Change the Way You Speak

To change the way you speak takes focus and dedication and is a little more time consuming than most people expect! But when you do put the time and effort in you really do reap the benefits and you really can, change the way you speak.

A wonderful example of someone who is willing to put the time, effort and focus needed to change the way you speak is the well known actor and impersonator,  Alistair McGowan.

This Bank Holiday Friday (26th May ’17) Saturday the 26th, Sunday the 27th and the following Sunday, 4th June ’17, he is on Radio 4, illustrating and showing how this can be done.

On Friday he stars in his own play called The B Word  (the links to the programmes are all in blue) about the playwright (G B Shaw) who inspired the wonderful film, My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn.

Alistair plays the lead, the playwrite George Bernard Shaw and does a replica of George’s accent harvested from some early 20th century recordings. It is a humorous account of how he persuades Mrs Patrick Cambell (a stunningly beautiful actress with whom he was in love) to play the part of Eliza Doolittle, thirty years her junior! Well, love is blind they say… 🙂

On Saturday, on Radio 4’s weekly entertainment review programme, Lose Ends   31 minutes into the programme, Alistair is introduced by Clive Anderson the host and during the interview, touches on the time needed to study a voice and the familiarity needed, to really achieve an accurate sound – very useful information I thought! 

I know this to be true from my own experience, but I really want you to hear this, as I think it will spur you own to focus and set aside some time to change the way you speak, to achieve the sound you want

Then on Sunday, Alistair stars in the first episode of the wonderful play by Shaw called Pygmalion (that was later turned into the famous Hollywood film My Fair Lady) about how a voice coach transforms somebody’s voice 🙂 …and so their life 🙂

The final part of the play, Pygmalion Part 2 will be broadcast next Sunday (4th June) and all of these programmes can be listened to at any time convenient to you, as available on the BBC Radio Iplayer – the pink app.

These four broadcasts, are not only wonderful ways of hearing and learning great diction – in a variety of accents too, but they are also a very entertaining way of finding out what one needs to do, to change the way you speak.

The way I teach, as you know, those of you who have studied with me, is with mirrors and the use of mirrors really is the ‘quick win’ as my banking students say – I love that phrase!

We all want things quickly: most of us use Amazon, many of us have Amazon Prime and all of us have 24hr shopping to buy things instantly and we want things ‘fast’!

So, if you want to reduce the time learning a new way of speaking that you like, i.e. change the  way you speak, the best way to practice that I know of, is what Alistair touches on in his interview, which is, to observe your model, which means to watch them visually too.

Watch your prey so to speak, do not just listen to them. Listening is great but will only take you so far and you can’t speak like a French man if you use your apparatus (your mouth, lips, jaw, tongue, facial muscles)  like a Nigerian: it just won’t work.

You have to observe how somebody – with a voice you like – moves their mouth: their jaw, their lips and their facial muscles – this makes quick work of changing the way you speak!

Our mouths are our instruments and a trumpet does not sound like a flute because they are different structures, even though they are both are wind instruments.

You have to change the structure of your jaw, movement of the lips and placement of the tongue, to make the speech sound different – hence the mirror must become your best friend 🙂

I do hope you enjoy the plays and the interview (just click the blue links above) and have a great Spring Bank Holiday!