The online education and therapy programme for people who stammer

SSEP

Module 2: Orchestral Speech

 

 

Learning to use Orchestral Speech

While Reading Aloud

Because Orchestral Speech works best when we have already formulated the phrase we want to say, the easiest way to get to grips with using it is to start to employ it while reading aloud.

Remember, the essential point of Orchestral Speech is that you need to give a higher priority to maintaining the forward flow of your speech than to the accuracy of the words and sounds. To get you into the swing of this, we have created some PowerPoint files that have a forward-moving bold font to prompt you to keep going. You can download these and play them on your computer. Your task, when reading the text in these files out loud, is to make sure you keep up with the word that currently has a bold font, as it moves across the page. For each of these reading passages, we have provided a demonstration video, and then there are slow, medium, and fast versions that you can try out. Choose whatever speech rate you can cope with, based upon your reading ability and experience. The faster you go, the more errors you will make. So, the faster versions give you plenty of opportunity to practice ignoring your errors!

Depending on how much you stammer, you may find it best to practice these exercises alone to begin with. But once you get the hang of them, try reading them to someone else. Remember, youíre teaching yourself to keep going, no matter what... just like a player in an orchestra.

 

Practical exercise 1

In the first exercise the bold font moves forward at a rate of one or two words per beat (depending on the length of each word). This exercise is the most restrictive of the three and results in speech that sounds a bit artificial. But it is a good way of getting you started off and getting you into the habit of continuing to move forward.

Here are the important points to remember while you read this first text...

 The key thing is to read the words that are highlighted while they are highlighted.

 Donít allow yourself to fall behind the highlighted word(s)

 Donít allow yourself to rush ahead of the highlighted word(s).

 Donít worry if some words come out wrong, or if you have to miss a word or two to keep up.

 If you find yourself blocking on a word, just abandon it and carry on with the next word (or with whichever word is currently highlighted by the bold font.

†††††††††† text1demo † †††††††††† text1slow ††† †††††††††† text1medium†††††††† †††††††††† text1fast

Practical exercise 2

In the second exercise the text is broken down into meaningful chunks (in red font), and you can take as long as you like to familiarize yourself with each chunk and decide on a suitable stress and intonation pattern before starting to say it out loud. Read the current chunk (the words in red font) silently, inside your head, and decide how it should sound (i.e. the most appropriate stress and intonation). Then, when you have done that, press ENTER (or the down-arrow) on your keyboard, the red font will disappear and the bold font will move, a few words at a time, through the phrase. Keep up with the bold highlighted words as you speak.

For this exercise, although you can take as long as you like to make sure you are familiar with the chunk you are about to say, donít delay pressing ENTER because you anticipate that you might stutter on a chunk. Just launch into it regardless. If you do find yourself blocking on a word, just abandon it and carry on with the next word (or skip as many words as necessary in order to keep up with the moving bold font. Try to stick with the stress and intonation pattern that you have decided on while doing the initial silent reading. This second exercise which allows you to formulate the stress and intonation in advance involves a similar process to the one we will later use to get started off in conversational speech.

†††††††††† text2demo † †††††††††† text2slow ††† †††††††††† text2medium†††††††† †††††††††† text2fast

Remember...

 Donít allow yourself to fall behind.

 Donít allow yourself to rush ahead.

 Donít worry if some words come out wrong, or if you have to miss a word or two to keep up.

 If you find yourself blocking on a word, just abandon it and carry on with the next word (or with whichever word is currently highlighted by the bold font.

 

Practical exercise 3

This third exercise is only suitable for relatively accomplished readers as it puts you under a lot of time-pressure. So if you are slow at reading, then there is no need to try and master it (just continue on to Practical exercise 4 instead).

In Practical exercise 3, only the more important words are highlighted by the moving bold font. This allows you more flexibility, so that you can make the phrases sound more natural. The most important thing is to† keep up with the moving bold font. Fit in the words in between as well as possible. If you are able, you can also try to plan appropriate stress and intonation patterns.† But donít worry if you find it too difficult to incorporate appropriate stress and intonation. After all, many non-stammerers also have difficulty formulating appropriate stress and intonation patterns while reading. Remember...

 Donít allow yourself to fall behind.

 Donít allow yourself to rush ahead.

 Donít worry if some words come out wrong, or if you have to miss a word or two to keep up.

 If you find yourself blocking on a word, just abandon it and carry on with the next word (or with whichever word is currently highlighted by the bold font.

Choose whatever speech rate that you can cope with, based upon your reading ability.†

†††††††††† text3demo†† †††††††††† text3slow ††† †††††††††† text3medium ††††††† †††††††††† text3fast

 

Practical exercise 4

Finally, once you have finished working through these three moving-bold reading exercises, now try reading out of a book, while imagining a bold highlight moving across the page in the same way as in the previous three exercises.

To start with, imagine the bold moving forward in a rigid way (from one word to the next) without worrying about the stress and intonation (as you just practiced in Exercise 1).

Then, once you have got accustomed to continuing to move forward regardless of errors and blocks, try adopting a similar strategy to the one taught in Exercise 2óAllowing yourself as much time as you need, between clauses, to silently read ahead and plan exactly how the stress and intonation of next chunk should sound.

Then, finally, if you have strong reading skills, try an equivalent approach to Exercise 3óplanning the stress and intonation as you go along.

 

For all of the above exercises, remember...

 give priority to continuing to maintain the planned forward flow,

 donít worry about your mistakes,

 immediately abandon sounds or words you get stuck on,

 donít ever use force to push words out.

Experiment with a variety of reading speeds. You may find that, surprisingly, in some ways the faster speeds are easier, insofar as when reading fast there is less opportunity for you to worry about how you sound. Conversely, slower speeds present more opportunity for your attention to stray back towards focusing on accuracyówhich is the habit we are trying to break.

Practice by yourself first, and then try reading to some of your friends. Itís good to video yourself as well, if you can. So you can play it back and see how you did.

 

Once you have got the hang of ignoring errors and abandoning words you get stuck on while reading, the next step is to learn to do the same in some conversational settings.

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