Education

 Vocal Variety

 Vocal Varity encourages the audience to be:

  • Interested
  • Engaged
  • Inspired
  • Motivated
  • Connected
  • Convinced

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Color code key information in your script and apply the following information.

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PACE can be compromised by adrenaline-rush nervousness. This makes the audience feel spoken at rather than with.

  • A Leisurely pace conveys a feeling of comfort, importance, and seriousness.
  • A Rapid pace conveys urgency, excitement, passion, and emotion.
  • Pick up the pace when you want listeners to feel more motivated, stimulated, and lively. Then resume your regular pace.

Manage a steady, even pace for most of the presentation.

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2.Projection– volume of voice- loudly or quietly- as related to topic, audience, environment. Changes in volume signal importance. Speak quietly, whisper into the microphone to cause people to lean in to hear what you say.

Pace plus Projection

  • Loudly but slowly – authority, credibility
  • Softly and slowly – closely connect with the audience
  • Slowly and drawn out – boring
  • Loudly and quickly – joke.

Practice aloud as if reading to young children. Decrease the pace and increase the energy to help them understand and retain their attention.

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3.  Pauses emphasize important concepts and come as a natural result of giving more stress to a particular idea, word, action that you want your audience to take. Pauses give listeners a well-needed break to catch up, because speakers deliver info far more quickly than listeners can hear or absorb it. Use pauses to help the audience retain and understand key concepts. But use sparingly or you will seem to be losing the thought or the words.

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4.  Pitch can help audiences stay tuned in. Change tune and tone to keep listeners on their edge, signaling that a new idea is coming. But don’t be predictable. Don’t be, for example, always emphasizing the last sentence in a paragraph by slowing down or always speeding up when you make a transition, or your pattern can become sing-songy and boring. Pick a 3-word phase such as “a good day.” Repeat the phrase in as many ways as possible to reflect anger, joy, silliness, depression, authority, meekness, shyness, etc.

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5-  Pronunciation – Nothing can undermine your credibility as a speaker more than mispronouncing ANYTHING. Learn and memorize correct pronunciation of words you find difficult. Mispronunciation to emphasize or as a character identification should be immediately recognized as being just that and done at the director’s bidding.

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“By George, I think she’s got it!”

Body Language

4 Tips With Applications

Your body language is every bit as important as the words you say and how you say them. Your body language and words must match.
If not, people will focus on your body language, and not on your words.

Have someone spot check your delivery or videotape your at-home rehearsal and check your delivery against this checklist. No one should use a camera, phone, etc. to videotape at rehearsals.

1-  Posture – Project your desired image from the  moment you are first seen and/or heard. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Keep chin parallel to the floor. That will make you look taller. Take a moment to stand still so that all eyes are upon you. Then begin.  Application – Do this at every rehearsal- at home and at troupe rehearsals.

2-  Gesture and Movement – Bring energy to present, magnify key concept, support your word: Small– fingers only; Medium– pivot at your wrist; Large– hinge at your elbow; Extra Large– originate at your shoulder and move outward, upward, or downward. The bigger the audience, the bigger your gestures need to be to be visible or to make an impact. Open-hand gestures build more trust or rapport than close-hand gestures. Use close-hand gestures to occasionally make a point.  Application – also practice at home in your costume or the clothing required by your role. Avoid crossing the midline of your body with your hands. Point only to threaten or accuse as indicated in your script. Wildly wave your hands and arms only when you want to project being out of control.

3-  Walk – Only when you are making a transition. Take 3 steps only, while aligning your eye contact, hand, and leading foot all together. Avoid rocking back and forth. If you must walk backwards to connect with audience on the side or behind you, move backwards discreetly at a diagonal or by gradually stepping back as you emphasize key points. Application – incorporate this while learning your role.

4-  Eye Contact – Read the audience and not regions of the room. Adjust your presentation to what your eyes are telling you. Scan the audience only if there is a specific purpose as scripted. Otherwise, the vast majority of the time, have meaningful eye-to-eye contact with one person at a time. Applications A. Practice making eye contact for 3-6 seconds, the right amount of time to convey one idea to one person.  B. Practice normal facial expressions in front of a mirror and then make it more and more exaggerated to be seen at the back of the room.  C. Watch in a mirror as you rehearse to make sure you aren’t making facial expressions that are contrary to your message, e.g. clenching or unclenching your jaw, licking your lips, blinking eyes, frowning, or squinting. These result when concentrating too hard on what you’re trying to say.

Why Stories?

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Our brains seem uniquely adapted to making sense of experience through stories. We constantly tell stories and listen to them in our daily lives in conversations, sermons, poems, songs, and even in jokes—little bitty stories.

A story may entertain or delight us. For example, Little David uses a slingshot to defeat the giant, Goliath, in1 Samuel 17. While entertaining us, the story serves a political purpose, introducing us to David, the future king of Israel.

A Bible story may provide an explanation for pain or joy, such as the experience of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2.

The Bible also contains many stories about individuals who face the difficulties of life, leaving home to travel long distances alone to meet uncertain futures. Some flee to escape the rage of a brother or the abuse of a mistress. Lovers abandon others.  These people are obviously flawed, and we are meant to identify with them. How they handle the events of their lives and God’s role in supporting them are key lessons in the story.

Sometimes we are certain what we think about an event or a character, but then we are proved wrong. For Example, in the opening chapters of 1 Samuel, Eli the priest fails to recognize real piety in front of him, mistaking Hannah’s profound prayer for a drunken stupor. Soon after that encounter, a messenger from God informs this same priest that because he is too forgiving of his corrupt sons, they will be killed and a new priesthood established. By this point we have enough information about Eli to consider him in a strongly negative light. Yet in the midst of these problematic events, Eli continues to lovingly instruct his young protégé, the future prophet Samuel. He does so even after realizing that God has commanded Samuel to announce Eli’s tragic fate to him. Eli’s gentle response to the difficulties of his life forces us to reevaluate him, and we exchange contempt and scorn for pity and surprise. The process of adjustment keeps us involved.

And Bible stories describe encounters with God that are personal and private or very public. Such stories allow us to glimpse and be moved by God’s care for humanity.  Then we can apply the principles of developing a relationship with God that moves us from a woulda-shoulda-coulda experience to being overcomers in the power of a loving God, brought into the family of God by Jesus, His son.

Performance-Level Reading

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1. Engaging the audience.  Rather than a quick look up at the floor or front row now and then, they should plan— mark their script—with, e.g., a red vertical line to remind them to look up and decide on their rotation, WHERE they will look.

There are six sections in the cycle of addressing an audience:  CENTER front and back (CFB), RIGHT front and back (RFB), and LEFT front and back (LFB), etc.

Arriving early can help with this and even engaging persons (targets) in advance to sit in these from 3 to 6 sections to facilitate engaging with them—looking AT the person, or any PERSON in the section in front of their target, and a PERSON in the section behind that target— from 3 to 6 specific persons.

Family and friends may engage with this training, simply by sitting in the CENTER, RIGHT, and LEFT locations rather than sitting together. LOAD the audience.

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2. Speak, Stop, Speak. In the engaging rotation is A NANO SECOND STOPPING OF SPEECH while turning in the new direction. THEN speak INTO THE MIC, so speakers are not whipping words around the room. That nano second stopping MAY be translated as a quick smile.At more advanced stages of their training, speakers may call people by name—and their delivery timing records for either smiling, speaking, or both.

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3. The Usual:  planned expression highlighted in their script, correct pronunciation of words—words phonetically written where needed.

This is the level of reading to be strived for by a member of the TAPESTRY troupe. Script email attachments are given as document files rather than PDF files in case performers want to double space, etc. However, dealing with one sheet of paper is easier than multiple sheets. Use paper rather than electronic scripts.

Stay tuned for more to this story.

 

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