To Skype or not to Skype

About seeing us in 2- vs. 3-D

American accent online trainingAre accent reduction classes online as good as in-person training?

We get asked this question all the time.

THE DOWNSIDE: You won’t get to hang out in our new office with the nice view. You’ll have to print out your materials yourself.

But we may get to meet your cat…

Seriously, accent training over Skype (or FaceTime, etc) is a great way to get quality instruction, and it’s convenient. You can use your phone if you’re not near a computer. You can meet with us while in your office, or your hotel room, or your kitchen.  After work, on weekends, and from anywhere. We meet with clients from cities all over the U.S. and from countries including Austria, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, and Hong Kong.

MY I.T. PITCH:
Most videoconferencing platforms have very decent audio and video, letting you see and hear clearly what you need to shape the American English accent sounds you’re working on. Yes, once in a while we may encounter a brief e-glitch, usually resolved with a hang-up and call-back. (All in all less painful than being stuck in the NYC subway system trying to get to our office!)  Just make sure you have a reasonably speedy Internet connection.

WHAT CLASSES ARE LIKE:
Here’s a description of a typical private Skype class. You get your pdf’s emailed to you before the session and you print them out. At the appointed hour, your instructor (who is a licensed speech-language pathologist) calls you.  The 45-minute session includes time for review of previous assignments, introduction of new material, rehearsal of presentations and scripts you might be working on, review of your “Survival Words” (your personal list important but impossible-to-pronounce words), setting up the next homework assignment, and answering any questions you have. After the class you’ll get an email with an mp3 of any new material you’ve started to work on.

SINGLE SESSIONS FOR PRESENTATIONS AND AUDITIONS:
Let’s say you have a presentation coming up and want someone to review it with you, to check pronunciation, pacing, content. And for the actors…you’re preparing for a commercial audition and want us to hear your sides. You don’t even have to enroll in a full program. Just schedule one or two single sessions and email us the material.

SEMI-PRIVATE INSTRUCTION:
Finally, if you have a friend, family member, or colleague with a similar accent, you can team up and take semi-private classes with us on Skype. Semi-private instruction is great because you get the added benefit of taking turns observing what your speech partner is working out, which in turn helps you with whatever you’re trying to master. Active and passive learning at once. You’ll read and practice in conversation. Practicing the target sounds and words in lively improvised conversations is always a high point. Here’s a mock discussion that happened recently:

accent reduction online

“Oh, did you hear that Oscar got stopped by the cops on the golf course?”
“I did not hear that about Oscar! Is that possible??”
“Yes, they say he was drinking a lot of vodka.”
“Stop. That’s so not like him.”
“Yes, and his colleague John was commenting online about it.”
“You mean John the doctor?”
“Yeah, the oncologist. Shocking.”

It may not win a Pulitzer, but it truly was a good time.

So hopefully you’ll consider taking some online American accent classes with us. Questions? Ready to book a consultation? Contact us here.