The Magic of Omnish

We are halfway through my final term of teaching voice in my current position, and this morning I had one of those magical moments that make teaching acting students so special. Our first years are all taking turns at leading a short warm-up in class, and I’ve been at great pains to encourage them to be inventive, to mix and match exercises they may have learnt elsewhere, to make connections between their voice training and all their other classes and training. And boy, have they responded, with humming while doing squats and star jumps, different emotional sighs, singing rounds (including something from The Hunger Games), and an amazing range of tongue twisters – including “Benedict Cumberbatch”. This morning, a student concluded …

The case for learning about sonnets – in reverse

Working – or playing – with sonnets is a fabulous way to learn about how language works, why poetry CAN be its highest form. But where do you start? Ask just about anyone what they know about sonnets, and they will probably say “iambic pentameter”.  Then ask them what that means. Some will know that it refers to a kind of rhythm, most will say it means 10 beats to a line, and some that it means 10 syllables to a line. That is not what the words actually mean, but they are on the right track. Let’s break it down. What does ‘iambic’ mean?  Perhaps you know it refers to a specific rhythm, the one that occurs when you have an unstressed …

Endless Possibilities

Yesterday I spent the day playing with a new (to me) group of acting students: What A Blast! We began by discovering the FACT that voice is sound, sound is vibration, vibration can be felt in the body and in the air outside of the body. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not actually there!  And of course, once you feel it and experience it as a physical occurrence, you can own it, grow it, play with it. We travelled to the land of Omnia, learnt the local language (Omnish, of course, which includes all the sounds of all the languages of the world that are known), held elections and honoured the poet laureate of Omnia. With …

From Clear Speech to General American

Sounds easy, but of course there is skill involved, and that takes practice.  Join us for 2 half day workshops on 9th November, and learn the most direct, holistic (in terms of the anatomy of articulation, pronunciation, rhythm and melody) process for speaking skilfully, in any accent. But this time, we’ll be focussing on so-called General American, the accent you will need if you aim to work in  Hollywood movies. Limited places, and these are filling up fast. Contact me to reserve your place with a small deposit.

How to Acquire an Accent

Accents – believe it or not – are not easy.  Let’s face it, if you’ve spent 20, 30, 40 years using your head and facial muscles and your tongue to speak words in a particular way, and tuning your voice to go up and down in pitch the way your friends and family do, it is going to take some degree of effort to retrain your ears and those muscles to do it differently on demand. Dudley Knight and Phil Thompson have been working for many years to study the challenges of “Speaking With Skill” (Dudley’s book is a Goldmine). They devised a training methodology that integrates beautifully and effortlessly with any voice training system you care to name. Last year I attended the KTS …