For the life of me, I can't find ...

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Nedge
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Post by Nedge » September 17th, 2018, 8:12 am

...a conversation I saw in the Forum last week about how to improve reading skills. Take a class? Watch videos? I believe the last advice, from someone who's been here for a while, was "practice." But I can't find the thread.

I'm new at this. Other than reading for three hours per day to five children for years, and reading out loud in college lit. courses because they always chose me to do it, I am new. I have worked on a few problems that were very glaringly obvious -- pauses where there shouldn't be any, s's, volume, etc. I haven't quite licked the "s' problem, but putting a piece of bubble wrap over the microphone seems to help somewhat.

Now I'm working on a particular quality of my voice that is annoying. It's not a question of "I hate listening to my recorded voice!", but it's a ... tone, not all the time, that makes it sound like I'm a stodgey maiden aunt.

I think I will choose practice, and learning from all of you, AND listening to good readers, both on Librivox, and professional readers. (I go to sleep to Davina Porter reading OUTLANDER -- I'm wading through all of the volumes.)

This is a fascinating subject for me. I love reading for Librivox more than anything else, other than knitting, and reading, and spending time with my grandson. Someday I would like to have amassed a large library of recordings, both collaborative AND solo. One. Word. At. A. Time. :D

Nan
Nan Dodge

"A hundred years from now? All new people." -- Anne LaMott

tovarisch
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Post by tovarisch » September 17th, 2018, 10:59 am

Nan,

There have been several threads about improvements one could make to their reading. A recurring one is this. But the last post there is from June, so it can't be the one you saw. Of course, there were others, and pinpointing the exact one is not easy. Was it so valuable that you want to re-read it? If so, let's hope that one of the participants posts here with a link.

As to whether taking a class or watching videos would help, I don't know. Yes, I believe that practice is very important, yet I know of some prolific readers here whose reading style I can barely stand as a listener. At the same time I can surely name a few who are great (IMHO) with very limited catalog representation. How do they do it? Do they have practice elsewhere? Probably. But I believe there ought to be more than just practice.

Does your grandson enjoy your telling of stories? Which stories does he find the most fascinating? It's probably your personal involvement in the events you're conveying, your emotions, the details that fascinate even you as you bring them from your memory... Put that in your reading of fiction or non-fiction. Imagine yourself in those situations and use author's words to help you describe them to the listener. Be involved, and be interested in conveying what the author might feel when writing about those events, situations, people, animals and things.

When you say that sometimes you hear your own tone as "stodgey maiden aunt", you can identify how that differs from other times, right? If you can tell the difference, then you should be able to tell [to yourself] how you could try changing your reading. Try to understand what causes you to take that tone, what triggers it. Then perhaps you can deal with that next time you encounter that text or situation or whatever it is. And... Just listen to yourself. It's easier to fix it when you notice it at the time of recording than much later. :)
tovarisch
  • reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

Nedge
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Post by Nedge » September 17th, 2018, 3:40 pm

No, that post wasn't that important, but it bugged me that I couldn't readily find it again. :)

I looked up lists, mostly by homeschooling parents, of the best Librivox readers, and gave them a listen. Some are very pleasing to listen to, and others maybe not my cup of tea. But it's good to get an idea of what constitutes a good reader to the general public.

The stodgey maiden aunt thing? Tension. :)

Nan
Nan Dodge

"A hundred years from now? All new people." -- Anne LaMott

tovarisch
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Post by tovarisch » September 17th, 2018, 5:24 pm

Nedge wrote:
September 17th, 2018, 3:40 pm
... The stodgey maiden aunt thing? Tension. :)
Hmm... It's great that you [seem to] know. Develop your skill based on your understanding, and develop your understanding based on the outcome. Today it's tension, tomorrow, once you conquer it (or rather the source of it), it's going to be something else that you can work on. Keep listening to yourself (and I don't just mean the sounds you make). :thumbs:
tovarisch
  • reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

mightyfelix
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Post by mightyfelix » September 18th, 2018, 7:59 am

Nedge wrote:
September 17th, 2018, 8:12 am
Other than reading for three hours per day to five children for years, and reading out loud in college lit. courses because they always chose me to do it, I am new.
I'd say this alone makes you eminently qualified! :lol: Really, though, you are doing a lot of things right. Just the fact that people in your college classes were actually choosing you to read says something, I think.

I don't know what thread you were reading, and tovarisch is right that there are and have been many discussions on it. The advice I've seen most often, and that I personally think is the best, is 1) relax and 2) have fun. You've already noticed, it seems, that the first of those makes a huge difference. I'd also add that you don't need to try to make your voice sound like someone else's. Just because another narrator had a voice you love doesn't mean every narrator, including yourself, should sound like them. Your voice has its very own unique and beautiful qualities. And even if you do sound like a maiden aunt, there may be someone out there who thinks you sound just like their dear old Aunt Martha and can't get enough of listening to you.

Incidentally, I just finished listening to It's Your Fairy Tale, You Know, and I enjoyed it immensely! :D

annise
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Post by annise » September 18th, 2018, 8:13 am

Nedge wrote:
September 17th, 2018, 3:40 pm
...I looked up lists, mostly by homeschooling parents, of the best Librivox readers, and gave them a listen. Some are very pleasing to listen to, and others maybe not my cup of tea. But it's good to get an idea of what constitutes a good reader to the general public.

Nan
I've been answering the LV email for a while now and I assure you, however you read something , there will be some who love it, some who can't understand why we let you read, some who think you should be a different sex, a different age, a different nationality, should read faster, slower, and have different colour hair.
So read something you like reading or think is important, sound confident when faced with names you've not come across and sound like you are having fun.

And most people will appreciate what you have given them

Nedge
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Post by Nedge » September 18th, 2018, 8:25 am

Thank you, Devorah. I don't mean to say that I intend to try to SOUND like good and experienced readers -- I just think it's helpful to listen to them. The first reader that lured me in to the world of Librivox listening was Kara. She has such a comforting, easy-going voice! And of course there are many others, all unique and different.

The "maiden aunt" quality is not a good thing. Imagine the Pillar of the Church, dressed in a flowered shirtwaist and matching hat, purse and white gloves and sensible shoes, sniffing and saying "HMPH. I NEVER would have expected it!" THAT is the quality I have been working on getting rid of. :)

Nan
Nan Dodge

"A hundred years from now? All new people." -- Anne LaMott

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