This is home to the VoiceGuy Podcast, hosted by Eric Armstrong. It's also his professional blog on vocal coaching, voice teaching, dialect, accent, Shakespeare text, etc.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Monday, June 27, 2005

Today, while waiting for my van at the dealer, I did up this week's Imagine IPA Letter. It's based on a recording of Lorraine Hansberry talking about her play A Raisin in the Sun, which I found at the History Channel's Great Speech Archive. I also chose to include the poem by Langston Hughes that inspired the title for the play, A Dream Deferred. There was a lot of variability in her speech, with some lexical sets taking some r-colouring, and some taking none! And then there was some free variation, too, where she was inconsistent of her usage. The happY "-y endings" set of words were sometimes very open, with the KIT vowel, and sometimes quite tense, with almost a FLEECE quality.

Monday, June 20, 2005

VoiceGuy Podcast #3 — June 20, 2005 (2:12)
Today's podcast is a brief clip talking about the fact that I managed to record the podcast itself from my iPod. I used the iPod-Linux installer to put Linux on my iPod. The software (free, of course) comes with a recorder that allows you to hook a microphone up to the iPod and record at very high quality. Now it isn't fantastic, I must say. The levels are all a bit weird, but it is working, which is a good thing. I probably would get better results with my MD recorder. The benefit of this thing is that it is very easy to transfer the file to the computer. But since I have to do editing anyway, perhaps the MD machine makes more sense. It sure is nice not having to lug the iPod AND a recorder around though. I'm getting excited about the possibilities for going to Scotland in August!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

VoiceGuy Podcast #2 — June 16, 2005 (16:48)
In this edition of the VoiceGuy Podcast, I take you through a full-body scan. This is a great imaging exercise to help get you present in your body, through visualization, kinesthetic sensing and breath.

This past Monday I was in Kitchener for the MT Space PerForum on Diversity in the Performing Arts. It was a day long event that took place at Your Kitchener Market. The day started off with a talk by Guillermo Verdecchia, and he was the highlight. He certainly embodies the Canadian experience of diversity and multiculturalism, and passionately pursues these themes in his artistic life as an actor, director and playwright. And wow, he has some great things to say. He highlighted how Canadian Theatre for Adults rarely reflects Canada's multicultural landscape, and that we have had to look to our Theatre for Young Audiences to show us the way. He challenged Canadian theatre to connect with The Others as full-citizens, and not as exotic minorities. He spoke of how he has chosen to "take charge of how I am represented" and that we must "perform and write ourselves into the centre of the drama."

Verdecchia was particularly skilled at quoting from others to support his argument. For example, he quoted Noam Chomsky when he stated that our job as artists is to "tell the truth about matters of human significance to an audience that can do something about them." "Passion without technique is like a letter without a stamp: it doesn't go anywhere." – Meyerhold.

Of particular interest to me was a story about a children's theatre tour he was involved in where an actor played a Jamaican with a strong accent. When visiting a particular school with a large number of children of Jamaican decent, each time the character walked on stage, the audience went wild. It turns out that, at that school, students were forbidden to speak their native dialect, and so this character/actor was doing something taboo, incendiary, even revolutionary. We are reminded that, when we do not see/hear ourselves reflected in the world around us we are denied our identities.

He stressed that "identity is worked out with others: we shape each other, we invent each other." This is something that we must attempt to bring into the classroom and rehearsal hall every day. I take away from the workshop a desire to increase my knowledge of non-mainstream authors to draw on for texts and examples in the classroom, and a hunger to learn more about traditions of story-telling that go beyond traditional theatre of the Western World.


Originally uploaded by voice guy.
I've finally finished my article on Memorization and Practice for the VASTA Voice, which should be coming out in a few weeks. You can see the article, such as it is, in a draft of the newsletter.

Now I can finally get on to finishing my course outlines!

My new look

Originally uploaded by voice guy.
Here's my new "headshot" that Amy, my wife, took for me this morning. It's not a studio shot, like my old headshot, but it isn't 9 years old either! A more realistic view of what I look like these days. And you can (barely) make out my new goatee...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Just posted the most recent Imagine IPA Letter to my site. I really enjoyed this week's text, which comes from the small paper in my wife's home town of Wingham Ontario. Thanks to my wife, Amy, for reading me that brilliant story over the phone when she visited her parents last month. I hope you enjoy it too. And this issue marks the first Letter to feature a quiz, so people can test themselves on their IPA skills, both reading and transcribing.

Friday, June 10, 2005

VoiceGuy Podcast #1 — June 9, 2005 (11:08).

In this installment: a warmup for MORNING VOICE - 11 minutes of getting out of the basement (or is that bass-ment?), waking up the jaw, and tongue, so you're ready to start a vocal work out. This might serve as a begining to a longer warmup.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Yesterday I "finished" or approached finishing my article on Memorization for the second year voice class. I'll be turning it into an article for the VASTA Voice (Newsletter) in the next week, but there's a fair bit of editing down, 'cause it's w a a a y too long at present. And it's written for the wrong audience -- students rather than voice trainers. Still, I think it is a good bit, and I feel pretty pleased with how it turned out.

This morning I managed to create my first Podcast! More on that in the next post. Now there should be a way (once I figure this stuff out a bit more) for you to subscribe to my podcast through your RSS newsreader. I'll let you know once I figure it out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Today I finished off my rendition of A Modern Major-General for my Imagine IPA series. I did it with Comic Life, which seems to be a bit of a pain to do IPA with, but is fun nonetheless. ( I love that word, "nonetheless," the way you get to tie three words into one – it feels like I'm writing in German or something!)

Still haven't managed to do my podcasting thing yet, but have been thinking about it somewhat. But most of my brain cells seem to be focused on the handout I'm working on on Memorization. I've asked the VASTAVOX to help out, too, and I'm get quite a flurry of responses, which is nice. Seems like many out there in voice trainer land worry about this.

Anyhoo, back to the prep for next year. Plan plan plan plan plan...