eric. Here they are running down the hallway like birds!