The Art and Science of Voice and Diction
Updated: Apr 25, 2021
Baring physical defect or tortured teenage angst, I sincerely believe that each and everyone of us has the potential to produce pleasant well modulated speaking voices. But let’s be clear, there can be a world of difference between potential and result. For the average civilian a few vocal quirks are to be expected and hardly anything to be overly concerned with. In some cases a quirk can evolve into Kardashianesque glottal pyrotechnics. But for most, the voice that we have is more than sufficient. There are individuals that require the services of Speech Pathologist and Medical Professionals; and thank goodness those resources are available.
However, once you step on to the stage; or up to the microphone; you owe it to yourself and your audience to achieve your full potential. I’ve been very fortunate. All of my drama teachers understood the fundamentals. Good breath support. Proper enunciation and articulation. But in college I hit the jackpot. Eldon Hallum (Claremore Junior College) and Fred B. Graves (University of Tulsa) both taught me the art and science of Voice and Diction. Such valuable lessons! Diaphragmatic breathing; the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet); diphthongs; plosives; front, back, and middle vowels; and on and on. Also, my Wife and favorite stage director, is a life long voice and diction practitioner. She taught it for twenty five years and I regularly benefit from her experience, expertise, and insights.
Your instrument. Your technique. Your voice. Those of us that choose this path must practice our craft so we are free to use these tools and skills in creating authentic, believable characters. And that starts with the fundamentals. Who shaped your journey? What methods work best for you? What discoveries have you made along the way?