Thursday, September 4, 2014

Voice and Auditioning

I like to cover audition techniques and good vocal use in the first few weeks of school because it aligns with the school play auditions. My hope is that by doing mock auditions in my class, the students who don't normally consider auditioning might feel empowered to sign up.

After taking an amazing three day class at UNC this summer from Ms. Shelly Gaza, I had a lot of new knowledge on voice to share with my students this year- especially in the areas of the anatomy of the vocal chords and on good vocal hygiene and health. I showed this Google Presentation about the Voice & Auditioning over the course of two class periods and also had the students do a series of different vocal exercises and a bit of workshopping with Shakespeare's sonnet #29.

I also got a little help from a current opera singer friend/former choirmate Daina Fischer, who teaches voice. Because I work at an International Studies school, I thought it would be relevant and interesting to show a short video of Mongolian Throat Singing just as a fun and interesting example of what we can do with our voices, and also the video of the four voices singing with a camera on their vocal cords. Really interesting stuff!

Some wonderful resources for vocal pedagogy, exercises and sequences can be found in "Freeing the Natural Voice" by Kristin Linklater and "The Complete Voice and Speech Workout" by Janet Rodgers. Some of my favorite are these tongue twisters:

"Cinnamon, Linoleum, Aluminum" (repeat 3 times fast!)
"How many boards can the Mongols hoard, if the Mongol hordes got bored?"
"Pleasant Valley Pheasant Pluckers" (be careful with that one!)

The bottom line of this lesson for my students is to not get too hung up on mastering the technical part of speaking. While it is important and will help you to be successful in auditioning and competitive events, it is much more crucial to become comfortable and free with the voice that you have!

What do other theatre educators out there use to teach voice and auditioning skills?

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