Students will demonstrate their understanding of vocal placement by creating a voice for their character.
Whiteboard and dry erase marker
Ask for a student volunteer. Have them stand at a profile against the white board and draw an outline of their body – stomach, chest, neck, chin, nose, head, etc. You can exaggerate their features if necessary (but reassure them that’s not what they really look like :-).
Step 1: Ask the students to list the various aspects of the voice that they have been learning about so far: pitch, rate, diction, projection, tone. Ask them if they remember what was discussed about tone and the body. Remind them that the voice and the body is connected and that we will demonstrate this.
Step 2: Ask the students for different areas of the body where we place the body, some different resonators for our voice. Answers: head, nose, mouth, throat, chest, stomach. Give additional instruction for each placement. For each one have the students practice their placement by saying a simple phrase together for each one. Ask the students for suggestions by having them fill in the blank of a sentence. For example: “I really enjoy ________,” “My favorite weekend activity is _______,” “I really wish I could ______,” “My favorite kind of sandwich is ______.” Head: also a falsetto, very high pitch. Nose: speaking nasally, like Steve Urkel. Have students plug their nose and speak the alphabet and find the letters/sounds that use the nasal cavity (“m” and “n”). Mouth: what we will consider the “normal” voice. Throat: have students practice making the “g” and “k” sounds. This is where to throw the voice. Tell them to be careful because using the throat extensively can hurt. Their voice will sound scratchy. Chest: have students place their hands on their chest, just below the collar bone. They can speak with their normal voice and then lower it a little to feel the difference in vibration. Stomach: ask students if they know of a famous person who comes around once a year giving gifts who uses his stomach when he talks (Santa Claus). Tell students to push their voice deep down and talk as low as they can.
Step 3: Ask if any student noticed a trend/pattern associated with placement and any other aspects of the voice they have been learning about. Answer: Pitch, the higher you physically place your voice in your body’s resonators, the higher the pitch and the lower you place your voice the lower the pitch. Have the students practice this by practicing each voice placement, starting at the head and going to the stomach repeating a sentence. Have them go in reverse.
Remind students to consider placement when they create their puppet voice. Have students return puppets to the box.
As students practice, listen to them and check that they are using voice placement properly. Students have the option of using placement in creating their character voice.
Preparation: During this lesson students will be talking a lot. Therefore, at the beginning of the lesson review a classroom management strategy to quiet the students down as they practice different placements. Suggestion: tell the students when you need them to be quiet that you will raise your hand and count down from five with your finger and by the time you get to five, they should be quiet. Have them practice this a couple times with you.