Jan 8 – Lift up your voice

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I had my first voice class the other night. I think I am going to like it. I definitely need it. We did the standard say your name and tell us what you want out of this class sort of thing at the beginning. My reasons I want to be able to be heard without my voice box being ripped to shreds, which is what it feels like if I spend to much time talking. I am also a chronic mumbler, not so useful for the stage.

There were a few people in class that I already knew from other classes I have taken. One from Rehearsal and Performance, one from Clown, one from Accent Study, and one from Shakespeare. The teacher is a new one to me, Gin Hammond. I saw her perform a bit from a one person show she does, called the Syringa Tree, where she plays something like 24 different characters. All I can say is, if you can pull that off you must know your stuff.

We have to get a yoga mat for class, apparently we are going to be on the floor a lot. I will go pick one up this weekend. And really, I live in Seattle, shouldn’t I have a yoga mat already?

The other thing we have to do is find a monologue. I hate looking for monologues. I like someone to just hand me something and say you’re doing THIS. Then I don’t have to stress out about whether or not it is a good choice.

I am not very educated in the theater. I am often in class and people will start discussing plays, and many others will nod their heads knowingly, oh yes,yes, that play. Or maybe some will say a name of a playwright, and the heads will nod knowingly again. I feel a bit stupid, so I am going to try and find some play anthologies to start reading. I need one titled, the 100 Plays You Should Know: So You can Nod Your Head Knowingly. Say that five times fast.

We did warm ups and exercises as usual. Nothing to wacky, some stuff I had done in George’s class. I did notice this time that when I messed up, I sort of missed the “punishment” that George used to dole out. It made the stakes higher. Someone just telling you to start over again isn’t the same as being told to do a five second death scene in front of everyone, or the fake hand slapping.

We did a lot of stuff with breathing because apparently that’s where the power comes from when speaking/singing. I actually know this, but I don’t utilize my breathing apparatus efficiently. I hold too much tension in all the necessary areas, from throat to pelvic floor.

So the main goal of the class is to learn how to relax and go back to a more natural and efficient form of breathing and speaking like when we were children. She did point out that babies can get a lot of volume and go on for hours without any apparent signs of wearing out their vocal chords. I think we have all heard that screaming toddler in a restaurant or supermarket and know it’s true.

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