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Excerpt from Your American Voice Handbook

YOUR AMERICAN VOICE

Session #6

MID-PROGRAM REVIEW AND RHYTHM PRACTICE

Review

1. Care of the Voice: Hydration, avoid harsh throat clearing

2. Vocal Warmups: sing a, e, i, o, u or may, mee, meye, moh, mou, ha-ha-ha-ha

3. Use of gentle onsets: long e as in beet, long u as in boot, ow, ah, long I as in bite

4. Light contact: p,p,p,p, b,b,b,b, t,t,t,t, d,d,d,d

5. Vocal Cool-Downs: light humming

6. Breathing: thoracic: pull into chest; Diaphragmatic: push down on diaphragm when breathing in

7. Relaxation breathing: “Equal breathing,” abdominal breathing, mouth/nose breathing

8. Avoiding strain: loose tummy and jaw ‘blah blah blah,’ yawn to open throat, “lift” cheek muscles, breath in with gentle “k” sound

Rhythm Problems for Chinese Speakers

      1. Reduced Syllables are less frequent in Chinese.

        fish ’n’ chips

        dollars ’n’ cents

        The capital of England is London.

        My name is Lawrence.

      1. Intonation: pitch changes are used to distinguish words in Chinese, creating a sing-song effect in English. Sentence intonation is uncommon.

        These aren’t the doids you’re looking for.

        Help me, Obi wan Kanobi, you’re my only hope.

        The force is strong with this one.

        Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?

        That’s no moon. It’s a space station.

        May the force be with you.

      1. Juncture: Chinese monosyllabicity leads to a staccato effect in English.

        Actual results may differ materially.

        Fourth quarter earnings results, including forward-looking statements

        Trailing twelve-month operating cash flow increased 31%.

        Year-over-year growth in revenue, excluding the effect of foreign exchange

        Adjusting for the $244 million stock-based compensation expense

RHYTHM: EAR TRAINING AND RECORDING

Sample #6 Harrison Ford as President Marshall in Air Force One

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwQ-TCeM2mU

I came here tonight to be congratulated. But today when I visited the Red Cross camps, overwhelmed by the flood of refugees fleeing from the horror of Kazakhstan, I realized I don’t deserve to be congratulated. None of us do. Let’s speak the truth. And the truth is, we acted too late. Only when our own national security was threatened did we act. Radek’s regime murdered over 200,000 men, women and children and we watched it on TV. We let it happen. People were being slaughtered for over a year and we issued economical sanctions and hid behind a rhetoric of diplomacy. How dare we? The dead remember. Real peace is not just the absence of conflict, it’s the presence of justice. And tonight, I come to you with a pledge to change America’s policy. Never again will I allow our political self-interest to deter us from doing what we know to be morally right. Atrocity and terror are not political weapons and to those who would use them – Your day is over. We will never negotiate. We will no longer tolerate and we will no longer be afraid. It’s your turn to be afraid.”

Sample #7 Jack Nicholson’s speech to his neighbor in As Good As It Gets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7sCxS6N3-4

Never, never, interrupt me, okay? Not if there’s a fire, not even if you hear the sound of a thud from my home and one week later there’s a smell coming from there that can only be a decaying human body and you have to hold a hanky to your face because the stench is so thick that you think you’re going to faint. Even then, don’t come knocking. Or, if it’s election night, and you’re excited and you wanna celebrate because some fudgepacker that you date has been elected the first queer president of the United States and he’s going to have you down to Camp David, and you want someone to share the moment with. Even then, don’t knock. Not on this door. Not for ANY reason. Do you get me, sweetheart?

Sample #8 Robert Downey Jr’s speech about the Jerico in Iron Man

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNAgFhh1ji4

Is it better to be feared, or respected. And I say, is it too much to ask for both? With that in mind, I humbly present the crown jewel of Stark Industries’ freedom line. It’s the first missile system to incorporate our proprietary repulsar technology. They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That’s how Dad did it, that’s how America does it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. Find an excuse to let one of these off the chain, and I personally guarantee, the bad guys won’t even wanna come out of their caves. For your consideration… the Jericho. … I’ll throw one of these in for every purchase of $500 million or more. To peace.”

Note: These three actors have very distinctive rhythms. They mutter, but because of their inflections, they are still understandable.

© 2017 Jennifer K. Crittenden

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