Day 4: Building Character Through Voice

Lesson Title:  Building Character Through Voice


Daily Objective:

Students will learn how using different vocal techniques can help build and enhance unique characters, and how projecting and using good diction will allow for stronger vocal choices – they will apply this new knowledge by participating in audio-only-fairy-tale performances.


Materials Needed:

Character Voices Powerpoint, a list of tongue twisters for reference


Teaching Presentation:



Write on the board for students to number 1-10 skipping a line between each number.
Tell them, with each photo on the powerpoint, they are to write down what they would have to do to change their voice to portray that character. Give some examples: lower their pitch, make their voices more gravelly, short of breath, louder, etc. Encourage them to try to use the vocabulary we have been using in class so far.


The pictures on the powerpoint are as follows: Examples of Photos

1. Old man/Grandpa
2. Young girl/Toddler
3. Angry mom
4. Cheerleader CHEERING
5. Sick older woman
6. Bored teenaged boy
7. Flight attendant
8. Teacher (you can decide the situation)
9. Radio show host
10. YOUR NEIGHBOR!!! (no picture, obviously)


Once we have been through this once, go through it again and ask people what they wrote down. Ask them for specific things they would need to do to change their voice to create these different characters. Give an example of how you would like them to phrase their answers. (IF they are brave they can tell me what they wrote down in a voice like that character!)



Tell students that we are going to switch gears for a minute and come back to character voices in just a little bit. Have students come get in a circle on the floor.



Ask if anyone knows what projecting means. “What do you have to do with your body and with your breathing in order to project?”
Practice breathing from the diaphragm.
Relate this kind of breathing to swimming or playing an instrument.
Have students breathe out with an “S” sound – go for as long as you can. These are the types of breaths we need to be taking when we project.
Have everyone take a deep breath and repeat “How Now Brown Cow” using projection.
* Caution students to breathe with their diaphragms and not their chest or their throat


Tell students to still think about projection, but now they need to focus on their words. “What am I using when I make sure to hit all of my consonants and enunciate every single word?” (<— Do this with an annoying amount of diction.) The answer you are looking for is diction.
Tell students that people from different places have problems with using diction for cer-tain sounds.
• How do you say mountain?
• Or kitten?
Give students a minute to try these words and think of any other words that they might have trouble with.
“So we want to make sure we are hitting all of our consonants. We also need to make the proper vowel sounds so that everyone knows what we are saying.”


Lead students through the following tongue twisters, asking them to focus on their dic-tion and projection:
1. The lawyer’s awful daughter ought to be taught to draw.
2. The brown cow found a round town in the south country.
3. She shuddered and shook at the sight of sheered sheep.
4. Are our oars oak?
5. Around the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran.


*Allow students a few seconds to go through these as individuals, playing with it, feeling the consonants and vowels in their mouths before doing it together as a class.



For this next activity, you will need to keep in mind everything from the last few classes, and the couple of things we have talked about today.



Tell students that (when you say go) they are to move into groups of five or six. They are going to have ten minutes to choose a fairytale that they are going to act out using ONLY their voices. They will have only two minutes to perform these fairytales, so they should keep it short and sweet.
Here are the rules:
* Everyone in your group must have at least one speaking part. Some people might need to portray two – so you will need to make sure that they are unique to the characters.
* You are not allowed to have any sort of narrator – the only thing you can use to tell the story is your voices.
* You will be hidden and facing away from your audience, so be sure that you project and use clear diction so that they can understand you.
* You won’t tell anyone which fairytale you have chosen – the class will try to guess after the performance (so make sure the characters you create with your voices are very clear).
* I will cut you off if you go over two minutes. Shorter is better guys!


Ask if anyone needs clarification or has any questions.



“Go!” Walk around and make sure that people are on task and that they are doing what they are supposed to. Make sure they know what they are supposed to do.



Create a wall in your classroom. Use whatever you can. Tell students that the groups will be sitting behind this
Have groups volunteer to go up, but make sure it is clear that everyone will be going. Time them, and be true to your word. After each one, see if the class knows what fair-ytale they were performing.



Students will be assessed on completing their journal entry, their participation in class discussion about character voices, participation in projection and diction activities and in their audio-only-fairy-tale practice and performances.