People speak as the people we hear often speak; this is how regional accents exist. Speech is a learned behavior, however sometimes there is a physical reason for incorrect speech patterns. Most people learn/develop habits of holding tension in places such as the neck, jaw and shoulders, which affect their voice.
Performers may also have additional “performance tension” that they have developed and unconsciously made a part of their normal rehearsal routine. Habitual tension affects the voice even if one is unaware it exists. The first step in any training is becoming aware of what we currently are doing. Identifying habits and tension is the key to knowing which exercises will most efficiently get the desired results.
My goal is to help you identify habitual tension and provide you with training and exercises that you can continue to perform on your own in any situation. You will learn to release tension and speak with a clear Standard American accent. We will spend a good deal of time on the most often mispronounced consonants and difficult Standard American English Sounds: S, R, L, TH, T. Speaking with a standard American accent can make business or social communication easier. It can increase confidence and professional image and improve the clarity of your speech. These lessons are generally geared for performers however people from many walks of life find benefit in reducing a regional accent.
Foreign and Regional Dialects (English)
Often actors are asked to portray a character who speaks entirely different from their natural voice. For instance; there are regional accents in the United States that stand out such as New York, Boston, Southern back hills, Southern Plantation etc. There are also foreign accents that are not always easy for Americans to replicate convincingly such as Russian, Irish, French and several of the British dialects.
Mastering a different speech pattern is difficult but not impossible. The first step is to learn to see letters as sounds (phonetics) and then through voice exercises and guidance you will eventually be able to apply the sounds to any script, any sides, and any words that you desire effectively and convincingly. We will not only spend time learning consonants and vowel sounds but also cadence of speech and slang.
***Both will require the learner to bring a digital recorder or phone that has the ability to record up to 20 min. These are classes that require commitment. Regularly weekly sessions are highly recommended and 1 hour/week for at least a month is recommended to start.