Lesson 7: Using Vocal Variety to Convey Meaning, Pt. 2

Lesson 7: Using Vocal Variety to Convey Meaning, Pt. 2


Lesson Objective

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



Show the following clip of Robin Williams from the film Mrs. Doubtfire: (Perhaps ask the students to close their eyes before playing the clip.)


Ask the students what they heard in the clip. [A variety of characters; different voices.] What were some of the vocal variations Robin Williams used that we have discussed in class? [Pitch, rate, diction, tone, inflection, emphasis.] Ask the students what is the major element in radio drama that tells the story and communicates the characters of the story. [The voice.] Point out that, although Robin Williams was a master at using his voice, the students have also practiced many ways to use their own voices. Express confidence that they can use the same skills they have practiced in class to create and communicate interesting characters in their radio dramas.



Inform the students that for today’s rehearsal they will read their entire scripts again as a cast. Today’s rehearsal goal is to further develop and cement vocal variety that will create distinct characters.

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 emphasis to clarify what is happening in this scene? How might a tone change affect the way this character is understood by an audience?] Allow the students to use the remainder of the class to rehearse their radio dramas.



            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. What are some discoveries they are making about the plots and/or characters in their radio dramas?