To produce a better sound you need to ensure you do certain things.
Vocal Tip # 1: Posture
I am always saying to our pupils. Don’t lean, stand up straight!
My own parents and grandparent always said to me as a child, “STAND UP STRAIGHT don’t SLOUCH!”
For performers the truth is…….it makes you a better singer.
It’s vitally important to align your body parts and prepare them to support your sound, while eliminating tension. Tension not only makes you feel uncomfortable and affects your mood, but can greatly restrict air flow, making singing a chore rather than pure enjoyment.
Exercise: Find a wall and stand with your back to it. Place your head to the wall so that your chin is parallel to the floor. Open your shoulders and roll them back to the wall. Without allowing your spine to touch, slowly move your back towards the wall to straighten. Arms to your sides. Feet shoulder width apart, find your balance. Try to relax. The only tension you create should be in your abdominal muscles that are supporting your singing. It is more effective if you do this in front of a mirror. This can especially help you to visualize your stance after you see and feel proper posture!
Hope you have a great week!
Reflection On Drama From a 17 Year Old
An insightful reflection on drama from the seventeen year old, Sophie Large, who was tragically killed in a car accident many years ago. Jane (our founder of Little Voices) is a trustee of the charity Sophie’s Silver Lining Fund and after her tragic death her parents set up the charity in her honour and support aspiring actors and singers in their Drama School and Music Conservatoire training aged 18+. DAME JUDI DENCH and SIR THOMAS ALLEN are patrons of the charity:
Here is an expert:
It just shows what an enormous impact drama and performing can have on a young person.
“Thoughts on Drama”
I have enjoyed drama since I was 8 years old. For ten years I have wanted to be an actress, stubbornly assuring my teachers as much. In 1995 I got a place in the National Youth Theatre and the introductory course changed my outlook totally. We did a lot of physical drama, and experimented with portraying emotions through physical analogy. Our project was based on the loss of a loved one.
Drama for me, is showing people home truths, and experimenting with ideas that I feel strongly about. I took the Junior Drama Club at school and found directing children, whose minds are so imaginative and uninhibited, immensely fulfilling and exciting. I found it easy to adapt my artistic ideas to their age and as I have always loved working with kids I was very successful. With drama, I have enormous drive. I find it easy to focus myself and try out new ideas.
Drama is an essential part of me. I am lost without it and I want to pioneer my ideas, even if I have no money and have to live in a tent. I would be being untrue to myself if I denied myself the chance to create drama.
Hope you enjoyed this! Her book of poems and writings is available to purchase from the site www.sslf.org.uk
The Pursuit of Happyness Has Given Us Inspiration
Well the film The Pursuit of Happyness with the legendary actor, Will Smith, provided me with the inspiration for today’s email.
“Don’t let anybody tell you…. You can’t do something. Not even me. All right?”
This was one of the lines from the film that the father delivers to his son!
It is also a line that all children should listen to and absorb. So it would be a good talking point tonight around the dinner table for us all with our families. Because you can be whatever you want to be and achieve whatever you want to achieve. Luckily through drama and singing lessons we can inspire children to believe in themselves and create the mindset that they can do whatever they want to do.
By building a child’s confidence and self-belief they are better equipped to go forth in life and reach for their dreams.
I came across a video of Kate Winslet’s inspiring advice for young women… here it is.
What The Music Colleges Are Looking For
Getting into Music College or Drama Conservatoire is a competitive business. Maybe this will shed some insight into what the colleges are looking for.
I was reading what the Head of Singing at the Conservatoire of Scotland, Stephen Robertson, considered to be a complete package of talents ideal for a singer. He said:
Vocal quality in singing but also in speaking voice
Instinctive musicality/developed musicianship
Personality, and ability to project imagination and character without undue ego
Appropriate physicality/presence/lively eyes
Evidence of work ethic/self-initiative/appropriate ambition and intelligence
Lack of bad habits of coordination requiring substantial revision
It is interesting that the speaking voice is as necessary as the singing voice. Little Voices is all about the voice! The voice for acting, speaking, presenting and of course singing!
Little Voices FREE Singing & Drama Workshop
Following the success in neighbouring Putney and East Sheen, Richmond. National performing arts organisation ‘Little Voices’ is celebrating opening up its first centre in the Town of Teddington, Richmond Upon Thames by staging a free singing and drama inspired workshop for local youngsters delivered by west end guest Sarah Harlington. Sarah is best known for playing characters Serena Katz in Fame (UK Tour) whilst starring in Avenue Q and Hairsray Musical Tours. Sarah has a wealth of experience in the theatre and professional industry training at Arts Ed Theatre School.
The free event will be held at Teddington Baptist Church on Thursday 10th November, 4pm (4 – 7 years) and 5pm (8 – 12 years), this will be a rare opportunity for local budding young performers aged 4 – 12 years, who have a passion for musical theatre and who would like for the opportunity to be part of and work with Sarah and the Little Voices team at this ‘one off’ workshop experiencing Little Voices training and learning things they wouldn’t anywhere else.
Ashlea Pearson, the Principle of Little Voices, told us: “We are thrilled that we managed to secure a west end guest to assist on the event and to have her working with us at Little Voices to educate the children of Richmond is amazing! We cannot wait for the event and to watch Sarah put her stamp on the workshop.”
“Participants can expect to take part in an exciting repertoire of activities during the workshops, from doing character work, singing songs and performance techniques.”
Ashlea Pearson, added: “Little Voices has been expanding into South West London for quite a long time now, after the success and high levels of enrolments in Little Voices Putney and Richmond. Teddington will be the sister venue to our centre in East Sheen, Richmond has already proven to be an amazing Borough and we are extremely interested and excited to begin teaching the children of Teddington.”
Classes will be held at Teddington Baptist Church every Thursday from 4.00pm onwards from Thursday 17th November onwards, Little Voices will be offering the chance for pupils to attend a free trial lesson in addition to the free workshop to allow pupils to experience the lessons first hand.
Of course if you love the arts and acting/music is right for you but what if you want a different career? Many pupils do want to pursue a professional acting career but MOST do not!
Can you think of a job that does not require the skills you practice in drama?
Did you know that 70% of Oxbridge undergraduates have experience or qualifications in Drama, Dance or Music?
Why do you think that top universities want students that have the skills that drama gives you the opportunity to develop?
These are clearly reasons that mean that Little Voices is a key activity to commit to and keep year after year! It is why we have so many pupils that go right the through the grades and stay until they are 18 years old with us!
The Importance Of Teaching The Voice
There are many different approaches to teaching the voice but what is really important is HOW the good techniques are explained and taught to each individual pupil. A child may learn better by hearing, watching or making the sound themselves!
Every child learns differently and it may be that they need to hear their teacher make the sound so that they can copy it. All of our Little Voices tutors are performers as well as teachers and this really helps as they can explain what to do with the voice and they can demonstrate what the sound should be like too!
Fundamentally though a child needs to be nurtured and they need to feel safe so that they will comfortably share their voice in public. Working in a small group is a very secure environment for a child to develop their voice. A child becomes comfortable enough to try new things out, push their limits, sing high notes that the didn’t realise that they had and make silly noises that they wouldn’t dream of doing in public!
Please do contact us if you need any advice for your child, we are always here to help!
Top LAMDA Exam Success for Little Voices’ Putney & Wandsworth Pupils
Little Voices South West London performing arts school has helped students in Putney and Wandsworth to achieve outstanding results in this year’s London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) examinations. In May, 150 Little Voices children took exams in grades 1- 8 with over 99% achieving a distinctions and merits, and yet again, Little Voices has maintained its outstanding 100% pass record. The students ranged from aged 4 to 18 years old.
Principal, Ashlea commented: “We are thrilled that our students’ talents have been recognised through these amazing results and are so proud of all of them. It is always rewarding to be part of an organisation that helps students to achieve their ambitions,” she said.
LAMDA examinations are prestigious awards, from which students can gain UCAS points to help with their university applications. As part of the exams, students must perform their poems, scenes and straight acting pieces for the examiner with confidence. One child; Max Moorehouse aged 11 years took a grade 3 solo acting exam and achieved exceptional marks with a very high distinction.
Little Voices also work alongside Dolphin & Noah’s ark school providing their students with after school training, pupils from the school also took part in the recent LAMDA examinations. Mr. Jeff Schmitt, principal of the School said “We have thoroughly enjoyed having Little voices as an integral part of our extra-curricular program. They have brought their unique blend of dynamic teaching, professionalism and expertise to our school which has, in turn, led to our pupils feeling empowered to fully embrace their creative gifts through the prestigious examinations. Thank you for your wholehearted investment in our school.”
For more information about Little Voices in South West London, please contact Ashlea on phone: 07823384992 or Email: SWL@littlevoices.org.uk.
If you consider how many times your child will have to speak in front of others in their lifetime – present a project or read aloud, attend an interview for college or work, for example, the number will be very high, how can your child improve these skills in an enjoyable way?
Whether your child is a complete novice and has never had a singing or drama lesson before or your son/daughter is already attending a weekly stage school and you wish to enhance their current tuition you have found the right place to nurture their ability!
Little VoicesWandsworthprovides specialised singing and drama lessons, giving your child specific individual tuition within a group of only eight children. Our highly qualified tutors are extremely passionate and are determined to work to your child’s individual needs and ability. Our unique lessons build children’s confidence through fun and inspiring after school singing and drama lessons while working specifically towards group showcases and highly respected and accredited communication examinations through ‘The London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art’.
What Age Range Do We Cater For?
Pupils are organised into small groups of pupils according to their friendships within the groups and their ability.
Mini Voices – lessons are 40 minutes and are designed for 4 to 7 year olds.
Where Do The Lessons Take Place?
Swaffield Primary School, St. Ann’s Hill, Wandsworth, SW18 2SA
*Terms and Conditions apply. You MUST apply by filling in and submitting a Free Trial Lesson Form. This allows us to assess the different abilities of children, ages and friendships for the lesson. It in no way enrols your child into regular lessons.
What memories have you created?
As the summer holidays draw to a close what memories have you created this summer?
What experiences has your son/daughter had that has helped them to grow and mature?
It is always lovely in September to welcome our pupils back and see the growth in each individual child. We really look forward to hearing about what they have done; the karaoke songs that they have performed, the shows that they have seen, the fun and friends that they have made. No doubt this year the inspiration they have gained from our Olympians!
Life experiences help characterisations in Musical Theatre. If a child has experienced a situation or an emotion in ‘real life’ their characters come to life. Children need to be able to access the real emotions of their characters and everything this summer will enhance their technical training at Little Voices next year.