“Besides, there are a hundred things one has to know,
which we understand all about and you don’t, as yet.
I mean passwords, signs, and sayings which have power and effect,
and plants you carry in your pocket, and verses you repeat,
and dodges and tricks you practise;
all simple enough when you know them,
but they’ve got to be known … “
Rat to Mole in The Wind in the Willows
In Module 2, Ceremonial Public Speaking, Organisation and Choreography, we give the student a grounding and awareness of the essential practical skills needed by a successful celebrant. And there are certain principles of organisation and structure which are common to the creation and co-creation of any personal ceremony.
PART 1 – SPEECH AND DELIVERY
Of all the necessary celebrant skills, and there are many, the one most obvious to the audience is the ability to speak clearly and pleasingly. Mostly, this includes the technical skill of using a microphone and PA system so it not only enhances volume but also clarity. The PA system has to be of good quality and used to its best effect. The celebrant must develop a good “feel” for the ceremonial pace of speaking. At the rehearsal, the celebrant has the task of diplomatically coaching the other participants in the ceremony to the extent they too are” heard, understood and appreciated”. These are just some of the ‘up-front’ skill of the celebrant, which is difficult to teach by Distance Education, however we do it!
To ensure the desired outcome the college arranges for a qualified voice coach to firstly assess and recommend exercises, and finally examine the student. This person is then required to certify the student:
- can project the voice to a gathering of, say, 70 people in the open air and
- has clear diction and knows exercises, including breathing exercises, for sustaining clarity and audibility.
The student will learn how:
- to read poetry and prose with competence, due understanding, inflexion, and emphasis. A celebrant should have the interpretative skills, personal aptitudes, technical skills, and voice management ability to read and speak competently i.e. the elements of voice and speech which effectively transmit thought, mood and feeling.
- to set up a portable PA system for the celebrant and readers, then use the system competently with appropriate microphone techniques.
- to adapt to a variety of PA systems such as are found in reception centres, funeral parlours and other venues
- the needs of ceremonial audiences differ from those of other audiences
PART 2 – ORGANISATION
The celebrant needs to have a grasp of the details necessary in the preparation for and the performance of a good ceremony, as well as the pitfalls and hazards.
From real life examples we introduce ideas on how to:
- handle enquiries
- structure interviews
- use listening skills and the importance of them
- understand the signals of body language
- understand your client and their background
- work out the resources to suggest for music and poetry
- prepare and dialogue about a ceremony
- implement guidelines to ensure the “mechanics” of the ceremony create the right atmosphere, and communicates the intent of the ceremony clearly
- organise a rehearsal and understand the importance it
- be aware of the importance of attending to a myriad of organisational details to ensure the ceremony itself goes well
- organise a gathering so guests are bought together so they are a part of the ceremon
- resolve conflict and ease tension
- and so much more
PART 3 – CHOREOGRAPHY
The celebrant needs to rehearse and orchestrate the movement and the choreography of the ceremony so it flows in a manner which enhances the occasion for all present. To have impact the ceremony must have “flow” yet the discrete pericopes of the ceremony must be cleanly delineated e.g. the monitum must be separate from a reading, Vows must be separate from the Giving of Rings and much more. The celebrant must know where to stand or sit, and must ensure that the wedding party knows were to move and when they must do so in unison etc. And much more!
Assessment tasks are on the last few pages of the module manual. All assessment tasks are carefully read, critiqued and assessed by our Dean of Studies, Dr Chris Watson.
Assessment is by the following methods:
- Learning Journal – a diary relating your studies to the world in which you live, includes compulsory research and writing tasks where necessary.
- Research questions – on selected written material provided with the module manual, books, DVDs and website links.
- Fieldwork –
1. assessment by a qualified voice coach. (If this is not possible, contact the College for options.)
2.canalyse the unique nature of ceremonial audiences.
- Literature Review – of supplied texts.
Workload and Due Dates
The time envisioned for working on each unit is equivalent to 10 weeks at 8 hours per week. The College has not set dates for submission of individual items. However, unless special permission to extend is granted, this module is to be completed within 6 months. Temporary suspensions of enrolment are negotiable, however fees for modules which have not been completed are not refundable.
Please note carefully: RPL (credit) IS RARELY GIVEN FOR THIS MODULE
The aim of this module is to communicate basic ideas and raise awareness of the student’s capabilities. Detailed assessment by a qualified voice coach should make the student aware of their strengths and weaknesses in the vital areas of speech, voice and presentation. It may be, by practising certain exercises a student with poor voice quality may come up to a competent level. If private coaching is required to achieve this competence, it must be pursued at the student’s expense.
Readings, Questions and Assignments
All manuals and DVDs are provided, including “Ceremonies and Celebrations” if not previously provided, and will be made available immediately, once the College receives full payment for the module. If the module manuals, books, DVDs and other items are downloaded from our website a discount will apply. Otherwise the items will be sent by post, airmail where necessary. Transferring any materiel belonging to the College to a third party without prior permission is unethical and strictly forbidden.
Correspondence on administrative matters, including enrolments, are to be directed to the Registrar of Diplomas, Deborah Roffey.
And if on matters concerning the module, enquiries are to be directed to the Dean of Studies, Dr Chris Watson.
Contact us – persons to talk to, phone numbers, email addresses, skype addresses