Clowning around the Studio

Teaching voice is always such an interesting process here at Kelowna Voice Lab. You just never know who is going to book a lesson or for what reason. Over the course of the last year, I have helped a nurse prepare for her Master's Thesis presentation, a member of the school board prepare her speech for a graduating class and an entrepreneur who had to give a big presentation at an event. Last week however, topped the list for interesting and unusual students when Sugar The Clown came to see me searching to find her authentic clown voice.

Our conversation began with the history of how the character of Sugar evolved. We spoke about how she got started in clowning, how the costume came to be and how her make up was chosen. Next, we delved into the character of Sugar and who she was on the inside. How old was she? What did she think about people? How does she laugh? We also explored the meaning of her name and the images it conjured in our minds and in the minds of the children .

Throughout the lesson, a voice began to emerge for Sugar - one that she was comfortable with and that felt organic to her. The voice that surfaced was one that felt easy and natural and a lot less strained than the one she had been using. Here was a voice she could use daily that would not fatigue and would serve her well. I gave her some vocal exercises to do at home and she left with the feeling that she was definitely on the right track. The entire experience was a collaborative, positive one where she participated in the creation of the voice she chose.

So now, I can say in all sincerity that we do a fair amount of "clowning around" at our voice studio. Clowning in the professional sense of course... :)