(Photo Courtesy of NC Shakespeare Festival)
There are many instances when an actor might need the help of a voice trainer to achieve their goals with a performance. Many years ago, when I was playing Bianca in "Othello" at the NC Shakespeare Festival (see photo above), I was faced with the challenge of being able to project in a large auditorium despite being strapped into a restrictive corset. Luckily, the theatre had hired excellent voice trainers to support us during the rehearsals and performances.
Despite having prior voice training from a top ranked classical conservatory (shout out to: University of NC School of the Arts), I was VERY grateful to have voice trainers present who provided specific exercises to ensure I could utilize my voice with proper breath support, and avoid vocal strain. It was these professionals that inspired me to return to school to earn my Master's degree in speech pathology with a focus on voice (Thank you, UNC Greensboro)! At my private practice, I have the pleasure of helping performers navigate vocal challenges so that they can ensure they can be understood, and can maintain their emotional connection with the text without losing power as they progress through their performance.
Aside from the challenge of projecting while in a corset, what are some other reasons actors might need a voice trainer? Here are some specific scenarios I have helped clients with below:
"Help! I'm playing a character who is very angry and just shouts and yells throughout the show. How can I do this without hurting my voice?"
"I work in voice overs and I want to make sure I can create different character voices without straining my voice. I need some guidance."
"My director keeps telling me they can't hear me, but I feel like I'm shouting when I try to get louder. How can I increase my volume without sounding like I'm yelling?"
"I feel like my articulation is not as clear as it could be, and there are still some sounds that trip me up. Can you help me gain more clarity in my speech?"
"I'm having to perform in a dialect I'm not used to, and the other actors are saying I'm hard to understand. I want my accent to sound authentic, while still being intelligible."
"I'm performing a one person show, and I want to make sure I can create all the distinct voices needed for the different characters and maintain the vocal stamina I'll need to get through an hour and a half performance."
"I'm playing a strong female lead, and the director thinks I sound too 'sweet'. How can I convey authority with my voice?"
Being able to utilize my experience and training as a classical actress AND my clinical knowledge as a speech pathologist, has allowed me to go above and beyond traditional acting voice training for my clients; ensuring they understand the importance of caring for their vocal health in addition to utilizing the vocal techniques that will allow them to reach their performance potential! Want to learn more? Click here to set up a free consultation: https://calendly.com/newleafvoice/free-consultation