LEARN AN ACCENT WITH MATTHEW FLOYD MILLER...
What I Do Best
The best part about being an actor is the opportunity to transform into someone else. To slip into the life story of another human being. The acting coach Larry Moss says that an accent is part of a character's 'blood memory'. When we learn the native accent of a character we aren't simply making different sounds with our mouths, we are tapping into that character's personal history and culture. It's fascinating and exciting. Acting with an accent is one of my favorite things to do.
Ever since I was a kid I have had an ear for languages and accents. I started acting with accents when I was in a special high school program for the performing arts. Since then, some thirty years later, I have played numerous roles of varying nationalities and regions on stage and screen, from New York City to Los Angeles and a lot of states in between: British RP, Cockney, Scottish, German, Russian, Czech, Spanish, Israeli, Norwegian, New York, New England (Boston and New Hampshire), Alabama and Arkansas to name a handful.
In addition to learning some of the fundamentals of the International Phonetic Alphabet, consonant and vowel changes, I encourage students to 'develop their ears'. To listen intently to, and play with imitating the sounds of, native speakers. We do the fine tuning in class. I also have students get physical with an accent so it drops into their bodies, starts to seep into their blood and begins to transform them.
Also called 'Accent Reduction' has become the term for helping non-English speakers find the pronunciation, placement, intonation, and rhythm of spoken English and particularly the General American Accent. I ultimately prefer the phrase 'Accent Modification' that has been embraced by other accent and dialect teachers as it doesn't imply minimizing someone's cultural identity and individuality. I offer accent modification coaching with the idea that you are adding a new way of communicating.... American Communication, if you like.