As we’ve worked with the Alabama Blues Project thus far, we have seen continuously how the students (as well as ourselves as the teachers) have learned and grown through the process of making art. However, rarely have we been able to so directly and so quickly make an impact as we did today.

After working mostly with visual art projects and with the students’ final show coming up, it seemed only fitting to put their presentation skills to the test! The vocal students got the opportunity to stand up in front of their friends and fellow students and introduce themselves as well as a fun fact about themselves. We elaborated on what the vocal teacher had already taught the students and focused on diction, projection, and stage presence. This means making sure the audience can understand you, can hear you, and can see you.

The difference between the first round and the second was staggering! The shyest of students broke out of their shell in a matter of five minutes, volunteering to go again and asking questions. Every student stood taller and spoke louder and more clearly the second go around. And when we asked if anything was different between the first and second times, almost every single one of them expressed how much more confident they were after going through it once.

It was heartwarming and exciting to watch the students enjoy presenting themselves, and I look forward to seeing how far they’ve come at their final performance!