minstrel: aid for baby bards
J. Michael Shew
jshewkc at pei.edu
Mon Mar 10 16:30:26 PST 1997
Alright, I'll get involved....(but I'll hate myself later...)
1. The concept that you can't teach Bardic skills comes from the idea that
what we do is entirely a product of talent. I am Mundanely a teacher with
certification in Speec and Theater, and teach the skills involved in
Bardic arts as a proffession.
Yes, they can be taught. But the problems that will be faced are
not just the ability or desire to practice or study. You also face the
inability of some people to hear themselves as others do. I use a tape
recorder or even a Video recorder to show the student what we percieve.
Also, the concept of "fragile egos" is not solely the province of
the SCA Bardic. I see a lot of students who are sure they already know
how to act, and nothing I tell them will convince them otherwise.
The real source of this problem is that when a bard is Really
good, the audience is convinced that it is easy. A really refined
performer makes the work look as simple as opening your mouth and letting
the sound out. (The same thing happens when a bard sees a really good
oral interpretation using a "script" book in hand. They believe that the
performer is reading it for the first time. HA! My students often
practice with blank books! You turn the page on a cue! They are no more
"reading" than they are flying! Yet the SCA bard believes that they will
look like that reading a piece!)
2. Running a real "Workshop with bards" is a nightmare if you are going to
take anyone who wishes to show up. I run smaller workshops with bards
_attendence!_ Most of them are not new to the SCA. Darn few are new to
Bardic. Most of them know that I don't critique alone, and my say has
little or no more wieght than anyone elses! My degrees and rank in the
SCA Be D*&^%Ned.
I do give lessons PRIVATELY to new bards, and only as long as
they want them.
3. As to the rampant "don't hurt the bards' feelings" attitude in the
SCA; Yup, been there, done that. You get the bards you encourage. If
they are too fragile for critique, then the first rude guy in a feast will
destroy them. If you can't take a little constructive criticism, the
first fire with the all-too-honest drunk will make you take up crochet
I tell my students in the SCA that the worst and best place to
entertain is feast. If you cannot hold a crowds attention, if you voice
will not carry, if your material is not sufficiently powerful, they will
bury you in conversation and loudly thank you for shutting up when you are
done. No audience is more devistating.
But if you get them at once, hold their attention, and make them
forget the remove untill it gets cold, they will applaud you, ask for
more, and make you a hero. No audience is more appreciative or rewarding.
It's all in the way you think of it and prepare...
Mikal the Ram; an annoying Bard of no redeeming qualities
__________________________(jshewkc at pei.edu)________________________________
Dread Jarl of the Vanir in the storm wind victorious
By your grace this sea steed treads pathways of silver.
We honor with whispers like the sound of wave song
Your wild waters and fair wind words
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