Hello, readers! My name is Rachel, and I am honored to be the first fellow to post on the new Sistema Fellows blog! All you need to know about me is that I play horn, and I believe all beings everywhere should be happy and free. (Or you can read my bio here.)
Last Friday, the Fellows completed our very first seminar of the year, instructed by none other than NEC president Tony Woodcock. Prior to our first meeting, Tony assigned each of us a specific Boston location to visit, ranging from museums to cemeteries. We were instructed to prepare a presentation about our location lasting precisely five minutes. We were told to keep it simple; no powerpoint, no audio clips, no juggling acts. All each of us had to do was stand in front of our colleagues and talk at them.
We all have at least a little bit of public speaking experience, and thus we were able to complete the presentation relatively painlessly. The resulting constructive criticism from Tony and the rest of the group was only mildly distressing to most of us. The real torture came AFTER the class, when we all received video recordings of our speeches and were instructed to review them on our own.
Listening to myself on a recording is one of my least favorite things to do. The last thing I wanted to do this afternoon was listen to my voice, which is much higher than it sounds in my head, stammer on about John Singer Sargent and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. As I braced myself for this agonizing experience, I envisioned my talk and the audience’s enthusiasm going something like this.
Fortunately, the experience wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. While watching and listening to myself is not my favorite way to spend time, I certainly learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as a public speaker.
As the opening ceremonies of the Fellowship Program are wrapping up, I can report with full certainty that all ten Fellows are overflowing with excitement for the unforgettable experience upon which we are embarking. We can’t wait to give back to the NEC and El Sistema communities which are so supportive of us while we are on our incredible journey.
Sistema Fellow, '13