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Nov. 4th, 2014

dino head

For LJ Idol: The Fine Art of Giving Directions

I have my students do weekly recordings for my Voice and Diction class. These are not live readings in front of class. Students have an hour in lab to record them and they do not have to memorize the readings.

My basic directions are consistent across recordings. I grade based on three things:

1. Pronunciation of words
2. Rhythm: Does the student pause in the correct place? Does the student hesitate or go back and repeat words? Are they speaking too quickly? Too slowly?
3. Vocal variety: Does the student sound like he or she cares?

Though the above is not really how I phrase things.

I actually write the following:

Re: Overall instructions
You have an hour for this recording. These recordings are never more than a few minutes long, so you should do multiple takes and choose the best one.

Re: Pronunciation
You lose a point for each word you mispronounce. So, if a "t" or "s" appears at the end of a word, you need to pronounce it. For instance, the poet's name is Robert Frost, not Robber Fros. So be careful.

Re: Rhythm
No one gets bonus points for finishing fastest. SLOW DOWN. If I can't hear the words clearly, then you've mispronounced them and you will lose points. Also, do not try to do this all in one breath. It just won't work.

Re: Vocal variety
Do not speak in a flat monotone. You need to sound like you care, even if you don't. PRETEND! USE YOUR IMAGINATION! It boils down to this... if you sound like a robot, that's bad. If you sound like a serial killer, that's worse. Seriously, if I start thinking to myself, "This student probably has bodies hidden in a crawl space somewhere", you will not do well.

Most of the time, they are given a selection of themed readings to choose from.

For instance, I have Walt Whitman week. Students have twelve of his poems to choose from. Now, the first time I used Walt Whitman poems, a student pointed out that many of his poems have an erotic or homoerotic subtext. A few students did not want to be exposed to that.

Okay, that's fine. Nothing is for everybody. So, to get around that, I now include the following disclaimer:

Many of these poems have erotic and homoerotic imagery. If you want to avoid those, recite O Captain! My Captain!. It's about Abraham Lincoln's assassination. No sex there.

This has worked out well.

I normally give my students a selection of readings for two reasons:

1) Giving them a choice keeps the complaints down. They can look to find something that they either like or find the one "that sucks the least."

2) It gives ME variety. Trust me, listening to thirty versions of the same thing gets old fast.

Having said that, during week eight, everyone has to recite The St Crispin's Day monologue from Shakespeare's Henry V.

So, to deal with this, I've included the following in my directions:

Here, Henry V is trying to raise the spirits of his men, who are grossly outnumbered and about to go into battle against the French. He believes that his forces can win this fight. And, historically, they did.

So, when you do this reading, I will be thinking to myself, "Would I follow this student into battle?"

If my answer is, "I wouldn't follow this student out of this room, much less into battle, you will not do well.

You MUST sound like you care. You MUST sound like a leader. You can youtube examples of this.

And later...

I have to listen to thirty of these recordings. DO NOT BORE ME! It goes like this: if I get bored while listening to this, I will italicize the line where I stop paying attention, and you lose .5 points for every line after that.

Interestingly, I have never had to penalize a student for boring me. Just threatening to makes them work a little harder. I mean sometimes, I'm listening to a student's recording and think to myself, "What the Hell is this?", but at least I'm not bored.

Oct. 28th, 2014

dino head

For LJ Idol: Group work sucks

I loathe group work.Collapse )

Oct. 18th, 2014

dino head

For LJ I dol: Rapture of the Deep

A not very happy story from my undergrad daysCollapse )

Oct. 9th, 2014

dino head

For LJ Idol: Linguistic Incontinence

A tale from my undergraduate daysCollapse )

Oct. 2nd, 2014

dino head

For LJ Idol: Fix? What fix?

I teach Voice and Diction at my college. However, I am not the only person who does: another full-time faculty member teaches one or two sections of V&D every term.

We meet with our classes for three hours a week, and then they come to the Speech Lab for a lab hour once a week.

My students do their weekly recordings in my lab hour.

FrustratingCollapse )

Sep. 25th, 2014

dino head

For LJ Idol: Leave them no leg to stand on

A trip down memory laneCollapse )

Sep. 16th, 2014

dino head

Rules for Karaoke: For LJ Idol

Some thoughts on karaoke nightsCollapse )
Tags: ,

Sep. 9th, 2014

Intersubjectivity, or lack thereof. For lj idol.

A conversation with a friend, re: same sex marriage.

Friend: The courts are overturning these rulings.That's bad. It's the people's will.
Me: Was it bad when they overturned segregation?
Fr: Not the same thing.
Me; Okay, how about when the Supreme Court overturned the ban on interracial marriage in Loving v Virginia?
Fr: Still not the same thing. That was for heterosexual couples.
Me: But if you go back and look at the rhetoric from then, you'd see people saying many of the same things about interracial relationships that they do about same sex ones.
Fr: It doesn't matter. The Bible...
Me: Separation of church and state.
Fr: Marriage is for procreation.
Me: Really? What about post-menopausal women? What about those who can't or don;t want to have kids?
Fr: Well...
Me: Also, if it's solely for procreation, should we put some kind of clock on the marriage... like, it would be annulled automatically if the couple doesn't reproduce in five years?
Fr: That's ridiculous.
Me: So's your point.
Fr: Look, this is my opinion and you have to respect it.
Me: Well, it's your opinion. I do not have to respect an opinion that I find prejudiced and foolish.

As you can imagine, the conversation descended from there. We both lost our tempers, and I think this friendship has ended. I mean, we haven't really talked since.

And, honestly, part of me thinks "That's too bad, I knew this person for a while" and part of me thinks, "Just as well. One less bigoted jackass to deal with."
I partnered with sobota for this intersection. Sobota's story is about people reachng out over barriers. Mine is about those barriers sometimes being too much.

Aug. 19th, 2014

dino head

For LJ Idol: The Satin Sheets

A tale of sexy... fun... times?Collapse )

Aug. 5th, 2014

no bear

For LJ Idol: Thanksgiving with friends

Good looking, bad tasting foodCollapse )

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November 2014




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