All Things Vocal for Speech and Debate


Members of the Speech and Debate team learned vocal techniques during a virtual meeting with guest speaker Dominican alumna Katie Beyer (’16), a classically trained opera singer who has performed in productions in the US and abroad. She also was active in several productions during her Dominican years. Currently, she is recording her first solo album. Beyer answered questions from memorization to acting. She also covered a variety of topics, from how to build more lung stamina to keeping the voice healthy even when practicing for long hours.

One of the vocal activities she led was sirening which defines the extent of a person’s vocal range. Most people tend to sing in a small comfort zone in the middle of their voices. When they siren, they can hear the full extent of their range.

“We used it to help find appoggio, or a sense of lower lean in the abdominals. This helps the students find a stronger voice, which is important for a lot of reasons,” explained Kristina Plunkett, one of the Speech and Debate coaches. “Supported speaking helps build stamina for giving longer speeches without sounding breathy. It also helps students project their voice to sound clearer even in the back rows, or on camera, and simply makes you sound more confident and more persuasive.”