VASTA & Experiencing Accents

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks in Orlando and NYC for voice and speech-related events. The Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) held its annual conference in Orlando in early August, and I co-presented with KTS Teacher Jeremy Sortore a workshop on Knight-Thompson Speechwork’s approach of using oral or vocal tract posture in learning an accent. We found some arbitrary oral postures through gurning and then used some vowel sounds to find our way into the postures of accents that exist in the world. It was great fun, and I always enjoy teaching with Jeremy.

After the VASTA conference, I traveled to New York city to help facilitate the KTS workshop, Experiencing Accents, with KTS Co-Founder Phil Thompson. Experiencing Accents is a six-day workshop on the skills of accent acquisition (including oral posture!), and we had a wonderful group of participants who dove head-first into an empathetic way of listening to and analyzing different accents. Here is a photo of us gurning on the last day of the workshop:


Experiencing Accents #12

Knight-Thompson Speechwork Co-Founder Phil Thompson and I will be offering the KTS workshop, Experiencing Accents, in NYC August 8th-15th, and registration is open!

Experiencing Accents is a six-day workshop (August 10th & 11th will be days off) in the skills of accent acquisition, including vocal tract posture, prosody, and the use of narrow transcription to describe characteristic sounds. We will cover a couple of sample accents as a group, and each participant will prepare their own accent research to present to the group by the end of the workshop.

Join us! More information is available on my Workshops page and on the Knight-Thompson Speechwork website.


Experiencing Speech

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of co-teaching Experiencing Speech, the introductory Knight-Thompson Speechwork workshop, in NYC with fellow Certified KTS Teacher Eliza Simpson. We had a wonderful group of actors, teachers, coaches, and otherwise interested folks in the 6-day workshop. In a manner that mirrors language acquisition in humans, we covered anatomy, the physical actions of speech, every speech sound observed in every human language, descriptive phonetics, and the skills of adjusting linguistic detail in speech - all the while being experiential, playful, and rigorous in our exploration.

Here is some of the group at the end of our last day:


And here we are gurning:


And here’s a photo of Eliza and me after we took a journey through the empty consonant chart:



On October 22nd at 4pm EDT, I’m co-facilitating a free Knight-Thompson Speechwork webinar with Andrea Caban. It’s a webinar for female-identifying members of the voice, speech, and accent world - a webinar to give us space to talk about our collective experiences operating in a male-dominated profession.

You can find more information under the Workshops tab on this website and on the Knight-Thompson Speechwork website.

Join us!


Free Introduction to Knight-Thompson Speechwork

On August 28th at 3pm, I am hosting a free Introduction to Knight-Thompson Speechwork as part of KTS's monthly webinar series.

If you’re curious about KTS, have had a taste of the work and want more, or want to refresh your relationship to it, please join us. I will outline some fundamental principles (perhaps) of this approach to speech and accent training and will lead participants through some introductory exploration of the physical actions of speech sounds. There will be time for questions and answers.

You can register for FREE here.



Yesterday, I taught in Catherine Fitzmaurice's 6-day workshop in NYC. Each day of this workshop focuses on a different aspect of Fitzmaurice Voicework: destructuring, restructuring, movement, speech, text, and singing. Yesterday was Speech Day. We did some quintessential Knight-Thompson Speechwork play, moving from a physical exploration of the vocal tract to articular isolations to gurning to Omnish. It was a great group!


Experiencing Speech

Before the holiday, I was in NYC for a little more than a week to teach the Knight-Thompson Speechwork workshop, Experiencing Speech, with fellow KTS teacher, Eliza Martin Simpson. Experiencing Speech is the introduction to the KTS approach to teaching speech and accents to actors (or anyone) and covers anatomy, the physical actions of all speech sounds in human language, descriptive phonetics, and the skills of adjusting linguistic detail in speech. We had a wonderful, curious, generous group of participants in this 21st offering of Experiencing Speech. Here we are gurning:




In August, I traveled to Singapore - my first time visiting Asia - to attend the annual Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) conference. I had a wonderful time taking workshops led by voice and storytelling practitioners from Australia, India, Bali, and Mongolia. I co-presented a workshop on linguistic detail in Singlish with fellow Knight Thompson-Speechwork Teacher Jeremy Sortore and native Singaporean and voice coach Petrina Kow. We chose Singlish to explore this core principle of KTS - the principle that advocates teaching speech skills and fluency strategies that might increase or decrease the amount of linguistic detail a speaker uses, rather than teaching a prescriptive pronunciation pattern as a standard. The practices explored in the workshop are part of a larger conversation about the use of the term "formality" in KTS. You can read more of that conversation here, on the KTS blog.

After the VASTA conference, Jeremy Sortore and I co-taught Experiencing Speech: Part One, the introductory Knight-Thompson Speechwork workshop that covers vocal anatomy and the physical actions of all speech sounds in every human language. We had a wonderful group of speech explorers in the workshop. Here we are gurning on our last day together: