Some Tips for Speech Choir
To be able to present a good speech choir, keep in mind the following:
- Teach the students pronunciation. Simply use a dictionary that has a pronunciation guide to it. Refer to its pronunciation key which you can find on its introductory pages to determine how a word is pronounced. If you are still unsure of its pronounciation, you can listen to it at http://www.howjsay.com.
- Teach them stress and intonation. You can refer to your English Expressways II book pages 64-65. Things such as rising intonation and falling intonation are crucial in speech choir. Which word to be stressed depends also on your intended meaning. Furthermore you can listen to a lecture by Peter Roach on this topic:
- A good number for speech choir is 40 members. But you can have 20-25 participants if so desired.
- The contest piece is often a poem.
- Divide your participants into three voices: light, medium and dark. Light voices are often chosen from the first year females. Medium are also females with deep voices (preferably from the fourth year). Dark are of course only males with very deep voices. There should also be a solo for each voice: solo light, solo medium and solo dark.
- Arrange the contest piece before giving it to your participants. This means that you have already assigned parts for each voice, for the solo and for the unison (meaning all three voices). Keep in mind though that even if all three voices speak together but their voices should be clearly distinct from each other. This is called blending.
- Memorize the piece. If you are the conductor, the more you should memorize it. Before giving the contest piece to your participants, see to it that you have double-checked its pronunciation in the dictionary or the web.
- Drill into your participants to feel the piece. Their facial expression should reflect what they are speaking. Facial expressions can’t be taught. It should come from within. It should not look artificial but should come from their hearts.
- Deliver with the intent to be understood; hence, for conventional speech choir, actions and props are unnecessary. Simply standing with hands on their sides is enough. What counts are the voice and the facial expression. Remember the audience should understand what you are talking about.
- The conductor may stand at the back of the judges. He may conduct in any manner he wants as long as he is able to guide his participants for an effective speech choir presentation.
- Speech choir participants should only look at the conductor the whole time of their presentation. They should not fidget or make unnecessary moves throughout their delivery. Nevertheless they should not be standing tensed in front of the crowd but relaxed. Below is a picture of Consolacion National High School – Day Class participants. They were the champion in the Northeast Area Level Speech Choir Competition this year. Look how they stand: