It’s hard work, so it had better be fun

The Voice Class has just passed the half-way mark.  We’ve established the basic principles of good posture, self-awareness as against self-consciousness, the physics of sound and the relationship between breath and voice.  We’ve learned the mini-vocal warmup, and begun the process of expanding it into the vocal maintenance program. A week ago, I introduced the students to my full vocal warmup, the one that was originally developed in Scotland by the members of the Golden Age Theatre ensemble. And we really were an ensemble, sharing ideas, energies, skills, experience to make theatre together.  The warm up began as a purely physical warmup, but I have developed it over the years to be a total, all-in-one program that serves as training …

You’re the Voice! Try and Understand That

Yes, I’m quoting John Farnham. Actually, I’m quoting Chris Thompson, Andy Quanta, Keith Reid and Maggie Ryder   – the people who wrote the lyrics. You’re the voice, try and understand it Make a noise and make it clear Oh-o-o-o, whoa-o-o-o! We’re not gonna sit in silence We’re not gonna live with fear Oh-o-o-o, whoa-o-o-o! (repeat until end of song) (courtesy of LyricsFreak) I was reminded of this, yet again, by a recent discussion on VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers of America) about the way some people can learn an accent (in the USA, this is referred to as dialect), for a role in a play, do it perfectly in rehearsal, but then slip up in performance. Changing the way we …

Forum – a place to engage in discussion

My last few posts have elicited quite a few generous responses via email, which I’ve then asked permission to post here on the blog.  To make things easier, I’ve just set up a new page, you will see the link on the navigation row at the top of the blog website or click here “Forum – Join the Discussion”. The aim is to make it easier to respond to posts, and to develop a discussion around the various topics. If it works out, perhaps I will make it the home page. In the meantime, let me direct to over the Forum page, where I have just posted “Shakespeare our Teacher”, a story of serendipity involving last year’s Shakespeare Globe NZ National …

Giving Voice to Children – The Next Question?

My last post struck a chord with some of my voice teaching colleagues, who contacted me directly. I have asked their permission to post their remarks here, so that we may open out the discussion to a wider readership. Elizabeth Montoya-Stemann lives and works in Jamaica, WI.  Here is what she had to say: “I agree 100% with your idea of giving voice to children from early age at the schools. “I am an acting and voice and speech teacher living and working in Jamaica, W.I. at a Arts College. I have a 5 y.o son and I am suffering the struggle of free expression for kids. I mean the school where my son goes to is so centered in …

Giving a Voice to Everyone: Where Would You Start?

Here’s something that has been bugging me for many years – in fact, it’s the reason I undertook to do a PhD on the subject of a theory of the voice. Given that most people have no idea how much their voices contribute to how they feel about themselves, and how they are perceived by others, where do we start to get ‘the word’ out there, and change this situation? Should we start in kindergarten, getting small children to play with sound creatively, and safely, in much the same way that they are encouraged to explore their developing bodies in the playground, and in sporting activities? That would require teachers who know how to do it. So do we start …