An ongoing issue in learning to be a storyteller is identifying benchmarks in skill development. What makes one a ‘master teller’? When are you no longer a ‘beginning storyteller?’ Do you self-describe or wait for others to label your level of achievement?
Authors Kendall Haven and Mary Gay Ducey in their book CRASH COURSE IN STORYTELLING (Libraries Unlimited, 2007) provide a useful and valuable trio of labels. Termed the “Three Levels of Storytelling” they are “Level 1: The Informal Storyteller” (the kitchen table, with friends, etc.); “Level 2: The Community Storyteller” (often used in the course of a career – library, community, church, classroom, courtroom, etc.);”Level 3: The Professional Storyteller” (high level of professional, highly polished and rehearsed delivery, thematically linked content, often larger than life and formally staged (pg. 5-6).
These labels also offer an exciting opportunity to begin to more intentionally develop not only the storyteller but to develop new voices. They also offer the opportunity for broadening the understanding of competency, style and audience.
It is possible to be a highly skilled and competent Informal storyteller or a community storyteller. It is ‘okay’ to not be a ‘professional’. Becoming the best artisan for the type of storytelling which excites and engages the teller is the goal rather than an artificial single lane fast track to acceptance as a ‘storyteller’.
Of course, this is only one small part of a very easy to use resource for anyone who wants to help others (students and adults) to become storytellers. Content includes “The Place of Storytelling in Your Library” (but it is highly applicable to other settings); “Why Tell It? The Power of Storytelling”; “Okay, But Can I Really Do It?” Making storytelling practical and doable” ; “Choosing Stories That Will Work for You”; “Learning to Tell?”; “First Aid”; “Storytelling Extras” (Costumes, puppets, Audience Participation, etc.); “Let the Stories roll!” (Program ideas and advice, etc.).
Perfect for a guild to study together and practice the methods and skills discussed. Highly recommended.