UBC Theses and Dissertations
The utterance of our names : the practice and the person in vocal work Matthews, Alison Jane
The author’s intention in undertaking a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre was to gain a deeper understanding of vocal training for actors and to investigate the methodologies of a number of master voice teachers. Her program of study undertaken within the Department of Theatre and Film had a voice specialization. The learning framework included graduate courses in directing, assisting Gayle Murphy in voice classes and Neil Freeman in Shakespeare text classes in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting program at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and vocal coaching on theatre productions at UBC. The author was a participant and then an associate instructor at Canada’s National Voice Intensive led by David Smukier and Judith Koltai. As well as observing Dale Genge’ s voice class at Langara College’s professional theatre training program, Studio 58, she participated in Richard Armstrong’s International Voice Workshop at the Bauff Centre for the Arts. From this multi-layered learning experience, the author examined a variety of approaches to vocal and physical practices which increased her understanding of the evolution of voice work. She also reviewed her own early vocal development as well as her experience as a voice teacher and coach, and reflected on her pedagogical practice. In this thesis the author describes a greater awareness of the critical role the body plays in vocal work and outlines her discovery of the importance of examining the language used by teachers. She found that asking students to articulate their direct, lived experience aided in student development. As well, she reviewed her previous assumption that teachers choose either a prescriptive teaching model or an exploratory one exclusively, and concluded that there is value in both. Her investigations into the connections between voice and body provide a clearer sense of the breadth of possibility within this work. For the author, this course of study has reinforced the universality of the work: to begin an inquiry into the mysteries of the human voice is to begin to ask ourselves, at the deepest level, who we are.
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