In this age of super fast technology we’ve come to expect quick fixes to many things but learning a discipline like voice training means having to go back to basics.
People imagine that learning RP or an accent is something that can be mastered in a few classes without much effort. However they soon realise that perfecting those skills takes a great deal of practice.
Some are able to pick accents up very quickly but they are the lucky few. For most mastering for example, received pronunciation involves not just making different sounds but entails learning to move their mouths in a completely different way than they have done before.
This sounds fairly simple but just like learning a complicated dance routine new muscle memories need to be made so that new sounds can be created.
I teach every pupil to do facial warm ups before we begin the class explaining that a runner would never set off on a race without first warming up their leg muscles. The face and organs of articulation are no different. I do facial warm ups and vocal practice everyday to keep my speech and vocal range in excellent condition and encourage students to do the same.
Tongue twisters are considered a bit of an elocution cliche but they are essential to learning to use our mouths in a different way. Just like a ballet dancer does morning stretches at the barre a vocal student must always do vocal warm ups like tongue twisters to stretch their organs of articulation.
Whether its a poem, dramatic piece or a speech when it comes to the text
practice is always the key. If a student is ‘off book’ they are freer to add life and colour to the dialogue. Knowing it off by heart is one less thing to think about and therefore allows the pupil to give more attention to the sounds and delivery of the piece.
No one loves practising, especially if they find the discipline difficult, but like anything it will become easier as they progress and is always the quickest way to master RP, an accent or public speaking - Practice really does make Perfect.