Last month I had the absolute pleasure of sitting in on a puppetry workshop at the annual Maryland Thespian Festival. I learned a lot about moving within a space, point of focus, and the importance of connecting speech to movement. Puppetry, as we all know, is very visual… In order to create the illusion of a puppet’s speech patterns, the puppet’s head might be choreographed to tilt, or even turn slightly in various directions. For instance, to indicate a word with the “LONG O” vowel sound, a puppet’s head might move slightly to the left. I was FASCINATED by this! I loved the idea that a slight tilt or turn was enough to communicate a specific sound! And I immediately connected the dots… Puppetry speech is very physical because SPEECH is very physical! I think it’s very easy to forget this. Our lips, tongues, soft palates, and uvulas are all features of our vocal tracts that we physically use every day in order to speak. And just like any other muscles of the body, they need to be trained, warmed-up, and drilled on a regular basis. The more we understand the physical features of our vocal tracts, the more capable we are of using them for different movements and patterns. And different movements and patterns will help us later on when it comes to learning ACCENTS!