It might not be the first voice training course in Singapore, but it certainly is the first voice training course to be advertised as a seiyuu course in Singapore. 77 Star Pte Ltd recently started a seiyuu course which comprises of a 3-month period of numerous one-hour sessions. The course is conducted entirely in English.
According to their site: “The Animation Master Voice Actor Course is not just for aspiring talents in the animation industry, this is also [a] grooming programme for narrators, radio DJs and other related vocations. This programme adopts the ‘step up’ method of instruction that enables students to progress at their own pace. This makes it possible for students to acquire all the necessary skills for becoming a voice actor.”
A bunch of people actually signed up after their advertising at a local cosplay convention and zer0 contacted me to see if I was interested in going down to take a look at what was going on. To be honest, I was really skeptical. Saturdays are great for stoning at home for a good day’s rest and waking up at 12pm wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. However, zer0 suggested for some dim sum after the interview so I obliged. He would, as usual, pay for the dim sum secretly and make me accept his treat by default. It’s probably some student welfare thing he practises.
In any case, we arrived there with windbell, the photographer, acting like seasoned journalists and waited for the course to commence. It wasn’t hard to identify which room the students were in, judging from the weeaboo sentences flying about. Sorry to burst that bubble, but the course is in English, guys. Keep it real.
The teacher, Keith, soon arrived, introduced himself as a singing teacher and gave his students some topics to talk about – A funeral speech, a holiday package sales pitch, a boxing match commentary and an election speech. He later shifted his focus to ‘Diction’ and touched on the various errors in English pronunciation caused by the influence of American English. As the lesson progressed towards the half-hour mark, the students started getting rowdier and noisier. This brought back really bad memories of the time I did relief teaching whereby I ended up yelling at my pupils before they actually sat down quietly in fear. Keith, however, wasn’t exactly affected, to which I wonder how much of his points really got across to the students. It didn’t help that some dick was constantly cracking dirty jokes in a class of mostly girls. Yes, Dick, I am quite sure you “CAME” on your witty comments. Interesting to note that this particular dick actually sounded a lot like Tsubaki from ADD, too bad he isn’t half as mature.
I noted that some students clearly had a certain level of voice training before this course and were happily flouting their skills before everyone; you know, like the kind of students in your class who refuses to shut his gap and eventually incurs the hate from everyone. When ignored, these people start talking to themselves in their weird tones. The session was clearly overtaken by two skilled but weird guys who really weirded me out.
After the class, I had a short interview with Keith and he seems to already know what I was intending to ask.
Keith, awesome singing teacher
He quickly asked if my first question was going to be about the relation between singing and voice acting. I nodded.
He answered, “I am a singing teacher and I train people to have good voices. In this case, I wouldn’t call myself a singing teacher, but more of a voice trainer. What I aim to do is to build firm voice foundations by giving the students various exercises. For example, I gave them some breathing exercises the week before.”
When asked about how he manages his enthusiastic students, he said, “I believe that an informal class setting actually promotes the learning experience. Students should speak up more in class, as you should have noticed just now that one of the students could constantly change his voice tone (LianYL: Yeah, I noticed that dude. He irritated me to no end). That is actually good practice. Through various assessments, I also verify the English levels of my students and correct their grammar problems. By the time this Level 1 course is done, I expect them to be as good as the newscasters you see on TV.”
“What is the age range of your students?”, I asked.
“They are very young, 16-26. Voices are good to train even in the twenties.”
What I really wanted to verify was the reason for the extreme display of weirdness.
“What do you think of the constant interruptions?”
“It is a good sign. Students should grasp every chance to practise their voice acting skills.”
That ended my short interview with Keith, who later revealed to me that he’s the singing teacher of some popular local Chinese singer Kevin Tan. I don’t exactly pay attention to the local scene so I was stunned for a while.
I conclude that the course is rather worth the time as I myself learnt quite a bit of stuff from that short 1-hour lesson. Keith is a great teacher and adopts a very open attitude toward his students, not to mention that he is very professional as well. Whether or not you will benefit from his lessons will highly depend on yourself and who you classmates are. However, if you’re looking for a Japanese seiyuu course, you might want to look elsewhere as this class is conducted fully in English.