Elocution Basics

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Elocution/ Accent Reduction By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Elocution/ Accent Reduction
Last updated: 18/08/2009
Tags: advice (beginners), elocution

Elocution Basics

By Pauline Midwinter

The importance of speaking ‘correctly’ is becoming ever more relevant in this day and age. With conference calls and webcam meetings becoming more popular clarity and diction are a must.

If you have an accent you can still speak clearly and in a manner which other people can understand you, even if you do not feel confident about it.

When I was training (at my BA (Hons) in Performing Arts (Suffolk College)) I was lucky enough to be vocally trained by a great man. Brian Theodore Ralph was a magnificent voice teacher and his booming voice ringing out cross the classroom was an excellent example for us to attempt to emulate. Now, when I tutor people in elocution, I aim to be the best example to them that I can, in honour of Brian!

In one of his lessons he told us to keep hold of our vocal training worksheets as ‘we would need them some day’. I did not believe him but tucked them away and now I use them all the time! The basic principles he taught us are my ethos behind teaching elocution to my students.

Firstly I teach them how to understand their voice, both as a part of their body and as a separate entity.

Secondly we learn how to enunciate vowel sounds in many different forms.

Next we add consonants to the vowels – not necessarily making real words but making sounds that sound like real words.

Once we have that sussed we move onto tongue twisters – not too quickly! We always try and work on them slowly at first to ensure accuracy, and then we speed them up when we are more confident.

The next thing I like to do is read poetry aloud. I find poetry with its nuances, rhythm and rhyme a pleasure to hear my students read and they gain a great deal of satisfaction from it too. We repeatedly read the same poem over and over until they and I are happy with the sound. I then encourage a ‘performance reading’ with all bells & whistles to finish.

All of this can be achieved with one hour’s elocution tutoring! Then comes the tough part… implementing it in your everyday life.

Most people find it unnatural at first and do not feel confident enough to try out their new ‘voice’. This then means they practice less and the effect of the tutoring wears off. I often get despondent with second lesson students! My message is to practise, practise, then practise some more. Even if your friends and family do not immediately notice it, they will!

Pauline Midwinter Elocution/ Accent Reduction Tutor (Norwich)

About The Author

Are you constantly having to repeat yourself? Do people at work and at play either mishear or misunderstand you? For those who want to be understood... elocution lessons are the way forward. Have a lesson with me and find out!

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