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INTE 6710 ~ Creative Designs for Instructional Materials Project 1: Pecha Kucha Presentation Design Document

John Paul Sharp
February 19, 2012

1. Significant Purpose
One of the most annoying problems I encountered during my four-year education as a vocal performer was forgetting exercises and much of what my teachers told me about singing from week to week. This problem could be solved in a number of ways. Often students bring a pencil to make marks on their music and take notes from the instructor, but it can still be difficult to remember what all the notes mean. Students also bring in digital audio and video recorders so they can experience their lesson as many times as they want. This isn't the most practical solution for many vocal students who are extremely busy and not always focused well enough to integrate new information from week to week in their daily singing habits. The majority of students who enroll in undergraduate vocal performance training are stretched thin with commitments to learning, commitments to performing in ensemble groups as well as their private instruction. Even your regular, every-day, non-student person who decides to take private voice lessons will more than likely have a busy schedule that distracts them from remembering what they've learned about good vocal habits. Another issue affecting all types of singers is self-confidence. In academic settings, vocal students are routinely subjected to feedback in regard to all sorts of personal ways (e.g., showing personality, using one's body a certain way, quality of using one's voice). Over time, this can infect a singer's attitude about themselves as well as towards singing in general. The situation is compounded by mainstream television shows (i.e., American Idol, X-Factor, etc.) that promote further requirements for singers that are, at best, superfluous and pertinent only to the realms of professionals attempting to attain a high-level commercial status. I've found in my work with stage performers that many who sing have developed irrational attitudes about what it means to be a great singer, which can negatively affect their self-confidence and actually encourage them to harm their voices in the attempt to sound like mainstream music artists. The purpose of this presentation is to deliver the most important and practical information for living life as a great vocalist. Through breathing, relaxing, feeling and knowing, I will explore easy behaviors and ideas that, when applied over the course of several months, should improve the quality and tone of a singer's voice, as well as their attitudes with, and self-confidence in, identifying as a singer. The audience for this presentation would most likely be students enrolled in a post-secondary vocal performance program, but other potential stakeholders would be anyone who sings and is interested in developing their voice to a higher, more professional level. These other stakeholders could be anyone from a stage performer to someone who mostly sings while
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showering. Individuals who will see this presentation will find it through an Internet search and watch it from their desktops, laptops, or mobile phones on video content sites like, but not limited to, YouTube. Using the power of storytelling and humor, I hope to take these simple behaviors and ideas and make them memorable and relatable to the singing community. After experiencing this presentation, learners will have the knowledge to expand their lung capacity and develop behaviors to allow them to control their ability to relax, which are both essential and immediately applicable skills to have when singing on stage. Learners will be encouraged to explore their emotions and find strength in connecting to feelings while performing. If a learner adopts the information within the presentation, he or she should see a general improvement in their endeavors as singers within weeks to months.

2. A Picture of the Future
Ideally, a participant who takes this Pecha Kucha presentation to heart will become a more wellrounded and confident singer. This singer is not afraid to get on stage spontaneously or try new experiences, like singing with a rotating jazz quartet. This singer has a thick-skin and is able to take overtly negative criticisms with a grain of salt. This singer is not afraid to explore vocal styles and so she or he has a solid sense of who they are as a vocalist and can communicate that well to others. This singer understands that he or she is a performer. Perhaps most importantly, this singer realizes that she or he can translate lessons learned as a singer into his or her regular, daily life … and vice-versa! In other words, and perhaps most importantly, participants who take full advantage of this presentation will finally be able to call themselves a singer and truly mean it. This presentation address the following learning objectives: 1. Given a two-part breathing exercise to try on their own, participants will expand their lung capacity and become more aware of what good breathing feels like. They will have more strength to sing difficult songs with increased range of pitches. 2. Given a relaxation exercise to try on their own, participants will become attuned to their muscles, body posture and mental state. They will use this ability to relax to help them against stage fright. 3. Given a feeling exercise to try on their own, participants will explore how to change the sound of their voices based on the five basic feelings: joy, sadness, anger, fear and love. This activity will help them to become better, more dynamic performers with greater stage presence. 4. Given a call-and-response activity, participants will have a phrase they can repeat to themselves daily to increase and maintain their self-efficacy as singers striving to improve their craft over a lifetime. To determine if participants have achieved these objectives, I will present my contact information and ask them to contact me after a few months and tell me their stories. Do they feel
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more confident as singers? Have they noticed their lung capacity has improved? Do they find it easier to relax their muscles, body and mind? Have they increased awareness of their body, mind and heart? How have their lives as singers improved at all? These are the questions I will propose at the end of the presentation to encourage participants to interact with me so I can determine if my Pecha Kucha is effective in addressing these objectives.

3. Clear Design Values
My main creative design decisions are centered around 1) the use of storytelling, 2) creating a memorable experience that makes the listener forget they're learning, 3) using one-word verbs that succinctly promote my core messages, 4) repeating those core messages as hooks for my ideas and 5) using motion to specific graphics to emphasize points within my narration. 1) I will use music and sound effects throughout the presentation to make it seem as though I'm speaking to a live audience. By creating an environment that resembles a live audience (e.g., laugh tracks, boos, claps, sighs), I hope to provoke more emotion within the listener with the intent that they will better remember the presentation. In Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, author J. Medina states that “emotionally arousing events tend to be better remembered than neutral events.” (Medina, 2008, p. 79). Rather than just presenting information that could be emotional, I will give the listener audible cues to enhance the emotional message. By integrating this virtual audience, I will create more of an interactive experience, rather than simply presenting information. More specifically, on slide 17, my virtual audience participates in a call-and-response activity that should encourage the listener to join in. In Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations, author Garr Reynolds encourages presenters to focus on the experience of the design by examining how our real audience interacts with the information presented (Reynolds, 2009, p. 18). It is my intent to proactively encourage my real audience to interact with the help of my virtual audience. Finally, in Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Die and Others Survive, authors Chip and Dan Heath make the point that in order to get people to care about our message, we must “get them to take off their Analytical hats.” (Health & Health, 2008 p. 203). I believe that creating this virtual audience removes any type of analytical environment by providing an experiences that entertains. In other words, my virtual audience should make the listener forget that she or he is actually learning something, though, in fact, he or she is. 2) I will open the presentation with telling my own story and making myself a realworld example. On slides 2 – 4, I will go into brief details about my childhood and teen years and make the connection about the length of my journey into identifying as a singer. According to Medina, real world examples help the listener's brain to match patterns and “the more personal an example, the more richly it becomes encoded and the more readily it is remembered.” (Medina, 2008, p. 115). Through the telling of my own story, I will make a personal connection to the listener which will inspire them to absorb the actual information that follows.
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I present my own life conflict to show the listener that whatever problems they face in learning how to sing are common and natural to everyone. Reynolds states that “a story is about … a problem that must be worked out.” (Reynolds, 2009, p. 181). My own story tells the same problem many singers deal with. After all, my story is not necessarily a unique one and I think other singers can easily identify and relate to me. Heath and Heath claim that stories are concrete, contain emotional and unexpected elements and reflect your core message. (Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 237). At its very core, the message in my presentation is: “If I can do it, you can too.” The only way I know to deliver that simple message is through sharing my own personal story. 3) When I do use text, I will make it as succinct and large as possible, with high contrast. I purposely will only use one word of text on slides 5, 9, 13 and 16. These four words summarize the most important information within the presentation: breathe, relax, emote and know. Heath and Heath state that “the more we reduce the amount of information in an idea, the stickier it will be.” (Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 46) I could have used text like, “Learn how to take in and release the maximum amount of breath.” I could have used text like, “Blow your lips to relax your facial muscles.” I think it is much more sticky to summarize these messages with their core verbs: breathe and relax. Reynolds suggests in his text that if you can't make your text big, you probably need to re-evaluate the text so you can make it as big as possible (Reynolds, 2009, p. 35). The text I will use in my presentation is so big that if it were to be played in a large auditorium, even the listeners at the very back row should have no problems identifying the core verbs. Additionally, for presentations of this nature (i.e., Pecha Kucha), Reynolds suggests that using dark backgrounds is the best method for making sure not to blind listeners who might be viewing the presentation in a dark room (Reynolds, 2009, p. 82). In all my slides, if I am using text at all, the background is black with large white or colored text to give the greatest visual impact without hurting the listener's eyes. 4) These core verbs will act as hooks and I will repeat these verbs within the presentation near the end. Heath and Heath present the velcro theory of memory stating that our brains have lots of different loops and the more we introduce hooks to an idea, the more these hooks and loops will come together and create an overall memory that sticks (Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 110, 111). I propose that these four verbs act as the main hooks of my idea that anyone can be a great singer and on slide 19, I review the four core verbs that summarize the main messages of my presentation. Many memories of information learned can easily disappear over time, but when these ideas stick, they tend to stay for good (Medina, 2008, p. 147). By reinforcing the core verbs at the end of the presentation, I am trying to make sure the main ideas are going to stick. 5) Some graphics employ Ken Burns motion to make a specific point within my narration. Medina emphasizes the fact that listeners will pay special attention to graphics in motion due to inherited traits from our ancestors, who sought out motion in

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the environment in order to survive animal attacks (Medina, 2008, p. 237). Though much of the motion for the graphics in my presentation will be used in order to employ fullbleed for graphics that aren't equally proportionate, in most cases, this motion is used to depict an actual point I will make (e.g., slide 3 motions to show 'the bird' which makes a point about just how 'at-risk' I was as a teen, slide 6 motions to show me holding my stomach in, slide 15 motions upward to reveal me jumping high in the air to point out something physical someone can do to emote). According to Reynolds, one of several reasons to add motion to a graphic in a slide presentation is to “create a change to propel your point forward.” (Reynolds, 2009, p. 192). I believe the three instances in which I'm making a point with the motion of the graphics will act as excellent transition to new points, constantly moving each idea on to the next in a coherent way.

4. Formative Evaluation Response
In my peer reviews, I am mostly concerned with finding out what the stickiest parts of my presentation are. In an attempt to get quality information in this regard, I posted the following instructions prior to asking my five review questions:
Please only watch the presentation once and do not go back to the presentation to answer your questions unless you have to. If you do have to go back to the presentation to answer a question, please let me know which question prompted you to do so.

Mostly likely, someone would find my presentation by stumbling onto it from an Internet search engine out of curiosity. I believe the most practical and widely common viewing of my presentation will happen only once, so I need to know what parts of the presentation make the best impact and if there are any parts which are not making enough of an impression. 1) After watching the presentation, what about it do you remember the most? This questions addresses my main concern about the overall stickiness of the presentation. What's the listener's take-away after watching my presentation just once? Reviewer
Jennifer

Answer
Let my fat fly! Well, maybe not fly, but don't always suck it in. I actually did the exercise you suggested to see if my sides expand when I breathe. The point I took away was to do this properly and don’t worry about all the rest of it. And sometimes I breathe properly and sometimes I don’t. It was fun to learn a quick, easy check to figure it out. One suggestion with the exercise would be to add a callout that points to the exact area (obliques?) that you’re focused on expanding. Immediately after viewing the presentation what jumped out for me was a sense of humor or perhaps your personality. The presentation is inviting and moves quickly. The different techniques used to sing (breathe, relax, emote, and know) were easy to remember due to the text connected with the visuals and the humorous pictures. I had some background knowledge about the process of singing, but learned new information. Suggestion: Lower the volume on the embedded sound-it can be

Darren

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distracting at times. The clapping and laughing tracks were memorable.

Jennifer's suggestion to name specific areas, other than one's sides, is a good one, but I am choosing to not to address this in my presentation as I feel the simple act of holding one's sides to feel breath coming in is the only purpose for the exercise (i.e., creating awareness) and naming the specific biological and physiological aspects are best reserved for a more detailed instructional experience outside of this Pecha Kucha. Darren's suggestion for mixing the sound effects better with the voice-overs is one that I am going to go back and look at. I definitely don't want to defeat the purpose of the sound effects by making them distracting to the core messages. 2) Do you think you could be a singer, based on the presentation? Why or why not? One of my core messages is that anyone can be a singer and the only requirement to be a singer is to sing. This question addresses whether the presentation may have affected the listener's self-efficacy in regard to singing. Reviewer
Jennifer

Answer
Yes. Well, in my own mind. Because it's ok and a good thing to emote. I go around trying not to show feelings - singing brings them out, so I avoid it. But with permission and encouragement to emote, look out world! Another reason is that you make it ok to sound goofy with the exercises. This made me think that perfection isn’t the goal, the goal is to sound as good as I can sound. And those exercises work! I like the one where you sing with your tongue on your bottom teeth – it’s so much fun to feel different muscles being manipulated and the difference it makes, even in my speaking voice. One suggestion – do you have time to sing a simple song normally (like Twinkle Twinkle) then do it with your tongue on your bottom teeth so we can hear the difference? Funny, I use singing as a form of torture when I want to get the attention of my fourth graders or my own children. The presentation gave me new insight on what it takes to be a singer. In fact, I plan on sharing your presentation with my youngest daughter. She loves to sign and was devastated when she didn’t get a recent part in the high school musical. Suggestion: Be clear with your message, are you trying to teach people technique for singing or the importance of singing in your life? I think both messages can be woven together.

Darren

Again, I liked Jennifer's suggestion, but through her answer, I can tell that she was able to absorb and comprehend the act of increasing self awareness through the singing exercise. I could make a more detailed example of the exercise to show singers the difference, but if they are able to follow the instructions, they will hear the difference anyway, and this presentation has such a short limit on time, that I think this is a great idea for further expansion of an instructional experience.
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Darren's suggestion made me think about whether my core messages conflicted or could possibly confuse the listener. I had the understanding that I was weaving the dual messages of tricks to sing better as well as singer empowerment. I'm not sure what I could do in response to his suggestion, but I will look over all my slides to double check that my core messages are getting through how I intended them to. 3) What do you think is the most important issue when it comes to singing and why? Although all four of my core verbs are equally important, I am curious to discover how each listener related to the four sections of the presentation. Which core verb resonated with them the most? Reviewer
Jennifer

Answer
Emoting. Maybe breating. But emoting hit home for me because with Whitney's death and hearing her voice so much this weekend, I realize she emotes, capital E, bold. Even the Star Spangled Banner with its old-fashioned words that we’ve heard hundreds of times. When she sang it, it sounded like a new song with a new and very important message. Adele won a lot of awards at the Grammys, but I don't feel her words. Great tone and pitch but no emotion. To me. So emoting is a point I hadn't defined before, but it's why I like certain voices. Even if they're off-key, weaker, unusual sounding. If the singer is telling me a personal story I listen. Are there examples of singers you could mention that the audience would recognize and relate to? Confidence- any performer needs confidence and a thick skin. Performers and artists receive critical feedback often and need to be able to brush off or accept the feedback. Being able to get back up and perform again and again connects back to the confidence. You definitely don’t appear to be lacking confidence. Suggestion: More photographs of you singing might be helpful when creating a visual picture for the viewer. Some of the photographs were out of focus and may need to be fixed.

Darren

Jennifer's suggestion is to mention other great singers. For the sake of helping students to remember the core messages, I don't think it is necessary for me to tell the listener who is a great singer and who is not. Part of the purpose of this presentation is for students to discover themselves as great singers and to mention specific artists would go against that message. What I love the most about Jennifer's response is that I can tell she is processing the instruction towards a further, perhaps personal level of thinking. This is what I was hoping my presentation would do for the listener. Darren's suggestion related to out-of-focus pictures might or might not be related to the connection he had with YouTube or there might have been an issue in the conversion process either from my end into the .mov file or on YouTube's end. I'm not sure what resolution he watched the video in. Also, some of the graphics I used aren't all of the highest resolution possible, but from viewing the presentation myself, I didn't see any that stood out as unacceptable. My first childhood picture has a graphic filter on it that I

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can't remove, but the original photo was blurry. In my personal opinion, I don't think personal photos always need to be commercial quality as part of the charm of personal photos naturally lends to less-than-perfect resolution. Still, I am going to go through all my photo slides and make sure they are the best they can be. I appreciate the connection Darren made between knowing that one is a singer and having confidence to face rejection. 4) What did you like the most about this presentation and why? By knowing what the listener enjoyed the most, I can figure out how to incorporate that into more of my slides, if possible, or at least confirm what part of the presentation provided the most entertainment. I believe when the listener is entertained, they are most receptive to learning information. Reviewer
Jennifer

Answer
Your enthusiasm and passion about singing comes through with every word. That excitement is catchy and encouraging! You talking directly to me (do this, now let's do it together, email me with questions or comments). The one point I didn’t feel like I was in the room with you was when your cat was with you! I love cats, so a suggestion there would be to mention your kitty and introduce him/her to the audience? Especially when you’re snuggling in for a good sleep. So cute!

Darren

The humor and pictures that connected back to your message. The snapshots of you weaved in with the text attached a face with the message. The sound effects were cued at the appropriate times which often made me chuckle. Suggestion: Explain emote further-is this an actual term in the singing world?

Jennifer's suggestion to name my cats is extremely tempting, but I don't feel there's enough time in the presentation to give them the introductions they deserve. I also feel like it might distract from the core messages to do so. Her comments make me consider whether having them pictured in the presentation is a distraction in the first place and I have considered removing them. After some thought, I believe they add to the entertainment value of the presentation and will leave them in. I like Darren's thoughts about how using my face in most of the photos helped him to relate to the core messages. His suggestion to explain emoting tells me that the presentation has sparked his curiosity. During my presentation, I do explain “and by that (emote) I mean feel!” As I've explained previously, I don't feel the purpose of this Pecha Kucha is to give extreme informational details, but to give the listener enough instruction to discover answers to their own questions. I believe Darren's suggestion is a perfect example of how I have accomplished that goal. Even though emote is in no way a singer's term, the listener here was curious enough to wonder if it was.

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5) What did you like the least (or not like at all) about this presentation and why? While seemingly obvious, I do want to know if there's anything within the presentation that turned off the listener. These would be problem areas to give serious consideration as the moment the listener turns off, the listener stops listening. Reviewer
Jennifer

Answer
At first, it was the sound of the audience because I was afraid they were going to drown out your voice and I'd miss something. But by the end, I was used to it and trusted them to quiet down. Then one grammar thing that's such an easy one to miss: in the credits most of the photos were taken by "my partner or me" rather than "my partner or I." What I liked least about the presentation is the fact your rough draft seemed polished and ready to submit. Obviously, you are comfortable with the medium and are able to manipulate the message easily. You set the bar higher and that makes me envious. Now, I feel like I need to rework several things in my own presentation after seeing your example. Thanks for helping me learn. Suggestion: The text font you chose seemed to be an odd choice for the presentation; I would suggest a cleaner font that jumps off the page.

Darren

Jennifer's suggestion is an additional reminder to go back and make sure all the sound effects are as noninvasive as possible. Also, I plan to go back and completely rework the last page in regard to citing photographs used. The first slide I should have credited the professional photographer and for the rest of them, I can credit those I can remember who took all the pictures. Darren's suggestion for changing the font is one that I will seriously consider. I used the Synchro font for the first slide and thought because Garr Reynolds suggests that fonts be consistent throughout a presentation, I hesitated to change it. The only slides that particularly bothers me is slide 18 with all the core verbs presented together. Not only is the text unavoidably off-center, I think it's not very attractive to look at in general. To summarize all the suggestions, I will 1) go through my presentation and rework all the sound effects to make sure the voice-overs are not invasive, 2) make some decisions about the general font choice, 3) review all graphics and make them as clear as possible and 4) credit photographs on the last slide.

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Bibliography
Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2008). Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Die and Others Survive. New York: Random House. Medina, J. (2008). Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Seattle, WA: Pear Press. Reynolds, G. (2009). Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

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