in Storytelling

Methodology for teaching storytelling – quest concluded

A methodology for teaching storytelling - quest concluded

A couple of weeks ago, my long quest to create a methodology for teaching storytelling arrived conclusion. Like in music, there is a clear and structured path to help students reach a fine level of artistry – if they wish so and are willing to do the work.

The quest started during the second year of a bi-annual storytelling course I attended 24 years ago. I was looking for an answer to a bothering question:

How come, that after almost two years of weekly lessons, this fine group of adults is not even close to reaching the level of performance 17 years olds’ reach in classical music? Reach as in one after another?

As time passed, as the number of my students rose, curiosity joined hands with a sense of mission.

It wasn’t a rosy journey. This level of interrogation makes many feel uncomfortable with what might come up. With no ill intentions in most cases, I received everything between ‘the Joan of Arc of storytelling’ to ‘a pain in the ass’, from ‘technocrat’ to ‘arrogant’. There were many supporting voices along the way.

I owe thanks to many people for excellent conversations, challenging questions, debates and searches. Here I wish to pay my deep gratitude to two particular circles and one grand master:

My professional colleagues at ‘The Storytelling Company’ whom I call ‘the wise circle’; Their willingness to go into long, free-style discussions and dreaming sessions, enabled me to dive into great depths and soar through imagination. So did their openness to share thoughts after every teaching session and performance we ever did together.

The small group of students I’ve worked with through the past three years. They agreed to walk into a unique offer: that while I was working on finalizing the methodology, they will be the test cases, aka experimental guinea pigs. What they chose to do with our learnings is the moving part. I see their work as acts of giving back and healing – communities, people’s lives and storytelling.

World-class sculptor and teacher David Zundelovich, who allowed me to join his class although I have never studied the fine arts; David has a methodology for teaching sculpting, that as he says “presents art in a much less mysterious light than many would prefer to believe.” Studying with David was coming full circle with the notion that there is a way. That’s besides everything else I’ve learned with and from him.

What happens next?

I’ll be sharing my work with some colleagues, face to face, no rush. I’m not going to share on the web.

For now it’s a small and quiet smile. It feels a little sad. I guess that getting to the end of what turned a monumental quest can feel that way.

Love you all. To life.

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  1. To life, to quests, thank you for undertaking this necessary one. A continent or two away in South Africa who knows what, if any, of this will wash on our shores….but just good to know such work is being done, can be done.