The sound quality and use of the voice is a fundamental factor in the lives and success of many prominent professional people. Far more so than many of us appreciate. Actors of Stage Screen and Television, Broadcasters, Politicians, Business leaders, Teachers, Clergy and many others, use their voices consciously and deliberately and to inform, persuade or entertain us.
What many of us don't realise is that many of these people have worked very hard to master skills and techniques in voice production. Non-professional voice users may not earn their living through their speaking voice but, nevertheless, still want to create a positive and pleasant effect when they speak. You too can familiarise yourself with these techniques and learn how to use your voice to best effect.
This course is a basic introduction to voice production and effective speaking. It explains the processes involved in speech and how we can use the speaking voice to best effect whilst taking care of this most valuable asset.
Lectures are varied between audio, video and support text. Exercises and reference material are included.
This course can be completed initially within 2 - 3 hours and that includes a basic familiarising oneself with exercises. This time would be average for an Introductory Voice and Speech Awareness session with a Voice Tutor.
The course is structured logically and all lectures follow on and are discrete enabling the student to return to any section or lecture for skill reinforcement or revision.
This course will benefit all voice users and of course anyone who uses their voice professionally - teachers, lecturers, clergy, managers and public speakers.
In order to use your voice to your best advantage a little knowledge of how sound is made will help you to understand the mechanics of breathing and speech production
The vocal folds are crucial to vocal health and flexible speaking. Learn how they work and how to take care of them.
Before we speak lifestyle and environment can affect the vocal folds - learn how to avoid damage and look after your vocal health.
Before we open our mouths to speak we can do much to help ourselves to use our physical and mental energy wisely and economically. A key factor is body posture and in this section we will look at the importance of body awareness.
Posture can either work for us or against us! Learn how incorrect posture limits and restricts vocal delivery whilst correct posture and alignment will complement and enhance the speaking voice.
A reminder of what good physical alignment is and how it makes speaking easier to deliver and listen to.
Breath control underpins all voice use. To have sufficient breath and to control the outbreath is fundamental to good voice production.
Simple exercises to encourage deeper breathing and the controlled outbreath.
Using the diaphragm and not shallow breathing will help to facilitate controlled and stronger vocal delivery.
A recap of the exercises looked at enabling you to practice breathing from the diaphragm and extending the outbreath in your own time.
Good, clear diction depends on crisp articulation. This lecture explains what that really means and how you can achieve clarity and disctinction.
Vowels carry sound. This lecture explains how vowels are formed and the part they play in clear, easy-to-listen-to speech.
This lecture explains how consonants define our words and how they help our speech to reach the listener with clarity.
This lecture shows the work articulation does for us in colouring and clarifying our speech.
Summary and some tongue twisters to encourage flexibility of organs of articulation.
Three levels of speech are used in speech - learn how to extend your pitch range and why pitch variation is important.
How vocal range and inflexion used correctly helps to make for effective delivery.
Summary and exercises to encourage pitch range.
Resonance explained and how it colours the individual voice.
Exercises to open up the resonators.
Tone colour explained and the role it plays in adding authenticity to the speaking voice.
In this lecture we will see how focusing on a particular emotion, feeling the emotion and then reflecting it in the speech will give the voice power and authenticity.
Summary and exercises.
This lecture explains how a variation of pace, pause and emphasis helps to modulate the speaking voice and aids the listener's understanding.
A short and enjoyable warm up to help you keep your voice flexible and healthy.
Your daily work out - why not add your own tongue twisters?
Simple tips to help you to stay on track and monitor your progress.
What we have covered in this course and why it is important to enjoy using your voice and working on it.
Revision of the key points of the course.
I've always been fascinated with voices. As a young girl at school in England I can remember mimicking all the voices of the Thunderbirds characters (and doing horrific things to the vocal cords in the process, I now realise!). As girls we were delighted to get all the male voices right too – my specialities were Parker, Brains and Jeff Tracy and, naturally, Lady Penelope. Vocal impersonations were certainly an antidote to adolescent shyness and like so many ‘shy’ girls, I went on to study drama. I’d grown up with an awareness of the voice – lots of stories and quality radio – I think I’ve developed a good ear.
After my degree I worked with a small performance company taking new material mostly around the country and to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. After a while I began my teaching career in Salisbury, then Leicester, London, Shropshire, the Welsh Borders and Cheshire - all those differing dialects and accents! Having taught across the age and ability range and in a variety of institutions I moved into Further and Higher Education, lecturing in Performing Arts. In Stoke on Trent I worked with fantastic young people on BTEC Performing Arts Courses and many of them went on to secure places in Drama School – overcoming their lack of confidence and resistance (at first) to soften local dialects for audition purposes. Many of the students were so talented yet vocally inhibited but we had regular 3hr sessions devoted to the voice in their courses – wonderful! What a luxury! I also began working with would-be Public Speakers and Teachers who were so vocally stressed their performance in the classroom was suffering. I became very aware of the need to look after the voice and began studying it further.
I will listen to lovely voices for inspiration. I adore the almost clinical crispness of Peter Cushing’s diction, the mellow elegance of Joanna Lumley, the ‘another time’ delivery of Edward Fox and the reassuring, lifting high pitch of Celia Johnson – the sort of voice that makes one feel ‘ah well, let’s just get on and make the best of things’. I had to do that when I was made redundant from my lecturing posts and with all the changes in education anyway I felt I’d seen the best of times.
I was getting requests from coaching around this time – radio journalists, managers, church speakers. Most of my background and work had been in Education and Theatre so I took a Business Management Course and began designing my own tailor-made voice courses for various clients. This naturally led to forming my own company Sounds Right Ltd which offers Voice, Speech and Communication Training.
I examine, assess and adjudicate regularly and was an Examiner and Ambassador for a leading Examination Board for some time. I have initiated Spoken English Events and Public School Competitions and I am frequently asked to judge Rotary Speaking Competitions. I firmly believe that every child and young person benefits enormously from having the opportunity to speak in public or at least in front of their peer group.
I love helping people make the most of their speaking voice and overcome obstacles and difficulties – real or perceived. The voice says so much about us but we can take it for granted. I love the varied nature of my work – one day it might mean going into a school and working with teachers and lecturers and helping them to keep their voices healthy, the next day might find me working with an executive who needs to give a first class presentation or someone who’s been asked to chair a meeting.There are very many jobs, occupations and professions but the voice is common to all and everyone.
In my role as an Assessor, Examiner and of course, delivering workshops to teachers, I am constantly made aware of how important the voice is to successful and harmonious relationships in the learning environment. The provision of some basic voice training for educators is something I feel very strongly about especially when one considers how much work the voice has to do each and every session, day after day, term after term.
I am taking my Masters at the moment and specialising in online Education and Business. It is an exciting challenge and different but I am hoping the technology will help me to reach out to an even wider range of people who appreciate the need for an enhanced speaking voice.