Voice students in North America seem to get far more training in foreign language diction than they do in English diction. The fact remains, however, that many classical singers in North America have a poor understanding of how to project English, usually their native tongue, in a way that is comprehensible to an audience.
I was lucky to have had excellent training in English diction from the very beginning of my vocal studies. Colleagues, critics and audience members always commented on how easy it was to understand me in whatever language I sang in, and especially so in English. As I transitioned from singer to teacher, I noticed how confused students were when they had to sing in their native language of English. They had few rules to fall back on, and sometimes the rules they did have were not useful.
English Diction and Enunciation for North American Singers attempts to address this problem. While there are other books on the market that offer English diction training, I have noted that these books are mostly written by vocal coaches and linguists. I found some of the advice outdated and much of it overly complex. I have practical experience with over 30 years as a professional singer and now as a voice teacher, that I want to share. After working with many students, it occurred to me that I had something unique to say on the subject.
There are two aspects to this subject: diction - knowing how to pronounce the words while singing, which is not always the same as in speech, and enunciation - knowing how to project the text into a large space without amplification. Both are equally important. It does no good to know how to pronounce the text if your audience cannot comprehend your words.
While this is not a book on vocal technique, it is written with technique in mind because diction and vocal technique are interdependent. You cannot teach one without understanding the other. The vowel is the voice and those parts of speech that interrupt the vowels, the consonants, need to be produced in a way that enhances the voice.
One unique aspect of this book will be when I convert it to an e-book format with clickable links to phonemes, words and phrases. A level of interactivity that will be unique among the available diction books.
Currently I have more than half the book written and the rest is in outline form. I need your help to finish the writing, do the editing and get it published. My hope is to have the writing complete and the editing begun by January 1st, and the entire project complete by spring 2014.
Please help me with this project. Take a look at the rewards and see if something interests you. I will be very grateful to all for their financial support. If you cannot support the project financially, your encouragement will be appreciated! Thank you.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge will be getting the writing done during my six weeks of break before school begins again in January. Once the writing is complete, the rest will be much easier to accomplish. The next challenge will be getting all of the audio files recorded for the e-book version. Fortunately these are small bits of recording that can be done in short breaks in my day and I already have a female voice lined up to do some of the work. I do not anticipate any other significant challenges or risks.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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