Lead the class through some vocal warm-ups. Tongue Twisters, Count 1-10 again from high to low. Just to get their voice warmed up.
STEP 1: Transition – Explain to the students how important warming up the voice and articulators is to speaking for stage. Encourage them to warm up before every rehearsal and performance so that their vocal chords are strong and ready to be worked.
STEP 2: Group Work – Focus the class in on the first characteristic – tone or quality. In order to demonstrate how important vocal tone is, divide the class up into two or three smaller groups and play the board game “Moods”. If that game is unavailable, you can conduct an activity where each student chooses a slip of paper that has an emotion printed on it and a slip of paper that has a random sentence printed on it. Each student takes a turn in front of the rest of the class saying their sentence using only the emotion written on the slip of paper.
STEP 3: Check for Understanding- After you play the game, quiet the class down and explain that you have important information for them that you found out over the weekend. The play that we have been rehearsing we have lost the rights and so now we can’t do it anymore. Basically we have to quit rehearsing now! Wait for reactions and then say, “Who believed me?” What if I said it in a different tone? Would you believe then? Probably not. The tone that you use and your body language tell a lot about a person/character and how you are portrayed.
STEP 4: Instruction – Conduct a discussion with the class about how they can learn to manipulate the tone and quality of their voice to further convey emotion and personality with their character. Talk with the students about people that they know. What kind of tone or quality did those people show? What vocal mannerisms did they convey? How can actors show character types through their voices? What tone does your mom use if you come home late for curfew? What would she say if you got all A’s on your report card?
STEP 5: Check for Understanding- Review all aspects of the voice that we have learned, volume, diction, rate, pitch and tone. Ask specifics about each aspect. Ask for examples of each as well.
STEP 6: Modeling – Gather the class around you as in story-time. Choose any poem or excerpt of reading from a novel (I like using Edgar Allen Poe). Read the excerpt with as much variety in vocal characteristics to hold the interest of the class. After the reading, ask the class what you did that made listening to the excerpt interesting to hear. Explain to the students that they will be performing short poems to demonstrate their own vocal characteristics.
STEP 7: Transition – Before you pass out the poems, tell the students that you are aware that some of them may be really nervous to present a poem to the class and are worried about memorization. You are going to help them memorize and share some techniques with them. Have the students go back to their seats.
STEP 8: Instruction- Conduct a short lecture on Memory and how to memorize for their poems. Go over the requirements once again with the students. (On Power Point)
STEP 9: Indi¬vidual Practice- Pass out copies of the poems. For reference, see the supplements to this lesson. Write down and/or post the guidelines of the Poem Performance assignment. Students should focus on memorization, breath control, and variety of vocal characteristics. Have them choose their poem before the end of class and rewrite their poem onto a separate sheet of paper. Make sure you check off with them that they have chosen their poem and have written it down before they leave class.
STEP 10: Group practice- If there is time have the students begin to memorize their poem. Tell the class that next time we will be working on how to interpret the poems. You need to understand what you are saying and you need to communicate that effectively. We will be going over how to score a script as well.
Students can be assessed by participation in the activities and choosing and writing down their poem.