The Power of Diction™ began with Jo Estill’s “Diction at a Distance.” In our brand new online course, you’ll discover what a speaker or performer must do to make themselves understood when there is no amplification, but also how to dial back some of these techniques when using a microphone.

Jo Estill cited the following ‘philosophical positions’ regarding diction in Operatic musical performance:

WORDS are more important than MUSIC.    (Camerata  c. 1590)

-The VOICE is more important than DICTION.   

-Communication and true artistry demand both.

Jo Estill had many high standards and one of them was that diction should be intelligible on first hearing – to anyone in the audience who spoke the language in which she was singing. She was in favor of Philosophy #3. She had her reasons: she came from a world of stage performance with large orchestras and no amplification; however, she also sang from the American Songbook in Radio Broadcasts.  She adapted her effort, but intelligibility was always foremost in her performance practice. 

 The Power or Diction is a logical extension of the Estill Voice Model and shares its foundation in scientific principles and research. Just as Estill Voice Training® promotes choice in control of the anatomy & physiology, acoustics, and perception of the voice, the Power of Diction will take a parallel approach to increase awareness and control of the anatomy & physiology, acoustics and perception of speech.  Once you understand the CRAFT of diction, you can modify it to suit your communicative and artistic needs. This course has no artistic bias.  

Sections in The Power of Diction include:

  • The Path to Power
  • The Science Behind Speech
  • A Model for Diction
  • Anatomy of:
    • Tongue
    • Lips
    • Velum
    • Jaw
    • True Vocal Folds
  • Explore Phonemes:
    • Consonants
    • Vowels
  • Examine Speech:
    • Auditory Perception

The Power of Diction is rooted in Speech Science: Anatomy, Acoustics, and Perception. As speakers, we have many options from the Power of Diction to make our message more easily understood. Listeners have limited options: being more attentive will not fill in the blanks of speech sounds that are missing. Remember, real life doesn’t come with sub-titles!

You can take the beta version of Estill Voice Training: The Power of Diction™ now on the Estill Voice Online Academy. Start learning here!