-By Ian Mackenzie, Bulldog Blog creator, editor and Stanbridge’s go-to idea man
What's up Bulldogs? It's your blondest Bulldog Blogger Ian Mackenzie here. In this post, I'm going to tell you about the various speeches I’ve made across my time at Stanbridge, what it felt like to give them, and how you can improve your ability to speak to an audience. I am also going to explain how I soothed my anxiety and my stage fright. The capability to keep my emotions on stage took many hours of work for me. Now, I've gone over how I give speeches, and man, Ian sure talks a lot but what's the point?! I’m going to show you four lessons real soon, calm down Mr. exclamation point.
Alright, Lesson One: Practice!! I cannot emphasize this enough. If you want to give a speech that people other than your parents will applaud, then review the words you’re going to say constantly. That means P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E. Don’t try to memorize the whole speech. Just don’t. Or if you are more experienced at giving speeches, you could have the paper in front of you for reference, but only look at it when you need the exact words from your speech.
Lesson Two: Make sure you are slowing down and enunciate clearly. If you are like me, then you need to slow down that speedy mind of yours, as well as that tireless mouth. Don’t forget to check on that every once in a while when you're giving a longer speech.
Lesson Three: if you stutter or say the wrong line, there are two ways to deal with it.
Stop the entire speech and say something like, “Sorry I messed up.” This shows the audience that you are less prepared or willing than you first let on.
And finally, Lesson Four:
Try to make as much eye contact as possible. If you look down at your paper too much, the audience will lose interest way faster.
Simple as that. I hope this was helpful to you. Maybe you can apply some of these skills to your everyday life. Why not give it a shot? See you in the next post!
-By Ian Mackenzie
This year, the focus of our Spring Gala fundraiser was Celebrating The Arts at Stanbridge… and we continue the celebration every day! As the Public Relations Support Intern, Senior Aaron Fong has observed both Music and Visual Art classes during 4th period Bridges Internships. His surveillance gives readers a sense of our comprehensive onsite Arts programming.
Greetings! Music class at Stanbridge Academy allows students K-12 to express their individual emotions, tones, and creativity. Matt Robidoux’s Music class inspires students! It gives them the opportunity to learn how to read music, understand technique, and learn how to play musical instruments such as the drumset. Middle School (MS) is learning how to use hand drums as percussion, as well as understanding the variations of beats while playing a musical instrument. A special guest [Tim Russell, the Dance Department’s Music Director at University of Wisconsin, Madison] visited Stanbridge. The guest demonstrated an instrument that students found very interesting. It’s called the Suitcase Drum. The suitcase drum features a cymbal, a snare, tongos, and a cowbell. Students tried out the sound effects on the suitcase drum, which can be great for kids to try at home. Also, students listened and played along with the beat with the drumkit and the suitcase drum to provide rhythm.
The students transitioned from playing the drums into the instrument of the week. The instrument was called the Mbira. The Mbira was classified by musicologists as an African musical instrument traditional to the people of Zimbabwe. The Mbira consists of a wooden board with a few keys to pluck on, which is a seventeen thumb piano. The Mbira was produced by ethno musicologists, who study music from different cultures all over the world. Students watched a presentation on Google Slides along with a video on Youtube about the Mbira. The Middle School students tried out the Mbira with their thumbs to pluck the keys for major and minor tones.
The Middle School Topaz group I observed learned an interesting word: “Solfege”. Solfege tells the students about the syllables for music notes that can be used for a choir or any other performance -- Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, and Do. Students sing along the Solfege with the assistance of Matt on guitar by using different keys using A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. After playing the Mbira, they learned about a musician named Moondog. Moondog is a person who dressed up as a viking and performed street music. Students sang out a quick song called “Do Your Thing”, a song from Moondog. They were handed out a music sheet to follow along with the lyrics.
Aaron's interview with Matt Robidoux answered additional questions about music classes at Stanbridge Academy.
Q: Why is it important for schools to offer music?
A: I am a supporter of arts curriculum in schools - it helps so much with social/emotional learning, and solidifies mathematical and scientific concepts for students who engage in a musical practice. Music is also great for exercising gross and motor skills.
Q: Why is it important for schools to offer instrument instruction?
A: Learning a musical instrument provides a firm external structure with lots of room for creativity and personal growth. For example, at Stanbridge one can engage in music class in a number of ways depending on which instrument one chooses.
Q: What are the cognitive thinking skills learned through music?
A: Structured study of music has been proven to enhance language-based reasoning, short term memory, and planning skills. I have also seen it help students to learn more about themselves, or “come into their own” if you will.
Q: What courses of study do you need to become a music teacher?
A: Generally someone teaching music in a school has at least a [Bachelor of Arts] in music education and sometimes a teaching certificate. I would also say that teaching music happens in many ways; in community programs, via individual lessons instruction, and in ensemble settings.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a teacher?
A: Providing students with the tools to understand how music works and eventually be themselves, and engaging in something I am passionate about all day every day. In general, I enjoy being part of this wonderful Stanbridge community!
Hello! I’m Ian M., one of the contributors to the Stanbridge Academy “Bulldog Blog.” Since this is the first post for the new blog, I should let all of the readers know that I am an 11th-grade student who has been at Stanbridge for a number of years. I am also the guy who sang Sam Smith’s song “I’m Not the Only One” in this year’s Student Talent Show earlier this month. In this post, I am going to describe my Stanbridge Talent Show experience, as both a performer and an audience member.
To kick things off, I will start with my journey as a performer and what it took for me to get where I am now. I didn’t exactly come out of my mother’s womb singing falsetto. For me to sing as high as I did at the talent show took more than a year of practice. I have not taken many singing lessons. Let me rephrase that: I have not taken many singing lessons and paid attention to them. I once took lessons from a good vocal coach, but I was a 12-year-old boy, so I only went to the lessons because he had a bowl of candy out for the students that were still children (me included).
As for the much harder explanation of what it felt like to be an audience member at the talent show... Considering some of you readers were at the Stanbridge Talent Show, you probably know what it’s like to watch someone sing or perform on a stage. But being both a performer and an audience member was difficult for me at first, and sometimes it still is.
My brother is a musician in a band called Ruse. If you were at the talent show this year then you probably saw some cool looking rocker dudes with purple hair and baggy jeans walking around. Purple-Haired One, thy name is Grant (a/k/a my brother) who has purple hair and is much trendier than me.
Anyway, I feel inspired by my brother, and try to put effort into my voice and my ability to sit still and laugh while my classmate Tarek tells a funny joke, or when Lizzie, another classmate, sings “1Up Girl,” one of my favorite Video Game songs (basically the only Mario Odyssey song I can name). And I would mean it when I cheered or laughed, because my favorite part of the talent show wasn’t when I was performing myself, or accepting compliments. It was when one of my friends stood up from the crowd and performed something extraordinary, and made sure that people were liking the show the whole time that they were up there. That is why I am so honored to be up on that stage, so grateful to be an audience member, and so proud of all my friends for putting on such a good show.
So ask yourself: Now that you know how I feel about everything entertainment related, what can you do with this information that can benefit you if and when you perform or are watching a performance? What new skills can you apply in class? I’ll leave you to think on that.
Until the next blog post—peace out Stanbridge Bulldogs, and have a wonderful day!
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