Monthly Archives: February 2018

Training the voice – anyone can do it. Right?

Wrong! Your voice is made up of every sight you’ve ever seen, every emotion you’ve ever felt and every Big Mac you’ve ever eaten.

It’s you. All you.

To enhance and develop voice is complex. Yet, go online and there are thousands of companies offering it. Unless your trainer is either associated with a recognised academic & performance body or a trained actor; the training being offered and usually offered at a high cost can only scratch the surface.

Check credentials.

Email and ask the company what professional qualifications and experience they have in voice work. Better still, phone them. Listen to their voice!

During sessions, I often find myself looking at the student’s mouth. What is going on in there? When I trained many, many moons ago ‘Classification of Consonants and Vowels’ was basic knowledge and we were expected to know it inside and out. Every single phonic was classified by what the tongue, lips, jaw & soft palate were doing and whether the sound was voiced or aspirate. I still use that classification technique today as it’s one vital area of voice training.

There are many areas of voice training, but I group them into the following vital topics for study:

Psychological – what is the motivation? Why the need to improve? Building confidence.

Articulation – what’s going on in that mouth? Listening to the sound. Consontant & Vowel formation.

Expression (vocal & facial) – making it come to life ! Where in a script should the expression be and how do we achieve that?

Breathing – proper diaphragmatic control and the ability to demonstrate.

Training their ears – how can the students improve if they don’t know what to listen out for?

The trainer should have the ability to demonstrate and effectively improve all of these areas.

For example, imagine how you would feel if you were suffering from a bad outbreak of acne and your doctor couldn’t help because he had only studied coughs & sneezes.

Here is a frightening fact – much of the techniques and approaches used by responsible trainers cannot be found online. When teaching Expression, we often refer to ‘The Law of Suspense and Conclusion’ which is a well known term to Speech & Drama academics and teachers. If however you try to search this on Google, you get the equivalent of search engine tumble weed. Nothing. This is just one very small pixel of a much larger picture of training the voice.

Pick up the phone – call the trainer and check them out.

Find your voice.