Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog: January 2008

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Teachers: Does Your Speaking Voice Communicate?

This post is to all teachers everywhere.

I talked to a young friend, Laura Cambell, at church today who had home for the weekend from college. I asked her how her studies were going and she made a common complaint that got me thinking. She said that many of this semester's teachers she had did not talk clearly during lectures. One of them actually spoke to the blackboard during the whole class, never once looking at the students. My friend therefore was having trouble learning in these classes.

If you are a teacher, may I first thank you for your service. It is a tough, trying business, and you are to be commended for your willingness to share your expertise. But may I respectfully also suggest that you think about how your communicate your lessons.
Do you-
  • Look at your students when you speak?
  • Enunciate clearly so that even a student with hearing problems can understand you, or even read your lips?
  • Use varied pitches in your voice- instead of a monotone delivery?
    Look for response (or the lack thereof) in your students' faces, indicating that you have engaged their interest?
  • Take time between phrases to 1) get a good breath and 2) let your last phrase sink in?
  • Adjust your words if you are not getting through, possibly re-stating your information another way?
  • Articulate with energy and animation, but not with intimidation or harsh tone?

If you really want to go up a level in your spoken communication skills, you may wish to join a Toastmaster Club. Or, possibly get a group of teachers together and observe each others' classes, giving and getting feedback on your delivery.
Here is a web page from the University of Oklahoma, which offers a "Teach Test" and gives some suggestions for doing well on the test. http://gradweb.ou.edu/eap/teach.htm . Check it out for great tips.
And thanks again for caring for your charges. They desperately need your information; give them your best shot at being able to receive what you have to give!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Audition Cattle Calls and Vocalist Abuse

OK, I'm back and I'm mad!

Yes, I'm finally moved into my new digs and will now get back to regular posts on this blog. I hope you missed me-

This one is going to be a rant. I have a question for everyone who sets up audition "cattle calls" for these American Idol shows and spin-offs. Why do you have singers standing in the extreme cold from the wee hours of the morning (say 3 or 4 o'clock am) until you finally allow them to sing- cold, tired and numb- sometime in the latter part of the day? Do you know these are human beings? Do you know that their voices, not to mention their bodies, are affected by such abuse? These people are worth more than this. They allow themselves to be treated this way, then usually leave with their hearts broken. Yes, the music business is hard, but does it have to be CRUEL?

Why can't you designate a warm, dry, safe place somewhere for people to wait for their auditions? Maybe have a cutoff after so many show up, then hold auditions for more days? You know, money considerations sometimes have to make room for basic human rights. If you auditioners ran a third world country, we might not be trading with you.

I've heard these horror stories from my clients for a couple weeks in a row, and I'd like to join any other voice teacher who'd like to throw in on this protest. I'd also like to hear from any of you reading this blog who have had similar experience with this kind of auditioning. Maybe we can raise our voices and get these practices changed. Click the comment link and tell us your story.

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