Rate and Pitch


Students will demonstrate their ability to control their voice by performing a nursery rhyme.


Materials Needed

The game MAD GAB
Nursery Rhyme Ideas
The Gettysburg Address
Clips from Singin in the Rain and Bateman.


Lesson Directions


Anticipatory Set/Hook

Play the GAME MAD GAB. (This can be found in any game store) Divide the class into at least 3 teams. This game is basically reading a jumble of sounds on a card and then having your team guess what you are saying. As you can see, voice is important!!




Transition- Review what we learned last time, that volume is one of the voice qualities. Diction goes hand in hand with all the qualities of the voice.


Modeling- Play two movie clips for the students to watch. The first one is from Singin in the Rain. Play a scene in which Leena is talking a lot. She has a very distinct high voice. Play a few different scenes that emphasize her voice. Next movie, show clips from Batman, scenes where he really lowers his voice to disguise his normal voice. Tell the students to pay attention to Leena’s and Batman’s voice and what they do with it. What makes it unique and different? Was their voice high or was it low? What kinds of things were they doing with their voice?


Transition- Tell the students that one way they can manipulate their voice is pitch, which is how high or low you speak. Another way we can manipulate our voice is through rate. Rate is how slow or how fast you talk and using pauses. Write those two terms on the board and define them again for the students.


Modeling- Ask for two girl volunteers or two girls you know will give you what you are looking for. Tell the girls that they will pretend that they have not seen each other in a really long time and that you get to greet each other now. Show us that reaction. If all goes as planned the girls will greet each other and automatically their voices will increase in pitch and they will talk really fast. After the students have done this ask the class what just happened. What did you hear in the girl’s voices? What emotions were displayed? Fast and high pitch talking often communicates excitement and happiness. Now ask for two male volunteers or once again predetermined men. Have them do the same thing and watch for their reactions to each other.


A steadily increasing speed creates feeling of tension and excitement while slow deliberate delivery of important passages impresses the hearer with their significance. Light, comic, happy and lyric passages are usually spoken rapidly. Calm, serene, reverent, tragic and awesome passages are delivered more slowly.


Group Practice- Tell the class that they will count from 1 to 10. They will practice changing the pitch of their voice. One will be in their normal voice and as they count up their voice will get higher and higher. Then they will start at 10 in their high voice and as they count down their voice will get lower and lower. Ask students who thinks they have the highest voice? The lowest voice? Have them demonstrate that for you. Have a few volunteers. This way they are able to count as a group first and feel safe and then they can try it out on their own.


Modeling- Write this sentence on the board. “The queen my Lord is dead.” Ask the students to write down the sentence as well. They will practice changing the rate of their voice. How many places can you put a pause? Can you say it faster or slower? What does it do to the meaning of the sentence? Have students read aloud the sentence with a pause in a different spot and ask the students if they hear the difference in the meaning when a pause is put somewhere else.


Group practice- Hand out copies of the Gettysburg address. You will go through part of this together as a class. Have all the students read the first paragraph out loud together in a monotone voice with no emotion. Now ask the class to vary the speech to make it more interesting. How can they vary the pitch of their voice? How can they vary the rate of their voice? Call on students to read sentences or paragraphs making it more powerful. Coach them through sections if they need it, helping them understand how changing the pitch or rate of their voice can communicate more effectively. What power and meaning can they convey?


Individual Practice- Tell the students that they will get to practice the skills learned today by practicing on nursery rhymes. Hand out nursery rhymes to each student. Have them read through it a few times and experiment with different pitches and rate. Are they happy sad, confused, caring, king, frustrated, bored, agitated, Shakespearean? Give them a few examples of emotions ideas to help them think of different pitches and rates that would match.


Performance- Have each student come up and read through their nursery rhyme. After each one talk about what the student did to convey meaning? Did they use pauses effectively? Did they use a different rate and pitch other than their own?



Students will be assessed by their participation in activities and their nursery rhymes.