Can you read?

Getting re-acquainted with the Bard at Stowe

The title of this month’s blog is a bit incomplete – you could add ‘at my wedding, or christening or perhaps funeral!’  whatever the reason, this request to read a poem or book extract at someone’s special event can fill the non-performer with terror.  I’ve had the pleasure of doing quite a few readings over the years so let me give you a few tips based on my own experiences.

Firstly, unless you have been given a specific piece to do, you need to spend time in choosing something appropriate.  In the old days this would have meant spending lots of time in the library but now you can research themes on the internet. You may even find something new which the author is keen to promote by allowing it to be downloaded.  Generally speaking, keep it short and sweet (1 to 2 minutes).  Really look at the content – is it suitable for all ages, is it easy to understand and do YOU understand it? (if you don’t you won’t be able to put it across well).

Now think about how you are going to perform it.  If it isn’t in a book, place it in one so that you are holding something solid (nerves make paper shake).  Do lots of practise so that you are familiar with the words, then you can look up frequently at your audience.  Hold the book high enough to make this easier.

TAKE YOUR TIME! Being in control makes everything easier so use pauses at ALL punctuation marks to put the brakes on.  Then speak all the words as if they matter.  Think about the emotions and how you would want others to feel.  At a funeral celebration this can be tricky but focus on the performance and you should be able to keep control.  Remember that confidence shows.

Finally, deliver your reading with pride.  You have been asked to contribute something very important to someone’s special day so give it volume and energy and don’t forget to enjoy it!

So what have I been up to in July?
Having returned from 6 weeks in Sri Lanka on 2 July I took a few days to catch up and then it was back to my regular coaching regime.  I had a bit of disappointment in the middle of the month when I missed a call from the BBC Woman’s Hour inviting me to talk about a news story relating to the voice.  Unfortunately I was examining so couldn’t refer to my phone until the end of the session so a RADA voice tutor took my place.  Oh well – Que Sera, Sera and there’s always next time.

I’ve got exciting things coming up so don’t forget to follow me:
Twitter:  @VoiceExpert

My autumn courses are booking well.  Take a look here.   Half days training for only £40!

Enjoy the rest of this rather dismal summer.  I will be directing a production of ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’, a wonderful black comedy, all through the month and it will be just approaching it’s first night when I write my next blog.

In the meantime:

Speak your way to success!


Phone: 0800 083 4082
Mobile: 07779519388
Twitter: @VoiceExpert

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