Students will be able to use rate and pitch to alter/disguise their voices by playing the game, “Master, Master, Who Am I”
Ask students to define projection and diction. Ask for volunteers to demonstrate examples. Call on a few students if needed to encourage demonstrations. Allow as many students as desire to give an example. Side coach those who made need a little encouragement.
Ask the students what they observe in this clip. [Auctioneer talks very fast.] Ask students to raise their hands if they know the definition of rate [the speed—fast and slow—at which a person talks]. Ask for a couple of students to share their definitions. (These can be written on the board.)
Show the following video clip of Lina Lamont from Singin’ in the Rain:
Ask the students what they observe in this clip. [Actress speaks very high and a little slow.] Ask students to raise their hands if they know the definition of pitch. [How high or low a sound is produced]. Ask for a couple of students to share their definitions. (These can be written on the board.)
Ask the students how rate and pitch might be used to create a character. Discuss possibilities, and prompt with some examples if necessary. [How might rate and pitch be used to create the character of an elderly man? A young child? An anxious or frightened person? Someone in authority? Use other examples, and accept examples suggested by students.] During the discussion ask students to demonstrate their own and/or their classmates’ suggested examples. Allow as many students as desire to give demonstrations of characters that are created vocally through rate and pitch.
Play the game Master, Master Who Am I?
Invite the students to stand or sit in a circle. Select one student to be Master; blindfold that student and lead them to the center of the circle. Tell the Master he/she is to listen carefully and try to identify the owner of the mysterious voice. Choose another student to be the Voice. He/she says the words “Master, master, who am I?” in a voice that is disguised by altering pitch, rate and/or diction. The blindfolded Master guesses who is speaking. When the student guesses correctly, the student who was the Voice becomes the Master. Play the game for a pre-determined time limit, allowing about five minutes to end the class with a follow-up discussion.
[Variation: All the students close their eyes. One student is selected to be Voice and disguises his/her voice to say “Master, master, who am I?” Students raise their hands and offer guesses until the correct guess is made. The student who guesses correctly is the new Voice. This variation allows more students to participate as listeners who try to determine the disguised voice and the vocal variations that are used as the disguise.]
When the game is over ask the students how they disguised their voices and/or what vocal variations they heard used for disguises. What did they do specifically to alter the sound of their voices? Were there some vocal variations that were more effective than others for “disguising” voices? If so, what were some of those? How effective was combining variations?
Let the students know that during the following class they will learn about inflection, tone and emphasis. This may take one – three days to cover. Also let them know they will be receiving their radio drama scripts and casting assignments the following day. They will begin rehearsing when they receive their scripts.