Classroom Exercise Distance Learning Teaching Drama

Distance Learning: Vocal and Physical Performance Exercises

Vocal Exercises and Physical Performance Exercises
Written by Kerry Hishon

The exercises listed below can be adapted to distance and online learning opportunities. Students work individually (rather than with partners or in groups).

Group work and discussions can be completed using video conferencing programs (such as Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom).

Written work can be submitted electronically via email or uploading to Google Drive or similar.

Performances can be done live via video conferencing programs, or filmed on a smartphone or digital camera and uploaded to a service such as YouTube or Vimeo (privacy settings can be adjusted to accommodate your school’s internet safety policies).


Vocal Exercises

Vocal exercises can be done together via video conferencing programs (such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts), or filmed on a smartphone and submitted to the teacher.

1. A Simple Breath Control Exercise for Actors & Singers

2. Can You Hear Me Now? A Peer-Led Volume Exercise
Students should focus not only on volume, but also diction and enunciation

3. Create a Vocal Workout for the Articulators

4. The Vowel Tree

5. 5 Tongue-Twister Exercises for Ensemble Building
For a written project, have students write their own tongue twisters. Have them answer the question: “How does using tongue twisters help them to become actors?”

6. 10 Rounds for Your Next Warm Up


Physical Performance Exercises

Students can practice physical exercises from their own homes using a video conferencing program and following along with the teacher’s prompts, while teachers can observe students’ participation on their own screen.

1. Bound, Punch, Float: Physicality Exercise

2. Character Development Game: What’s For Breakfast

3. Create a Commedia Dell’Arte Character
Focus on “The Lazzi of the Sandwich”

4. Creating Your Own Commedia Lazzi
Focus on “The Lazzi of Surprise”

5. Developing Your Character’s Physicality from Head to Toe

6. Exploring Different Voices Using Puppets, Masks, and Props
“Props” is the easiest of the exercises to complete via distance learning. However, students could create puppets at home using socks or paper bags, and masks could also be made at home using paper.

7. High Status / Low Status Character Physicality

8. Stage Vs. Screen: A Comparison of Acting Techniques

9. Thinking of Your Character as an Animal

10. 3 Fitness Tips for Drama Students

11. 5 Tips for Physicalizing a Non-Human Character


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About the author

Kerry Hishon

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. View her blog at www.kerryhishon.com.