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Need Time to Think?

MONDAY BYTES — March 23, 2015

Latest find: the Think Clearly site and handwritten newsletter—full of ideas to help clarify your ideas and plans. The brainchild of Mathias Jakobsen, the site includes a free mini online course for using drawing and basic visuals to help focus thinking and prioritize what’s important.

In this edition below, Jakobsen points out the two perhaps most important modes we have: Doing and Thinking / Reflecting. Most of us spend far more time on the former and are much the worse off for missing out on the latter.

(I’m often starved for more reflection time and am working on rebalancing these two modes.)

For this week: join me in charting your reflecting time and activities. Simply make a note in your calendar on when and maybe where you are pondering and considering ideas (as opposed to worrying, ruminating over the past, berating yourself, or projecting into the future).

Notice what helps you with the reflecting: is it reading, walking, or a stimulating conversation?

It’s amazing what 15 minutes or 30 minutes a day devoted to reflection and reading might do for us all!

For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.

Have you got “it”?

MONDAY BYTES — March 16, 2015

The celebrated British acting coach Patsy Rodenburg did a class at the Reflective Conservatoire Conference on the topic of Presence, as in stage presence. Really, until then I’d never thought it was actually something that could be taught. Sure, we can work on stagecraft, entrances, exits, bows, and speaking onstage.

But the presence—the charisma—and the ability to connect with audiences, to be our authentic self, with a heightened delivery of our energy and message, that was what I didn’t think was teachable.

I stand corrected.

Pasty works with the ideas of what she calls “circles of energies”—mindsets and modes of behaviors. She describes the desired circle of excellence for performers: the second circle.

Check out this 10 minute video describing second circle energies. This applies to performances of all kinds, whether or not you’re using your voice at all. It’s about directing your energy in a particular way.

Patsy offers exercises, practical tips for finding your true voice and power as an artist. She has a number of books on acting, public speaking, and leaderships skills.

Questions for the week: Think about a recent performance, class, or workshop you gave. In the moments you were “in the zone,” what did it feel like? What has helped you to get into that state?

Just as actors prepare to bring their full authenticity to a role, we can also prepare by getting centered, feeling our feet on the floor, and using diaphragmatic breathing to bring power and purpose to our energy.

For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.

Let me tell you what I really think!

MONDAY BYTES — March 9, 2015

What kind of feedback on your work (artistic or otherwise) has been the most useful? What was it that made it helpful?And when has feedback you’ve gotten been not helpful (even though it may have been well-intentioned or — maybe you realized afterwards — spot on accurate)?

I’m just back from the Reflective Conservatoire Conference and one highlight was an inspiring keynote by choreographer Liz Lerman on her Critical Response Process. I’ve been a longtime fan, but it was great to get a fresh sense of the nuances of her work.

The process is designed to ensure that the feedback given is genuinely helpful and delivered in such a way that the maker can be excited about getting back to work (as opposed to being demoralized or confused by the input).Here’s a shorthand outline of how it works, but get the booklet detailing the process so you can feel confident using it with your students, colleagues, family, and friends.

And if you haven’t seen an example of Liz’s work with musicians, she’s the choreographer who helped create the music and movement version of Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun with the University of Maryland Orchestra. Watch the video (12:53) and hear the piece brand new.

Question for the week: What kind of feedback on your career advancement would help you the most?For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.