Heather Forest – Sharing musical folktales with young listeners.

Heather Forest creator of the site storyarts.org speaks and sings about using musical folktales for children

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Interview #032 Heather Forest
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Musical Folk Tales for Children.

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The Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf interview #032 Heather Forest – Musical Folk Tales for Children. CD Telephone Quality Audio
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Heather Forest writes…
I enjoyed this conversation on the topic of sharing musical folk tales with young listeners. Music and children are an exuberant match. I have found in my storytelling experience with young people that melody, rhythm, rhyme, and repetition of musical refrains keeps young listeners listening. When my son Lucas was a three-year-old and already quite experienced listening to stories, he loved our story times and would often clammer, “Mama, sing me a story!.” From his listening point of view, speaking and singing in storytelling were all part of song. I named my first recording for young listeners “Sing Me a Story” after his way of asking for tales. I always weave singable refrains into my storytelling for young people. One doesn’t need to be a trained musician to add music to storytelling. Start simply and have fun with sound. “Playing” music means just that! Play!

In our conversation we explored

* how to notice the natural rhythmic flow and musicality of speech
* how to make simple singable melodies
* why children respond to music in stories
* how to include elements of audience participation in musical tales

As a teller I have always enjoyed retelling traditional folktales. Classic nursery tales for young listeners from all around the world offer simple, useful messages for living in harmony with others. My repertoire for young listeners focuses on tales celebrating themes of cooperation, sharing and perseverance.

We talked about

* how to select age-appropriate folktales for young listeners
* how to highlight memorable moments in a tale with music and participation.

Hope you enjoy listening – Cheers!

Biography of Heather Forest:
Heather Forest is a storyteller, recording artist, and children’s book author. For the past thirty years, she has toured her performance repertoire of World Folktales to theatres, schools, conferences and storytelling festivals throughout the United States and abroad. Her many performance credits include The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C., The National Storytelling Festival, TN, Tales of Graz Festival, Austria, the Sidmouth International Folk Festival, England, Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival, New Zealand, and the International Storytelling Festival in Ljungby, Sweden.

She has published seven children’s picture books, two folktale anthologies
, eight audio recordings of storytelling and a popular educational web site Story Arts Online http://www.storyarts.org. Her recordings have won an American Library Association Notable Record Award, two Parent’s Choice Gold Awards, and three Storytelling World Honor Awards. Heather holds a Master’s Degree in Storytelling and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change. She is a recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award presented by the National Storytelling Network, and is an adjunct professor of Oral Tradition at Southern Connecticut State University.

For more on her current work check out her website at http://www.heatherforest.com


  • By MaryK Croft, November 13, 2007 @ 10:06 pm

    What a marvelous, informative hour! I am so glad that I was told about this and was able to listen and participate.

  • By Renita Boyle, April 27, 2008 @ 4:24 pm

    What a wonderful, wonderful podcast! I loved this from beginning to end and am now an avid fan of all things ‘Heather Forest’. What a wonderful way to refresh and retell trad tales.

  • By Nita Sorensen, June 10, 2008 @ 11:41 am

    This is a fabulous podcast! I am currently working on my masters degree and taking a storytelling class. I am an elementary music specialist. I love how you have integrated music into your story telling. The information and presentation is exactly what I am looking for. Music is such powerful way to present a story. Thank you for all the marvelous ideas. Your voice sounds like you have taken eloqution lessons. Your voice dynamics are so articulate as well as musical. I could listen to you for hours – and I am usually not a very good listener to stories – I get bored and tun out. You have captured my attention. You deliver the stories you give so vividly. Thank you!

  • By Rob C, January 7, 2011 @ 9:27 am

    Lovely recording. I you put it on itunes i would buy it.

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