minstrel: aid for baby bards

Pendar pendar at unm.edu
Mon Mar 10 07:55:56 PST 1997

> 	- If one of you has done this sort of regular workshop, what do you
> feel is most important to keep in mind?

Please keep in mind that you can't TEACH anyone Bardic Skills! They 
either Get It or they Don't! Don't Push! They must motivate themselves to 
learn. The best you can do is provide examples and some lyrics, music, 
and stories for them to take home and study. They should then take it 
upon themselves to learn to emulate the elements of bardic that they like.

> 	- What suggestions might you have for dealing with the effects of
> "constructive criticism"?

If your workshop is to work at all it has to be free of criticism of any 
kind. It should be like having a bardic circle at your house, the only 
difference being that before people sit around and perform for each 
other, someone should explain the elements of good bardic style. That 
way, those who need the help will have gotten time to think about it 
BEFORE they perform. 

> 	- What suggestions do you have in terms of structure of the evening?

1. Have people get together informally. Share a pizza or some spaghetti 
and get all the chit-chat about mundanities out of the way.

2. Assemble in a comfortable area where everyone can sit in a circle 
facing a center instead of everyone facing forward (classroom settings 
only work in school and psychologically people will feel less comfortable 
participating if they feel like they've come to be taught.) If you can 
assemble in the backyard around a fire, that's even better.

3. Have a philosophical discussion about Bardic Style. Do NOT lot this 
drag on for more than an hour! People have come to perform, not talk.

4. Allow people to perform in a standard pick-pass-or play style. This 
will allow everyone a chance to perform, even the shy ones, which is 
important if your workshop is to work.

5. Do not allow people to give advice or criticism at this point. 
Instead, find a way to work it into the style discussion of the next 
meeting. That way, people will not feel like they are being persecuted.

> What general advice might you have for me, as the > moderator/facilitator?

You are the ogre. Don't be rude, but make sure that things move along in 
a timely manner. Aside from providing the place and arranging for the 
food, that is your primary function.

> Any and all suggestions you might have will be greatly appreciated. With
> thanks in advance for your kind assistance,

As you can tell, I have run several of these things both at SCA events 
and in private. I have, unfortunately, become rather jaded towards the 
entire thing, but am more than willing to help someone ELSE do it. : )

-Pendar the Bard, Baronial Bard of al-Barran, Kingdom Bard of the Outlands

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