Whether you’re an actor preparing for a role, or a non-actor looking to modify your natural accent or dialect for any reason, the underlying work is all the same.
Pronunciation of the English language varies from person to person based on region, environment, where and how one learned English, whether the speaker is multilingual, and more.
The differences we hear that we call accents or dialects come from how a person shapes their words and how they control technical elements such as specific speech sounds, vocal placement, intonation, rhythm, and stress. Even if you don’t know what any of those words mean, you’re using all of them every time you speak!
Learning to use a different accent or dialect is simply a matter of knowing the differences between your current speaking and the desired sound, and practicing the adjustments until you can make them without thinking.
Perhaps you’re a non-native English speaker, or you have a regional American dialect, and you’ve been told it’s affecting your communication skills at work.
Or maybe you’re an actor and need to learn a regional dialect or foreign accent to nail an audition or shine authentically in a role.
Whatever the reason, the tools are the same: isolate the technical differences between the accent or dialect you use in daily life and the one you’d like to access, and practice modifying them until you can fluidly switch whenever you need to.
Speak the way you choose to speak.
Accents and dialects are nothing more than a combination of sound changes, inflections, rhythms, and nuances. Learn to use the ones that serve you best in every situation.
What people say about my Accent Modification and Dialects Coaching…
I was convinced there was not much to be done as to improve a native foreign accent. Kate’s technique has proven me wrong. After just a few lessons I could already notice improvement and after a few months of studying with Kate, my agent took notice of my progress. Her lessons are well structured and time is spent very efficiently. I’m confident to say hiring Kate was one of the best investment I made for my career thus far.
Flavia B.Non-native speaker
Whenever I have an audition that requires a dialect, my first call is to Kate. She is patient and kind and understands how my voice works and how to help me make the required sound changes. I leave the session every time feeling confident and prepared!
Kate helped me a great deal with my Midwest twang and my lazy talk. She made me very aware of some proper speaking techniques. She didn’t make feel like this was a formal classroom, just fun and some hard work thrown in. If you need help, she is the person to go to. Thanks, Kate.
Kate has an unique talent for listening and teaching. I have been trying to improve my accent for years and have progressed immensely and quickly since I started working with Kate. She is generous, has a great upbeat energy and it is always a pleasure to learn from her. I cannot recommend Kate enough.
Alice D.Non-native speaker
Kate’s warmth, positivity, and support not only helped me become proficient with dialects but helped me gain confidence as an actor. Her attention to detail opened doors to new character discoveries, allowing for deeper exploration. Kate is an extremely gifted coach who helped me break through my dialect blocks, allowing me to overcome my obstacles.
A note to speakers with foreign accents or regional American dialects
You’re not getting rid of or “losing” your natural way of speaking. That’s not necessary, and it’s not even necessarily desirable. Your accent or dialect is a part of your identity.
Just like an actor can selectively change their pronunciation patterns in the course of their job and then seamlessly return to their usual way of speaking, you too can learn to consciously use a non-regional American dialect as a tool, when it serves you.
You can read more about this in my piece “Can you lose an accent? Should you?” on my blog, or in this video interview I gave on Accent Modification.