Tag Archives: comedy

How I Healed My Boys High School Choir Bullying Trauma

I went to an all-boys high school where the first grade rugby team enjoyed the highest social status. Anyone who wasn't into aggressive body-contact sports got their head kicked in other ways, and boys on each level of the social hierarchy boosted their flagging self-esteem by bullying the boys on the level below. Any innate sensitivity in a boy was crushed both in the classroom and in the play/battle-ground.

Although I was highly intelligent and generally got good grades, this wasn't valued as highly as sporting prowess at my high school and being a thin, nerdy kid who was the youngest in my year, I didn't do so well at school socially.

I spent my lunch times singing in the school choir or hanging out in the computer room learning to use the new machines that the teachers didn't know what to do with. This was a couple of years before the computer revolution went mainstream and decades before Big Bang Theory made nerds hot prime-time-viewing commodities.

Childhood bullying can leave our adult selves feeling self-conscious and hyper-vigilant to criticism from others.

Since I was a late developer my voice didn't break until well after high school. It was embarrassing still being in the alto section of the all-boy choir as I headed into Year 11 so I quit and joined the lighting crew in the hall instead where I could feel good about solving technical problems backstage and wouldn't have to perform in front of people and end up feeling so self-conscious.… Continue reading…

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Using Music To Express Anger and Rage

Since the beginning of the year I've been studying Music Performance full-time at a local tertiary college, and the experience has been extremely healing for me. The interactions with teachers and other students have brought a lot of my unresolved adolescent insecurities to the surface: in some ways, going to college is like going back to high school. My fears about whether I would fit in brought up a lot of anxiety for me, coupled with a very strong desire to try hard to make other students like me. I often had to take a deep breath and remind myself to focus on what I was learning and just have fun participating instead.

“Full-time” at the college I'm attending is only 2.5 days per week; although I spend pretty much all the rest of the week doing homework of various forms: learning to play new instruments, practising songs for our performance night, writing my own songs and getting them recorded.

In the process I've found music an excellent way to express anger and rage. A lot of the songs I've been writing have a great deal of anger in them, inspired primarily by life circumstances and/or other people's behaviour. Writing, performing, recording and releasing these songs has been extremely cathartic for me and the feedback from the other students has been very positive and accepting.… Continue reading…

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Get On Stage At An Open Mic Night

Hey, it's Graham here with another confidence expanding tip for you. And today I want to talk about the suggestion of getting up on stage at an open mic night, performing your musical talents if you have any or your comedic talents if you have any or whatever talent it is that you have, doing it up on stage and getting outside your comfort zone which is of course the way that you build confidence the fastest.

Any big city will have comedy clubs and entertainment venues that have regular open mic nights, typically on Tuesdays or Wednesdays because those are the nights where it gets a little bit quiet and a lot of the professional acts prefer to perform on Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights. So Tuesdays and Wednesdays are often open mic nights where anybody who has a bit of talent that they want to develop can go along and tread the boards, get up on stage and have a go at entertaining people.

I recommend that you give it a go. Like, this will make your heart race like nothing else. If you're a bit of a funny guy and you've got some good wise-cracks, a few jokes that you want to run, I recommend that what you do is you work out some stories from your real life that have made you laugh that you think have been funny and that you put them together into a little five-minute comedy routine.… Continue reading…

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How Theatrical Improvisation Increases Your Confidence

I've been taking a bunch of theatrical improvisation courses lately because it's a really fun, engaging way to increase self-confidence. There's a part of me that loves being on stage, without the old inhibitions that used to get in the way of everyday life. The skills involved in theatrical improvisation, also known as Comedy Improvisation or Improv, turn out to be essential life skills, especially when it comes to interacting confidently with other people.

Much of what I've learned in Improv class reverses a lot of what I learned about how to act while growing up. Many of us have huge chunks of our creativity, and our true personality, beaten out of us in the education and socialization process while we were young. We got punished for failure, bullied for being different, and ridiculed when we got things wrong. So we learned to play it small, avoid risks, and generally keep our head down to avoid getting kicked. It was a conservative survival strategy that worked at the time, but doesn't work so well in the adult world.

Theatrical improvisation, on the other hand, teaches us how to:

  • Fail brilliantly.
  • Say "Yes" to opportunities.
  • Take risks.
  • Listen to other people.
Continue reading…
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