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 VoicesRichmondprovides 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?
Christ’s School, Queens Road, Richmond Upon Thames, TW10 6HW
*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 are drama schools currently looking for?
It is really interesting to research the different Drama Schools and find out what they are looking for in their auditions. Over the next few weeks we are going to look at some of the top drama schools and see what they say:
RADA’s artistic director Edward Kemp told The Stage newspaper on 26th March talks about TWO THINGS; Versatility and Imagination:
“We’re looking for that peculiar combination of individuality and generosity that makes a great actor. A passionate curiosity about the world and people that fires the desire to explore the totality of the given character and situation coupled with the very personal idiosyncratic imagination which will make that exploration both true and utterly unique.
We are also primarily interested in two things.
One is the individual imagination – we have no set model of what the RADA actor is like in terms of look, sound, race, age, educational background, class and no quotas for anything apart from gender (we take 14 of each). We’re looking at the 28 most interesting actor’s imaginations that come through our doors each year – we quite often see people who are brilliantly imaginative but don’t to us seem to need to express that through acting – as opposed to writing, performance art, directing.
The other is a degree of versatility – we occasionally encounter people who can do one thing very truthfully, but that’s it. They may potentially have very successful careers doing that one thing (especially on TV) but they interest us less than those who have a greater breadth of transformative ability.”
What kind of learner is your child?
It is really important that a teacher understands your child and how they learn best.
There are three types of Learning Style:
Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Most people learn best through a combination of the three types of learning styles, but everybody is different.
Auditory Learners: Hear
Auditory learners would rather listen to things being explained than read about them.
Visual Learners: See
Visual learners learn best by looking at graphics, watching a demonstration, or reading.
Kinesthetic Learners: Touch
Kinesthetic learners process information best through a “hands-on” experience. Actually doing an activity can be the easiest way for them to learn.
Types of Learning Styles: What Everybody Should Know
Although most people use a combination of the three learning styles, they usually have a clear preference for one. Knowing and understanding the types of learning styles is important for each pupil and their teacher.
Drama and singing lessons can really help all types of learners because of the nature of the subjects, it is all about ‘doing’, ‘listening’ and ‘watching’! At Little Voices we really pride ourselves on getting to know your child so that we can plan lessons that suit them and how they learn. We are acutely aware as Principals and teachers of the different ways in which a young person learns.
TOP TIP – It is advantageous for your child to understand their type of learning style early on so that homework and learning may become easier and less stressful in the future. Although it may be tempting to stick with what works, it’s important to practice and train the other types of learning styles early on so that, as they0 grow, the child can utilize the other types just as effectively.
How Drama and singing training helps your child at school with numeracy, literacy, reading, biology and physics!
There are so many benefits to drama and singing lessons that help your child with school.
Singing is all about music and music is a very mathematical subject. The timing, the note values, musical notation, the speed, the length of phrases are just some of the important components of teaching singing. This in turn aids maths, the two complement each other in a really disguised way. In the context of your child’s lessons at Little Voices they are acquiring so much knowledge in a fun way that will inherently help their schooling.
The lyrics of songs aid your child’s literacy and reading. A child has to understand each word that they are singing so that they can emotional portray the meaning of the song in performance. The script reading and understanding in drama lessons is again so important to the overall educational development of a child in school.
The way that the voice works is very complex and from a very young age we are talking in your child’s lessons about the biology of the human voice and how our bodies support the voice. This is fantastic for children as they often get into Year 9 at school and all the ‘intercostal diaphragmatic breathing’ topic that is covered in biology they already know. In physics they already know how a sound is produced and how it travels!
So who would have thought it that drama and singing each week would help topics such as biology and physics!
Who your child hangs around with really matters.
The people who surround us are SO important. We all have colleagues, business partners, friends and family that surround us all of the time. You will know yourself the friends that support you , the ones that you can trust with everything right to the other extreme with the ones that are negative, the ones that you avoid arranging a catch up with etc etc…..
It is proven that ‘who we hang around with really does matter’ and plays a crucial part in how successful or unsuccessful we are in general with different projects.
When Little Voices was started in 2007 the key elements of putting our very small groups together were friendship, age and ability. These three elements remain very strong for us when we hear from you for the very first time. We know that when a child is in the right group they will be happy. When a child is happy their confidence will sore and they will excel.
So again yet further evidence ‘who you hang around with matters’!
The children will learn from each other and from their tutor – the end goal of the examination or the performance will be outstanding!
Which teacher influenced you the most?
We all have a teacher or teachers that stick out in our memory as being influential in our lives. Equally there is always a teacher that we would rather forget too! Can you remember their names? I am sure that you can.
A teacher’s role is so important in a child’s education. It can sometimes have such a dramatic effect as to affect how successful we are in a particular subject. It is important that the surroundings are conducive to learning and that enjoyment is a hugely influential factor. I remember my own school music lessons and drama lessons at school – they were usually far from orderly, most often complete chaos with most students not wanting to be there.
Drama and singing training, as an additional hobby, plays such an important role in a child’s life. Teachers out of school for these subjects know their pupils really well and as a result have a positive impact on all areas of a child’s life.
Children also meet new friends away from the school environment, work with like-minded pupils in a fun yet structured way that enables them to learn and develop at an appropriate pace.
We know at Little Voices that the teacher, the group and environment that your child works in is crucial. It is why we have a unique framework. Our tutors have to be able to inspire, draw out and encourage the development of your child’s skills. I believe that they can only have a dramatic affect if they really know each individual pupil and they can work with them in a small group. Respect and trust also have a pivotal role to play.
Is reality TV destroying or building confidence for your child?
Is it a positive or negative influence for a child? Is it a realistic goal and/or a worthwhile one? Is it about the love of performing and the gift they have been given OR becoming ‘famous’? These are really interesting questions to consider if your child dreams of auditioning for a programme of this nature or has aspirations to perform professionally in this arena. They are certainly the questions that we occasionally find discussed in Little Voices lessons.
Since the emergence of reality TV shows in the 1990’s there has been a whole surge of children wanting to become the next big star. For me and my team, as teachers, it is important to lay the foundations of good dramatic and vocal technique as well as give advice on the best route to take if a child is determined to follow a path in the industry. The industry is not reality TV!! But sadly it is so influential these days that this is what some children believe to be the case.
You see in the eyes of a child they are filled with confidence from watching Reality TVs shows. In their minds Cheryl Cole managed to do it and the likes of One Direction and therefore children are really very influenced by these ‘performers’. They see no reason NOT to seek the same. But what about the hundreds of others that have appeared – often won – these shows from Pop Idol, to Fame Academy, to Popstars the Rivals, Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor and more recently The Voice. What have they gone on to do after the cameras stopped rolling. How are those individuals feeling now?
The reality is sadly not fame for all or a life of performing. The only winners are the producers and the likes of Simon Cowell’s bank account. The individuals that have lived a whirlwind few months are often left crushed and lacking in confidence to pursue their passion.
This makes me very sad and as myself and my team of tutors work incredibly hard every week in the academic term time to build children’s confidence and nurture talent. I am very realistic when a child approaches me with dreams of auditioning for programmes (businesses) such as X Factor.
I always say that reality TV is incredibly entertaining for the British public and makes great family viewing on a weekend but that is where it should stop for most children, on the whole.
The Co Founder of Little Voices taught Diana Vickers drama at school and we obviously followed her journey on X Factor with great interest. This was a positive experience on the whole and therefore there is a flip side to every debate. No right or wrong answer but ultimately it is down to the individual child. We get to know your child really well in our lessons and will always give honest feedback and advice with your child’s best interests at heart!
The best way to eat an elephant is a little bit at a time…
Well we use this term all the time in different aspects of our lives but it is really relevant when learning the lines of a script.
Breaking the lines up, learning one each week or one each day and consistently practising 4/5 times a week in very short bursts is the way to achieve examination excellence.
It is also helpful when learning lines from memory to use other family members and each of you take a character, so that your child can get used to the flow of their lines and when they need to deliver them as well as the accuracy of the delivery of the lines.
AND REMEMBER – to be a fabulous actor – IMPROVISATION is a really useful tool. The lines do not have to be EXACT it can be so much more effective if the sense is delivered naturally.
We hope this is helpful to you over the holidays when all that practising is taking place or even during a Theatre Week when you child arrives home on Day 1 with lots of lines to learn in 3 days!!
Putting your child’s Little Voices training to the test…
We are often approached by parents and asked how they can find even more performance opportunities for their child. They are loving Little Voices lessons each week and they want more of the same.
My advice is often full of these suggestions:
Investigate the Amateur Dramatic Societies through your local theatre and perhaps get involved in the auditions
If this is a serious consideration for a future career look at Independent Schools such as Sylvia Young, Italia Conti, LIPA that amalgamate Academic study with Vocational Studies in Drama, Dance and Singing
Attend Little Voices Theatre Weeks – if you have not experienced at least one your child and you as a parent are missing out on one of the most special parts of Little Voices in the holidays
Find a Child’s Casting Agent
Purchase The Stage newspaper and see what regional OPEN auditions are happening and apply for your child as their parent
These points are just, in brief. I can discuss them in much more detail with you and the positives and negatives of each one for your individual child. It is important to us that we give you the very best advice for your child and help you to supplement their lessons and love of Drama/Singing to it’s full potential.
How to learn about Musical Theatre in three easy steps:
Read widely, the whole play, musical libretto, book from which it is based, use the library and dip into reference books such as Blumenfeld’s Dictionary of Musical Theatre.
See lots of Musical Theatre both live and staged as well as on youtube, film and TV. One of the best ways is to see a show staged and it doesn’t have to be the big West End stuff have a look at the smaller scale productions, local Amateur Dramatics productions etc.
Get to know the music – look at the whole musical and listen to it all. There are also often several different recordings that will highlight different things and artists will interpret and deliver the music in various ways too.