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Episode 19: Why you don’t need to have a good ear to master the American Accent

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by Katherine Beck in The All American Biz
09/03/2021

Episode 19: Why you don’t need to have a good ear to master the American Accent

If you’re an International Actor, do you think you need to have a good ear to master the American accent?

Listen to today’s podcast to learn why you do not need a good ear to master the American Accent and why thinking this way is holding you back.

 


Instead, learn what will really help you master the American accent.

By the time you finish listening, you’ll find out:

  • My own struggles with having a ‘good ear’
  • Why you need to use your other senses to master the American accent

If this episode inspires you then I’d love to hear from you! Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, post it to your Instagram stories and tag me @katherine_beck_ !

Then follow me on Instagram to go ‘behind the scenes’ with me and my own journey as an American accent coach and Voiceover Actor.


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LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Ready to master the ALL AMERICAN ACCENT? Grab my free American accent guide and let’s get to work! Download my free American accent guide.

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SHOW TRANSCRIPT

You’re listening to the All American Actors podcast, Episode 19. In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you why you don’t need a good ear to master the American accent. That’s coming up next. Ready to go behind the scenes and learn what it really takes to build a sustainable career as a working actor in the US film and TV industry? Join me Katherine Beck, your all American accent coach, as I give you the insight and inspiration to take action on your career. Learn my best tips and tricks to performing with an American accent and hear from working actors and other industry professionals to give you a comprehensive overview of this biz we call showbiz. This is the all American Actors Podcast. Before we get started today, I want to put a spotlight on this five star review I received from Loretta Cung, who says: “I absolutely love the podcast. So inspiring! Thank you for keeping me motivated as a working actor. I love working with you.”

Oh, and I really enjoy working with you too Loretta, thank you so much for this beautiful review. And if you want to be featured as my star listener of the week, just go ahead leave us a five star review for this podcast. And I’ll give you a shout out right here on the show. So if you liked this episode, this one right here, go ahead and leave us a review. It also helps us get noticed by other actors as well. So the more reviews and five star ratings we get, the more the podcast gets shown to more actors, and that really helps to get the word out about this podcast and help inspire other actors and learn about the biz. So go ahead and leave us a review. All right, I want to start by sharing a story with you. I went to a high school with a lot of very talented people. And I mean, extremely talented people. I was a theatre girl and we had a very big theatre department at our school and everyone that was an actor at that school seemed to be freakishly talented and so driven, we did about, I don’t know about eight shows per year, both dramatic plays, to comedies, to students scripted shows to musicals to Shakespeare, there were so many opportunities to audition throughout the year. And I was so very thankful for that. Because I was very shy, and I seem to feel alive when I would go on stage, it was like the shyness would go away and I would get wrapped up in this character and I felt a confidence and a warmth being on stage that I never felt before. So for me, it was so wonderful to have a school that was so supportive of the arts of theater. But I remember, you know, sometimes I would audition, if I felt like there was a role for me. But if I didn’t quite feel like there was a role for me, like, maybe it was a stretch, I would not audition I would back away. A, because I felt like there was no sense, but also because I felt like, you know, I didn’t want to face the rejection. And you know, being really shy, it was tough for me, I didn’t want to put myself out there and then get rejected. So there were times where, you know, I face that, that fear or that belief that I should stay away. So at times, that was a real struggle for me growing up in high school. And I remember when I was a senior in high school, we put on West Side Story, and I really wanted to audition for Maria. And I thought, Gosh, I think I’ve got a good chance of getting this role. You know, I think it’s a role that I feel close and connected to. I like to sing but I wasn’t the strongest singer again, I was really shy. So I felt more comfortable singing in the chorus than singing a solo. And of course as Maria well, you have to sing a solo more than once, and so this was a really bold move for me to even consider auditioning for this role. But because I love this role, and I love this musical so much I decided to work out of my comfort zone and audition, but you have to understand that we had some truly incredible singers at my school that have actually gone on to perform in Broadway musicals on Broadway. So when I say that, you know, we had talent at our school and there was an intimidation factor there, it’s because seriously, the level of talent there was insane. So I decided to take some private singing lessons to prepare my audition song so that I felt a little bit more comfortable and confident in that solo singing audition atmosphere. I worked really hard starting to build my confidence in singing on my own with my vocal coach who taught over at Northwestern University. I got a lot of support and encouragement and I was told by my coach that I had a vibrato, and I really did have a nice singing voice if I could remain calm and not let those nerves get the best of me and I knew if that happened, I would be pitchy, I would be shaky, and I really didn’t want that to happen. And while I was not tone deaf, I also wasn’t one of the kids in school who could like sing in harmony like nobody’s business. So I had to work really hard to calm my nerves, so I could stay on pitch. And I remember the audition, we had to go up in front of the class, it was a musical theater class. And we had to do our solo audition, I could feel my body shaking, and I tried to keep control of my breath. But it was really hard. My voice started to quiver a little bit, and I could start to hear some weakness and pitchiness and my voice but I battled on. And though it wasn’t a perfect audition, I finished the song. And that was an accomplishment in itself. And I got a callback, Oh, my gosh, I got a callback. Now, I didn’t get the role. The role ended up going it was double cast, and it ended up going to two really strong singers. And I know that if I was a little bit more confident, and maybe had been working on that a little bit longer than maybe I would have had a better and stronger opportunity of getting that role. But I just wasn’t ready. And that’s okay. I took it as a learning lesson and as a sign that I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t my moment, it wasn’t my time and I was totally fine with that. And I bring this up, because I remember wondering at that time, if I had a good ear for singing, because I was doubting myself and I let the doubt get in the way of my success. And I see that from time to time with my actors who will say, I don’t think I have a good ear for the accent, I can’t hear what I’m doing. I don’t know, if I’m doing it right or wrong, I just don’t have a good ear. And I get it can be a struggle to hear whether or not you’re doing the accent correctly. And that’s why I like to also refer to the other senses when you’re learning the American accent. Because I think it’s so important to feel how you form sounds correctly in another accent. And when you’re able to do that, it becomes so much easier to gauge when you drop out of the accent or when you can sustain the accent authentically. Try it some time. Try checking in and noticing how you form sounds. And how does that feel. Get in tune with the feeling how it feels, instead of relying on hearing how it sounds. And you will start to find yourself being able to better identify the strengths and the weaknesses in your American accent. You have to remember we’ve got more than one sense that we rely on. So you’ve got to use more than one sense more than just your ear to learn the accent. A lot of people start with mimicry to learn the accent, which is always a great start. But you have to remember, you need to also use your sight visually seeing the accent. Touch, how does it feel to form the sounds of the accent, getting in touch with your spatial awareness. And when you do this, when you incorporate more than one of your senses, you’ll create a three dimensional accent instead of a one dimensional accent. And who wants a one dimensional accent when you’re trying to build a character. Characters aren’t one dimensional people, and neither should your American accent. So go the extra mile put in that work and the accent will start to take shape. Just be patient, give it time and use your senses. Now if you want to dive deeper into the American accent and learn my process, about how to perform with an American accent, you’re gonna want to check out my free guide that walks you through my step by step process on how to master the all American accent.

It’s yours and it’s free. Just head over to Katherine beck.com/accent. And let me know if you love this episode. Go ahead, take a screenshot of the show. Share it with your friends, tag me in it on Instagram stories at Katherine_Beck_ you can find me there, send me a DM. Let’s chat. And coming up next week on the show. I am going to be talking with Brian Palermo, who is an incredibly talented improv actor and one of my former teachers at the Groundlings. It’s going to be a great episode with lots of laughs you’re not gonna want to miss that one. And make sure to share this show with all your actor friends. Let them know what’s coming up next week and invite them to tune in with you to learn how to become an all American Actor so you can be the working actor you dream to be. Until then go practice your American accent and I’ll see you back here next time.

GET MY FREE GUIDE

These are the EXACT steps I use to teach Actors (from all over the world) how to bridge the gap between process and performance.

Get my free guide!