Lesson 6: Using Vocal Variety to Convey Meaning, Pt. 1

Lesson 6: Using Vocal Variety to Convey Meaning, Pt. 1


Lesson Objective

Students will be able to use vocal variety to convey meaning by rehearsing a radio drama with a cast.


Essential Question

How might vocal variations affect and/or assist character creation?



Without introduction, show the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JmA2ClUvUY



When the video is over, ask the students to describe what they heard, not what they saw. [Babies having a conversation using inflection, pitch, rate.] Prompt students if needed by asking if they heard the babies using any vocal variations that have been discussed in class. If so, what were some of them?

Point out that, in order to get the meaning of a thought across, humans use vocal variety even before they use words. Meaning is found in the variety of ways we use our voices to color our words. Ask the students where the babies may have learned what a conversation’s vocal variations sound like. [Hearing adults/parents talking.]



Inform the students that for today’s rehearsal they will read their entire scripts again as a cast. This time they will be at least partially familiar with their plays when they read them. Today’s rehearsal goal is to begin to add elements of vocal variety that will create clear meaning in the lines and story of the play.

Invite students to separate into their casts and begin practicing. Circulate the casts, listening to the readings. When appropriate, ask the students questions that will help them make choices about their vocal characterizations. [Examples: How can you use rate changes to clarify what is happening in this scene? How might a pitch change affect the way this character is understood by an audience?] Allow the students to use the remainder of the class to read their plays.



            About 3 – 5 minutes before class ends ask the students to return to their seats. Ask the cast leaders to each report on how far their casts read their scripts—did they read their entire radio dramas? Ask students to describe some of the vocal variations they have chosen for their characters.