Professional Storyteller

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Harvey Heilbrun's Blog (11)

in the beginning... or "How I got into all of this storytelling stuff?"

I started teaching in 1973. For my birthday in 1974 a friend of mine gave me a guitar. I knew some basic chords that I had learned when I was a teenager and this new guitar inspired me to sing folksongs and incorporate them into my teaching.



Granted the students (6th graders) that I was teaching were not going to be impressed with the Kingston Trio’s “Tom Dooley”, but they did get into songs like “This Land is Your Land”, “The Titanic”, “Ballad of Jesse…
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Added by Harvey Heilbrun on July 14, 2010 at 12:20pm — 1 Comment

To tell or not to tell? - that is the question

I recently was preparing for a storytelling concert in which the theme was kindness and Bucket Filling. For those of you that don’t know what Bucket Filling is, it is based on a book by Carol McCloud, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? To fill a bucket one does things that makes others feel good about themselves. It can be anything from complimenting them to… Continue

Added by Harvey Heilbrun on April 22, 2010 at 9:17pm — No Comments

Finding New Material

In searching out new story material for my performances I came across a great collection of stories. The stories are in the book Le cercle des menteurs: Contes philosophiques du monde entire by Jean-Claude Carriére. My difficulty as you can see is that the book is written in French. The English translation of the title is: The Circle of Liars: Philosophical tales from the entire world. There is also a Spanish translation of the book. Of course I neither read nor speak either… Continue

Added by Harvey Heilbrun on August 8, 2009 at 10:14pm — No Comments

New Story - Rich man, Poor man

This is an extended story I wrote based on a translated story from the book:



Le Cercle Des Menteurs Contes Philosophi (The Circle of Liars, philosophical tales from around the world) by Jean Claude Carriére



Once upon a time there was a beautiful city on the outskirts of a great forest. In the city lived an extremely rich man and an extremely poor man. Each had a son; by chance, the two young men had been born on the same day in the same year.



If I told you that… Continue

Added by Harvey Heilbrun on July 14, 2009 at 11:30am — No Comments

Using Quotes

I was preparing to perform at an elementary school the other day when I noticed in my equipment bag an old blank journal that someone had given me on my retirement from teaching. Since the PTA organizer was there with me and was planning on staying through my performance I asked her if she wouldn’t mind writing in the book, her impressions of my performance. I also asked the Physical Education teacher who’s gym I was borrowing to do the same. Both gladly said that they would.



My… Continue

Added by Harvey Heilbrun on April 7, 2009 at 1:46pm — 5 Comments

Call...Response

I've either seen or heard a number of storytellers use a Call and Response technique to keep the audience focused on tales that you are telling. Joe Bruchac and some Native American storytellers, use Ho and Hey. I heard Baba the Storyteller use what I assume is and African version of that. Johnny Moses, uses one also as does Eth-No-Tech. I'm sure there are many more of you out there.



I like the idea of incorporating a Call...Response in some of my storytelling, but am concerned about… Continue

Added by Harvey Heilbrun on November 18, 2008 at 7:38pm — 2 Comments

Tandem Telling

This is a blog entry that I wrote on my Blog: www.hdhstory.net/Storyblog, back in November of 2007, following a Tellabration performance near where I live. Debbie and I have not decided what to tell this year yet, but we are leaning towards doing another tandem story. Following the writing of that entry, I did purchase a computer that has a webcam built-in. To my knowledge she hasn't.



Telling stories on my own requires a lot of work. I have to find the story I like, decide for… Continue

Added by Harvey Heilbrun on October 15, 2008 at 12:04pm — 2 Comments

Three Hats of Storytellers

I participated in a workshop over a year ago, from Master Storyteller, Elizabeth Ellis. She explained that as storytellers we wear three different kinds of hats. As a storyteller I am an artist, craftsperson, and businessperson. Here are the notes that I wrote at her workshop:



Artist: Researches, writes, new work, how does this part go with that. Does deep thought. What does my work need to meet the needs of the audience; wants to make a connection; what it means to their… Continue

Added by Harvey Heilbrun on September 16, 2008 at 12:30pm — 2 Comments

Audience reactions

When I go to my son’s school music concerts, I’m always amazed at the concert behavior some of the audience exhibits. When a group performs, one should be quiet. When your child has finished performing and there are other musical groups to follow, you don’t leave. Yet adults either do these things or sit by while children do them. How do you instill the love of art and music, if you demonstrate to your child that the only reason you are there is because your child is in it, not because you… Continue

Added by Harvey Heilbrun on July 12, 2008 at 1:04pm — 2 Comments

Writing songs

I’ve always been impressed how singer/storytellers like Bill Harley, Michael Parent, and others create the songs that they write and perform. In the past year, I’ve written two songs, both of which I would like to use in my storytelling events. What has fascinated me is how these songs came to me.



The first song, “Tell Me A Story”, which is the theme for my performances came to me a week before I was to perform at the… Continue

Added by Harvey Heilbrun on July 11, 2008 at 4:31pm — No Comments

The Power of Telling

As a teacher I used storytelling as part of my curriculum. Part of the storytelling experience was telling stories to the students on a regular basis. The other part of the curriculum was getting the students to tell stories. I had two different areas in my curriculum where I used student storytelling.



One was in Language arts. I designed a unit called, “The Elements of Story”. Students in this activity got to be creative in both writing and telling. They also got a chance to work on… Continue

Added by Harvey Heilbrun on July 9, 2008 at 10:34am — No Comments

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