The Importance of Voice Lessons as Explained by Katherine Hepburn

In Katherine Hepburn’s first TV interview in 1973, she spoke of the importance of voice lessons.  When Dick Cavett asked her who she studied acting with she spoke about never studying acting at all.  She chose to study voice instead and felt that was the turning point in her acting career that put her on the road to success.

She says she was a big flop in one of her first plays Torchbearers  “and thought….better go and learn to talk, cause I would get so excited that my voice would shoot way up in the top of my head”

She goes on to say that she was petrified every time she performed, would run out of breath and lose her voice,  so she decided to study voice with Francis Robinson Dove, who was the best voice teacher in New York at the time.  It was $10 an hour, which was quite expensive at the time, so she wrote and asked her father, who was a very successful surgeon to back her.  I wonder if we would have ever heard of Katherine Hepburn the great actress at all, if her father had said “no”.

Singing Actor Dan Stevens

“I’ve done bits of singing for jobs, but nothing like this”, says actor Dan Stevens.The following is an article from Entertainment Weekly TV:

How Dan Stevens learned to sing forBeauty and the Beastgoogle image - singing actor dan stevens

How Dan Stevens learned to sing for Beauty and the Beast. British actor Dan Stevens has shown impressive range over the past few years, playing everything from an English lawyer in Downtown Abbey to a Terminator-style American killer in The Guest to whoever-the-hell he is portraying in the new FX superhero show, Legion (we’ll have to get back to you on that). But until he signed on to portray the cursed hero in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, Stevens had never really been called upon to sing.

“I’ve done bits of singing for jobs, but nothing like this,” the actor told EW on the film’s U.K. set in the summer of 2015. “I sang very very badly in an episode of Downton. I did sort-of musicals at school, university. But, no, professionally I haven’t done too much. This is another level, really.”

So, how did Stevens get his vocal cords in fighting shape?

“I’ve been working quite closely with a brilliant woman from the Royal Academy of Music, [singing coach] Ann-Marie Speed, who’s just fantastic,” Stevens said. “Like a lot of the things I’ve been doing over the last few years, [it’s about] acquiring new skills, or challenging myself to do something I’ve never done before — in this case, challenging myself to do several things I’ve never done before. But it’s really good fun. It’s certainly interesting!”

The actor also received assists from Menken himself. “He’s been great fun to work with,” said Stevens. “He’s like a sort of hyperactive mole, or something. He absolutely blasts melodies left, right, and center. Just going to the recording studio with someone like him is an experience. Who knows, I might end up singing again. I quite enjoy it!”

The Octave Jump in Mel Torme’s Christmas Song

The octave jump in Mel Torme’s Christmas Song, which comes up numerous times throughout the song can be sung with ease, providing there is a strong foundation in the chest register.

 

This is a fundamental basic requirement for Bel Canto singing and it is fairly easy once this has been established.  There are no shortcuts to learning Bel Canto technique.  It is an organic process than takes some time to develop but the rewards are tremendous.  If you love to sing, singing with ease is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.  With a solid Bel Canto singing technique, you will be able to sing in whatever style you want for as long as you want.