An absolute treat for the heart and mind, these 24 lectures demonstrate how to master the art of storytelling, offering insight into the process of crafting and delivering a tale to enhancing the stories you tell everyday - to your children at bedtime, in your conversational anecdotes, and in your presentations at work. Teachers, lawyers, clergy, coaches, parents, and anyone who wants to understand the power of stories to capture hearts and minds will benefit from these lessons.
You'll discover practical methods for building dynamic tension and capturing - then maintaining - your audience's attention. You'll acquire tips and techniques for finding, selecting, and preparing stories, whether they're based on your own experiences, time-honored folk tales, or beloved family yarns. You'll also learn to choose expressive language, craft compelling characters, refine your narrator's point of view, shape your story's plot, structure, and emotional arc, use body language to connect with your audience, and more.
Part how-to workshop, part intellectual study of the history of narrative, these lectures feature exercises that literally get you moving to develop your stories and make them more enjoyable. Professor Harvey's interactive activities and "side coaching" sessions are designed to make you comfortable enough with your story to tell it naturally and make impromptu changes as needed. You'll even learn what to do if the unexpected occurs while telling a story to a roomful of kids or giving a presentation, and about the practical considerations of using props, PowerPoint, and microphones in various scenarios.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
As an instructional presentation on storytelling, there could be more focus on the elements of stories and storytelling and fewer actual stories. The number and length of the stories told by the lecturer, especially early in the series makes them seem gratuitous. I also don't find those stories to be particularly engaging or insightful. While she does use some good examples from other storytellers, I think the format of this lecture would be improved if even more, if not all examples were from other storytellers. Then it would seem more like an analytical lecture and less like a performance showcase for the professor.
Fairly often, phrases delivered by the lecturer are punctuated by an almost-snort, kind of a self-deprecating half-laugh which I'm sure is very endearing in person, but highly distracting in an audio-only format.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
'The Art of Storytelling' by Prof. Hannah B. Harvey is probably one of the best courses in 'The Great Courses' series. Not only does it deals with something no human being can get away from - the telling of stories - Harvey's presentation is absolutely exquisite, she has a way to draw you in.
So why don't I give it five stars throughout. Because you loose out tremendously by buying the audio only version. While listening to Prof. Harvey gives you the basics, there are so much more that is just not accessible when listening to the audio version of the course. I would have loved to not only hear, but also to see the storytellers, including herself perform by telling a story. You only hear the example 'stories' while it is used to help you with gestures, movement etc. She also gives valuable exercises on body posture and warming up your body and vocal chords before an performance. In the audio version you miss out on a lot of these.
That said, being a minister of religion that often preaches to various audiences, I was able to incorporate some of her ideas in one of my recent sermons. I was astounded with the reaction.
Prof. Harvey covers al the components of a good story, how to write or think up or identify a story as well as how to present or perform it. It is absolutely worthwhile and the self-help exercises (cross-training) she gives helps a lot.
Unfortunately you will want to have more. I found that the audio version of this lecture left me with a feeling of being cheated out of the most important part of storytelling - body language... maybe it is better to wait for a Great Courses 70% off sale, pay a little more (or a lot) and watch the video version. If you don't have that kind of money, the audio might just help you getting started.
Favorite Genres: Urban/Preternatural Fantasy, Science Fiction, Knitting Favorite Story Components: character development, under-dog success stories
I thought this course would offer more on the crafting of the stories, but it focused mostly on how to convey stories in a face-to-face, public speaking manner, from sitting rooms to auditoriums. There were a lot of points that I could see translating into crafting a story for all mediums, but not as much as I was hoping for.
I'm not taking stars off because I misunderstood what the intent was - that was my reading failure. What the course intended to cover, it covered well, though it didn't quite make it to an outstanding source.
The performance I debated with myself over. The instructor in the course obviously thought there would be a visual component, and her style of story telling, used in examples, was not to my taste. When not actually "storytelling", her instructions were clear and to the point, and the rationale clearly explained. I much preferred her lecture voice to her story telling voice.
In point of fact, I had more than a few occasions while listening where I thought that many of the narrators on Audible would benefit from this listen.
When I chose this 'Great Course,' I was under the impression that I would learn the invaluable secrets of a professional storyteller. I quickly figured out that there are no secrets; I waited hours and hours for the slightest resemblance of a tidbit of insightful knowledge, and it turns out that there weren't any at all to be found. I can think of a multitude of questions that I would've liked answered regarding the process of becoming a compelling storyteller, but instead, the information given in this audiobook was too simple. It's not that this 'Course' is developed for an elementary-level learner, but there wasn't any knowledge departed that wasn't already known from common sense. The majority of the audiobook is spent on the narrator telling stories about people she knows; and when the lessons concluded, I was left trying to understand the significance of the story and the lesson derived from it. There are no lessons in this Course, only a deluge of stories that the narrator thinks are interesting and which bear no significance to the 'lessons' given. Don't waste your time on this audiobook.
Waited hours to learn something. Nothing. And this little giggle/laugh of hers became incredibly annoying.
This is by far the worst Great Courses course I have ever bought. Prof. Harvey's family stories are trite and uninteresting. She has an awful habit of grunting, snorting and sniffing. She can't seem to differentiate between children's stories and adult stories. She advises not to use accents, and then randomly and bizarrely (she cannot say "fairy" without resorting to her awful accent), tries to use a Scottish accent, which she claims she is capable of. She isn't. In short, she is overbearing. I could not finish the course.
I found the course mildly informative.
I found the professor's verbal style annoying. This was unexpected as she is a "professional storyteller." Essentially, the annoyance comes from her repeated use of a slight chuckle to punctuate phrases. I suppose if I only heard her tell a single story her chuckle wouldn't be so bothersome, but after hearing it over and over for hours, it sounded like a performance tic, essentially unnatural. The way she inhabits excitement in her story-telling also feels a bit odd after hearing it a few times. So she, as a demonstrator of her own advice, undermined the validity of her lessons through her less-than-natural delivery.
I was skeptical about this because of some of the negative reviews - people saying everything from there were "too many stories" to "I received no insight..." Upon listening to this and studying this course intensively i am utterly baffled. This course is AMAZING.
First of all - The audio course provides a great balance between telling stories and then analyzing the stories that have been told. The pdf it comes with is filled with a lifetime of practice and insight that will forever deepen my storytelling.
Her own stories are short and sweet and they're very touching. She also offers a few stories from other storytellers as well which are also short and very well done. The critique of there being too many stories strikes me as utter nonsense. Plus it's a storytelling course! You have to hear stories to learn what she is teaching!
Second - I find it incomprehensible how people could have listened to hours of this without receiving insight. She offers invaluable insights even in the first lecture about the nature of orality, remembering family histories, and gives a broad overview of the whole course. Over the course, she goes over so many incredible things such as how to rehearse, practice, memorize, embody, play with the time and perspective and the voice of the story and so much more (structure, hero's journey, empathy, emotional arcs, etc.).
The amount of storytelling technique given in this course is comprehensive and amazing. My own storytelling skill skyrocketed and I found myself exploring wholly new dimensions of storytelling I never thought about before. Also, she is absolutely brilliant, not just as a storyteller, but also as a scholar weaving political, cultural, and ethical dimensions to the art of storytelling.
How anyone could "not receive insight" from this is absolutely beyond me.
Third -I am guessing that some folks must just not appreciate or understand Appalachia style storytelling. I'm from NY, and didn't grow up where Hannah did, but I have heard many storytellers from Appalachia who have the same vocal style that Hannah does. If you don't like it, that's fine, but the degree to which people complain about it seems irrationally large given how much great content there is in the course. Also, she is insistent on helping you find your own voice and your own style, so why be distracted with hers?
To put it all together, this course was exactly what I was looking for and deeply broadened my awareness of and expanded my appreciation of the oral medium of storytelling. We should be grateful for such an amazing work.
Performed with gusto and an obvious passion for stories, this series is abysmally light on substance. Each chapter summary will have you think, "This sounds amazing!" just as you realize the lecture didn't deliver. Often, it's because the lecturer gets so excited about her own skill, she reduces the lesson to, "Try to see what I did there. You just have to feel it."
Personally, I've also struggled with the lecturer's ticks, especially the ubiquitous laugh/snort she seems to use instead of punctuation, sometimes following stories that are not at all amusing. Which feeds into a greater problem, that of her seeming inability to see that establishing what a story is about to you doesn't give you the right to pull the rug from under the listener. A pet trick of hers seems to be telling a story as a joke, just to deliver a morbid ending that has not been foreshadowed at all. Finally, no matter what kind of a story she is telling, there is only one way she delivers them all. It gets tiresome.
Fun collection of stories. Not particularly useful for becoming a better storyteller yourself.
Professor Harvey gave me countless insights that enhanced my abililty to tell a good story. She explained each component eloquently, gave examples, and told compelling and captivating stories to capture each point.
I purchased this program, and listened to it, to enhance my ability as a professional speaker. I highly recommend it for anyone who is a speaker, a Toastmaster, or who just needs to make presentations.
"Storytelling, as taught by a poor story teller."
I really wanted to get in to this course, but I can't get over the poor storytelling skills of the tutor. Although she knows what it technically means to be a good storyteller, her application of those things she tries to teach and her cringe-worthy, nerve-jarring use of accents and dialects (most notable is her attempt at a Scottish accent, something she claims to have had coaching on. I don't know by who, but I don't believe they were Scottish) makes me completely lose trust in what she has to teach. One of the most annoying things about the whole audio book is when she exhales in a short blast through her nose at something she finds humorous - which generally isn't humorous at all, it's almost a confidence issue and does it through nerves (much like somebody might say 'urr' and 'umm' a lot when they are nervous). She does this a lot.
It very much feels like the subheading should have the "to Professionals" part taken out, as it does not feel like her performance style should be aimed at anyone older than early teens.
If she taught the essentials with a better storyteller performing the actual story parts, it would be a much better listen.
I certainly would, as they have some great courses in their catalogue.
Based on my experience with this book I very much doubt that I would.
There will probably be plenty of listeners who have learnt something from this book, unfortunately if I can bare to finish the last 1/5 of it I am not likely to be one of them.
I found this book useful, with some really good insights. However I did find it a bit tedious at times. It could be a cultural difference between British and American Styles of story telling / listening. A preview of the points she is making would have been useful as it is not always apparent.
"Erudite and Inspirational"
This book brought me back to my long forgotten love of storytelling. It provides practical ideas of how to structure the creative energy of the story as well as practical advice on voice control, memorizing and connecting with the audience. I am definitely going to listen to this again and again.
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