minstrel: BardicIdeas on how to improve

J. Michael Shew jshewkc at pei.edu
Tue Mar 11 21:47:12 PST 1997



Okay, I'm in for a while, why not answer the question....
	The best advice I can give to a performer of any bardic work is to
"perform what you believe in."  In a nutshell;
	If you think the piece is excellent, done to a "t", having all the
structure
and power that a performance piece should have, you will do it with the
confidence that a performer should have.
	Example:
	One of my students is a 50+ year old Baron who is loved by darn
near all
of those who know him.  He writes wonderful poetry, but his performance of
his
work is just above abismal!  He tries, but he is more worried about the
wording
than his performance.
	One night, over stouts, (Yes, I really do drink stout!) I asked
him to read
the poem he always talks about, a little read piece by Kipling that he
always says
is the best D@#$%ed poem ever written.  It's a tear-jerker thing.
	His reading, by his fireplace, lightly misted by Guiness, was
first rate.  He
paused for effect, put the stength in his voice when he needed it, and
conveyed
the emotion it required.  A rock would have cried, (and if I wasn't too
drunk, I
think the wall did!)
	The trick, I taught him, was to believe in his work as much as he
did in
that poem.  Or to try too at least.  It has had quite an effect.
	

	Secondly:  I teach mundanely, and I use the same tricks with my
SCA
students.  All bardic performance is simmilar to singing.  You need to
mark the
piece as if it were a song.  Mark your pauses, your points of emphasis,
even your
breaths if necissary!  My worksheets for a story look more like a music
sheet than
a prose form.
	If you know when to pull the tears in a tale, you are one step
closer to
getting the audience to cry!

	Third: The best source of bardic knowlege is other bards, both the
"dead" ones you read, (like Snorri Sturlusson,) and the "live" ones you
meet on
this net.  (Although I admit, this is not the best way to get help on
performance
skills, unless we are judging typing! <chuckle here>)
	Getting a small knot of clued in bards who are willing to look for
the
betterment of themselves and others is primary in growing as a bard.

	Now, as to your lack of support:
	I am in a Barony like that.  Thankfully, I have been striking out
for so many
years, that the baron has decided that he does like me after all.
(However, in his
own words, "the rest of the bards are a lost cause..."  Hey, I'm working
on him!)
	Your best response is the crowd.  Tell you tales to small groups
at the
edge of the event.  Entertain the folks who didn't get feast, and went out
for
burgers, and now have to wait in the outer hall until feast is over.  Grab
the front
porch at a post-revel.
	In a few months, people will ask for you.  (This is assuming you
are
good.)  Then the Autocrats will begin to seek you out.  They do look for
me.  In
fact, I have a hard time getting to sit through a feast anymore.  If I am
not on the
list, I get called...(Sigh, he tries to sound like he's put out, but his
ego gets in the
way...)
	Mikal Hrafspa

____________________________________________________________________________
    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

			(JOHNSAGA)




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