Episode 122

How to Find Your Voice as a Storyteller

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, nicknamed Moo. We always had fun; we’d play, make things up, sing songs, write poems… just be creative together.

As she gets older, though, and reaches 100 years old, she develops dementia. Sometimes she’s with us and other times not. I go over to her house one afternoon, and she’s super happy and pleasant and lovely… yet she doesn’t know who I am. And I’m her only grandchild!

I start to get a little frustrated because I want that connection with Moo again. So I begin to bring up things from our past and ask her if she remembers what we did together.

Did she remember rolling down the hill together at La Brea Tar Pits? Or that time we made a crazy salad and water went everywhere?

She doesn’t.

As I grasp for more things, I recall one song she taught me that has two verses. One verse is very slow and methodical, the other goes very, very fast, and they’re meant to be sung by two people in tandem.

So I start singing the fast verse. And pretty soon without any prodding, Moo starts singing the slow verse. And for that one moment, we connect again, sharing a reality with both of us present that melts my heart.

That’s the power of music. It can stop time. My special guest today, Laura Hall, has spent a career in music, song, and sound. In this episode of the Storytelling School podcast, she talks about finding your voice in storytelling through her lens of Musical Improv and answers questions like:

What drives a scene in an Improv story when it’s combined with music–the scene or the song? When can Improv help you with your audience as a speaker or storyteller, (in non-Improv situations)? How does variety make you a better storyteller? And how can you start sharing your stories and ensure that you get helpful feedback?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How music and Improv work together to bring stories to life
  • Why finding and connecting to the truth of your story is vital for audience reception
  • What you can do to change the fear story you’re telling yourself before a performance

Who is Laura Hall?

Laura Hall got her start as an Improv Musician performing with The Second City National Touring Company of Chicago. While in Chicago, she worked with almost every Improv theater in town and used Improv to create original musicals at The Annoyance Theater. She also played in cover and original bands, did solo piano work, played recording sessions, and taught at The Old Town School of Music.

After moving to Los Angeles, Laura studied music for film and television and focused on songwriting and original musicals with Theater-A-Go-Go. She has worked with several Improv groups worldwide such as Second City Hollywood, iO West and others and taught Music Improv extensively with her husband Rick Hall.

Laura performed on every season of the American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? with hosts Clive Anderson, Drew Carey, and Aisha Tyler. She’s also toured extensively with Drew Carey and the Improv All Stars, including performances at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall and a USO tour of the Middle East. In addition, she’s performed with Whose Line Live at the Adelphi, the Palladium, and Royal Albert Hall theatres in London. You can find out more about Laura at her website.

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