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 workshops in LA, “Experiencing Speech” and “Experiencing Accents”.  I loved the rigour, the thorough practicality of the approach, the way it incorporates anatomical facts with imaginative play. So this year I went to New York and undertook the three-week teacher certification program.  It was – as I’ve said before – intensely challenging, and utterly stimulating.

Below are the Class of 2014 photos. In the first one, a bunch of charming voice and accent coaches, in the second – we may look as if we are mucking about, but that is a Serious Exercise!


The KTS Gurn

The KTS Gurn

I am running the first, introductory workshop in Brisbane on 9th November (click for details). You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the principles and philosophy that underpin this approach to speech and accent training, as well as some of the exercises designed to allow you to learn ANY accent.  Once you understand what’s actually involved in learning someone, or somewhere else’s way of using the language, you’ll be in a much stronger position to undertake the specific work you need to do.

Click here to contact me for more details, and to register your interest. And please do spread the word. This workshop is open to everyone who cares about their voice, communication and presentation skills and creative self expression.


and the news is…

I am delighted to announce that I am now a Certified Knight Thompson Speechwork Teacher. The three-week course in New York last month was intense, challenging, stimulating and deeply satisfying, and I cannot wait to share this beautiful work with you.

random Shakespeare being rehearsed in a New York Upper West Side Community Garden

random Shakespeare being rehearsed in a New York Upper West Side Community Garden

What I love about this particular approach to teaching clear speech and accents, is that

a) it empowers the student: you don’t just learn a certain accent, you learn HOW to learn any accent (and you can learn specific accents too!)

b) it is grounded in the body: you are the voice, your whole body takes part in the process of self-expression through language; how you speak is part of this process

c) it takes an intelligent, informed approach to culture, society and community: there is no such thing as a good, or a bad accent; there are different accents, and they can all be spoken with clarity

d) it enables me to build upon the holistic approach to voice and acting work I have been engaged in all my life; did I mention that I love it?  Let me also mention that I live it.IMG_5726 IMG_5727

If you would like to know more about Knight-Thompson speech and accent training, contact me here


App on Sale

I’m in a holiday mood today, so I’m putting the Being in Voice warm up app [CLICK HERE] on sale for the rest of the month.PageLines- BiVlogocropped.jpg

US$2.99       AU$3.79         GBP 1.99


The app is still getting great feedback – wherever I travel I run into friends and colleagues who use it, and who recommend it to their students and clients.

If you already have it, and haven’t yet rated it in the App Store, I would love to know what you think.

The Android version is still under development. The brand new app, “Grow Your Voice”, is awaiting a major injection of funds to get it going. However, here is a sneak peek at what the new App’s logo will look like.Grow Your Voice Icon


Moving on Again!

KTS 2014

KTS 2014

Knight-Thompson Speechworks training was Intense, with an intentional Capital I. Three weeks of immersion in the mechanics of speech and accents was thrilling, exhausting and deeply satisfying.  I was surrounded by enormously talented individuals, all with unique styles of delivery when it comes to teaching and coaching, so there was as much to learn from my fellow students as there was from the teachers. I also managed to fit in private coaching sessions with Joan Melton (One Voice), and Marya Lowry.  Boy oh boy did my voice get a workout to die for!!! I am now moving on to stay with friends in New Jersey for the next three weeks, where I will be head down-tail up writing and rehearsing, developing my new solo performance.


getting some personal tuition from Ricky the Dialect Dog

Good-bye New York. It has been a total blast.

Moving On

Two weeks in Seattle with the family are almost over. It’s been wonderful watching my grandson playing baseball and soccer (and having him beat me at chess), and my granddaughter colouring in with great precision and attention to shades of purple.2014-06-22 09.40.09

I’ve been able to catch up with my great friend and colleague Gin Hammond. Gin is presently developing a wonderful piece of total theatre, “Gifts of War”, for production in September. This evening we are heading – en famille – to the Safeco Stadium to watch the Mariners playing the Indians and seeing a “Gifts of War” promo splashed up on the big screen for all to see.

Tomorrow I fly to New York for a long overdue catch up with Amy Stoller and other VASTA colleagues, before embarking on the full whammy of three weeks of Knight-Thompson Speechworks training.

Oh, by the way, my thesis was approved. You may now refer to me as Dr Kennedy, although I really hope you don’t!