"Chopping Wood" | It's All in the Fundamentals

by Don Hall

Charlie “Yardbird” Parker transformed himself from decent saxophone player into one of the most influential jazz musicians of the last 100 years.  The change happened during a 10-month period, when Parker essentially dropped out of the scene and worked deeply on his craft.

By fully immersing himself in an environment that pushed his mastery, he reemerged on a path to becoming a legend.

During this period of transformation, Parker practiced relentlessly in an old woodshed in an open field.  “Chopping wood” is now synonymous with doing the hard work of disciplined training.  Today, jazz cats around the world refer to “hitting the woodshed” as a metaphor for study, practice and personal growth.

Having played my trumpet professionally, I kind of grew up with this concept.  Hunkering down and crunching the fundamentals in a way that makes mastery sort of second nature, I find myself 'woodshedding' once in awhile regardless of the artistic medium involved.

Storytelling is the art form I call home these days.  I hosted The Moth for five years and it solidified both my love of storytellers and my appreciation for those who approach it with a sense of genuine craft.  While I agree wholeheartedly that anyone can (and should) tell their stories, I also believe firmly that those who are the most notable, who tell the stories that truly resonate, are craftspersons.  These individuals approach the work with a toolbox full of tools and construct tales of literary quality rather than just a story one could tell in a bar, on a porch, or around a table.

Beginning July 23rd, I'll be teaching a six-week workshop focusing on taking decent storytellers and providing the tools that can take them to the next level of mastery.

Here's the skinny:

The Woodshed Storytelling Workshops

  • Sun, Jul 23, 20173:00pm  Sun, Aug 27, 20176:00pm

  • Pendulum Space 

"Anyone can tell a story.  What sets apart someone telling a story and a stoyteller is craft."

Don Hall has been telling stories on stages since 1999 and was the host of The Moth StorySlams from 2011 - 2016 which means he’s told and heard a LOT of stories.  He's taught workshops for theater, improvisation and storytelling in 19 states and three countries.

The Woodshed is not a workshop for first time storytellers but a class for those who have been out there telling stories for a while and are looking to “up their game.”

Six individual workshops include:

Universal Commonality
The Architecture of the Tale
Openers and Closers
The Music of Speech
The Theater of the Thing
Combining Craft and Truth

All comprise a holistic approach to the craft of storytelling.  Included with each workshop is time for individual critique and exercises to improve both your presentation and expand your toolkit.

Cost is $120.00.
Registration thru Eventbrite is HERE.

All workshops are held at Pendulum Space, 1803 West Byron Street
Sundays, July 23 thru August 27
3:00pm - 6:00pm

Drop-ins are welcome ($25.00 cash) for individual workshops.  
Only those enrolled in all six will be invited to participate in feedback sessions.

If you're interested in 'chopping some wood' and honing your craft, join me.