Now, being a teacher, I’m fairly used to public speaking. Standing in front of a group of people and talking about the wonders of the present perfect or the mysteries of collocation comes as second nature.
But a lecture is different.
For a start, there are more people. Secondly, there’s more speaking from me, and less from the people listening. Thirdly, there’s the technology: laptops, projectors, CD players, and anything else that needs 240 volts.
So when I delivered the first lecture (all about music) on 3rd March 2009, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Having fiddled with the technology, I managed to get my PowerPoint presentation displayed on the wall and the stereo playing some carefully selected tunes.
Around ten to one, students began filing into room A3 at Southampton Place. From the looks on their faces, I’d say that many of them didn’t know what to expect either.
At 1:00pm, the lecture began. First, I spoke about sound – what it is and how we get to hear it. Next, I showed some examples of orchestral and modern instruments, and we listened to how they sound on the CD. Then we listened to some different genres of music, from funk to folk, trad jazz to trance and soul to speed metal. Finally we looked at the British invasion – the success of British music in the USA since the sixties.
And then it was over! A whole hour and whizzed past, and I hadn’t even noticed. The audience had stayed with me throughout, showing interest and asking relevant questions – and not one person had fallen asleep.
The best thing was after the lecture though – I couldn’t believe the number of students that told me (either personally or via their teachers) how much they had enjoyed it!
Let me tell you, hearing that was…well, music to my ears…
By Dan Woodard