Where Do You Start?

The question “where do you start” with regard to training the voice, has to be preceded by another question, “why would you start?” It’s a simple fact that nobody thinks about voice training unless something occurs to make them suspect their voice is inadequate, or unhealthy. If there is any pain experienced while speaking, at all, the first step is not training, but some form of medical intervention. Get referred by the GP to a specialist, and make sure there is nothing physically amiss. If there is nothing actually wrong with the larynx (voice box) then therapy is usually advised to address the behaviour that is causing the pain. Two common problems that bring people to the idea of voice …

Clarity of Thought and how to get it

I once wrote a poem about trying to write a poem. It goes like this: It’s never enough The words inside my head Scrambling for freedom It’s never enough The space between the words Inviting interference. It’s not enough To know, to have, to feel. There must be Space Outside my head A clear perceptive silence Room to manoeuvre. Then I decided to include this poem in a play about an actor who was also a poet. It became a shared moment between the actor and her grandson, a way for him to demonstratte to her that he had read her work. But as soon as we (I played the actor) began rehearsing the scene, I realised that it was …

Who Benefits from Voice Training?

Teachers – lawyers – writers – broadcasters – actors (film, tv and theatre) – journalists – doctors – preachers – counsellors – lecturers – salespeople – executives – committee members – public servants (including politicians) – entrepreneurs – and that’s just the start… Writers? Why should they develop their vocal skills and potential? They just sit in a quite room and write, right? Well, sure, until they get published, and have to go on publicity tours, giving readings from their work in front of audiences of potential readers, and being interviewed on radio and tv. How many writers have you heard reading so fast, and in such a monotonous voice that you either fell asleep, or switched off? Entrepreneurs? They …

New Tricks for Extending Vocal Life

Recently, I was invited to run some workshops for 4RPH, Radio for the Print Impaired, to give their volunteer announcers some advice on how to avoid vocal strain, improve their clarity and generally help them to get the most out of their voices. We were absolutely delighted with the large number of people who committed three hours of their time – as well as all the hours they devote to the actual broadcasting – to learn some new tricks. Of course, there are no tricks involved. And a little knowledge is no dangerous thing. On the contrary, helping these wonderful people to understand exactly how their voices function is the first step to helping them realise more of their vocal …