So, do you want to learn to speak English properly? Do you want to improve your diction, your enunciation and articulation? Do you want to reduce your accent or learn how to communicate more confidently, more eloquently, and more convincingly?
If you are looking to do any of these things, it might be that elocution lessons are the thing for you. With training on all parts of your speech – from phonetics to fluency, from speaking in public to putting a stop to your mumbling – elocution lessons can do an awful lot and can help people who didn’t realise that such a possibility existed.
Whether you are a native English speaker hoping to sound top in a job interview or a non-native speaker aiming to nail a British accent, we’re here sharing everything you need to know about elocution lessons in the UK.
We’ll look at everything that elocution lessons can offer – as well as some of the best options for you across the country and online. There are really so many options in the field these days – and many people don’t even realise that they exist.
So, if you want to improve your speaking in any possible way, elocution is the best place to start.
What does Elocution mean?
Elocution, broadly put, is the study of formal speech, with the correct intonation, pronunciation, tone, style, and gestures.
This, at least, is what it is traditionally speaking. Back in the days in which young men and women were encouraged to perform reading aloud. Back when decorum and rhetoric were held as serious and proper virtues. And back when class was the primary arbiter of correct pronunciation.
These days, it is not quite like this anymore. Thankfully, we have moved beyond the rather stuffy approach to elocution – which largely came across as posh and privileged.
Rather, we’re more concerned with the practical elements of the study of speaking rather than the stylistic or the signifying ones. Generally, we want to learn how to speak well for reasons of work, for reasons of travel, or just to fit in. And this is not something that is limited to the wealthy – but is rather a little more democratic.
Elocution can be useful for everyone. However, its name is a little off-putting. What the discipline really involves are things that are much more specific. Let’s take a look at what elocution is.
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What Will I Learn in Elocution Classes?
So, what will you actually be learning if you join an elocution class? Or, rather, why should you consider going to an elocution class in the first place?
There are really many things you could use elocution to study. It really isn’t all about poetry recital anymore.
Standard English Pronunciation.
Learning ‘standard’ English pronunciation – or received pronunciation – is one of the most common reasons for people to take elocution lessons.
This can be for budding actors, who need to soften their natural accent for drama school, or else for people who want to fit in more – for whatever reason.
Standard pronunciation is thought to be more generally understandable – and it can be this that motivates people too.
Accent Reduction, and Dialect and Accent Training.
Accent reduction training is another popular reason for elocution lessons – as is its opposite, learning the ability to speak in different accents or dialects.
Again, there are many reasons why you may want to do this, whilst those applying for drama school are among the largest groups here again.
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Presentation Skills and Public Speaking.
Meanwhile, businesspeople, leaders, and people working on their career prospects often attend elocution classes too – but for understandably different reasons.
Most common here are public speaking training and presentation skills. Here you will be taught how to communicate effectively and engagingly, whilst you will be given some relaxation exercises in cases of nerves too.
Pronunciation and Speaking for Learners of English as a Second Language.
Voice training is common for speakers of English as a foreign language too. For anyone that is considering, or has just undergone, travel to an English-speaking country, it is common that you want to improve your English and gain some speaking practice.
Specific elocution classes for non-native English speakers are widely available.
You can find more on all this in our article What is Elocution?
Find Elocution Lessons Near You across the UK
The UK is full of opportunities for elocution training – in the big cities and across the rural areas. You just need to know where to look.
Luckily enough, it is not hard to find them. And, really, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Take a look at some of the options available in your part of the UK here. However, if you need more information, check out our article The Best Elocution Lessons Near You.
Receive Vocal Training in London.
London is a place in which you can find pretty much anything you want to study. And elocution, of course, is no different.
The range of different types of elocution classes are available in London. You can try William Harte or Ashley Howard, for example, two organisations that offer voice coaching for business, performance, or personal purposes.
Or, there is the Pronunciation Studio, which is English language teaching with a twist: it is all based on phonetics. Head there if you are learning English as a second language.
Improve Your Speaking Skills across England.
But it is not just London that boasts elocution tuition. No, in every major city – and elsewhere – you will find the teachers that you need.
Let’s take just a couple. Phoenix Voice is Manchester’s best option for vocal training. It’s run by a coach with over thirty years’ experience, across a range of different industries.
Meanwhile, in Birmingham, the Birmingham School of Elocution is a good institution to learn in too. They are fully accredited and very professional.
Find a Tutor for Elocution in Scotland.
Scotland too has lots of options, with the majority clustered around the central belt – as you could probably imagine.
Some of the best elocution tutors in Scotland are based in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Perth. They are often willing to travel, for an extra fee, and can help you with everything from a best man’s speech to a drama school audition.
Get a Voice Coach in Wales and Northern Ireland.
In Northern Ireland and Wales, the same applies: you will have no trouble finding a tutor that will do the job you need them to do.
In Cardiff, a good option is Louisa Jane, who lectures and teaches in voice training in institutions across the UK.
In Belfast, try SD Voice Coach. Offering one-to-one or group sessions, their training is appropriate for business or artistic purposes.
Where to Find the Best Elocution Lessons Online
Believe it or not, elocution lessons are these days available online too. And whilst you don’t get the dedicated attention of a teacher who is there to help you make tweaks and adjustments, online elocution courses can be helpful in giving you the grounding, confidence, and support you need to flourish.
As with anything online, there is the risk of having to navigate less-than-trustworthy sites. However, here are the best online elocution courses available.
Try Pardon Me?, the Elocution App.
Quite a novel approach to elocution training is the Pardon Me? app. This allows you to practise your speaking on the go.
Through careful listening, repetition, and self-correction, Pardon Me? allows you to develop your speaking all by yourself, but with authoritative models to follow. There are videos available too, so that you can accurately mimic the correct position of the mouth and tongue to pronounce words correctly.
Maybe not for everyone. However, the elocution company that developed the app, Cambridge Elocution, are also available for lessons online.
Improve Your English Speaking with Private Tuition from Superprof.
One of the best places to find elocution tutors online is through Superprof, the tutoring platform that connects students and tutors from around the world.
Whether you want to learn elocution online over Skype, or if you’d prefer to link up with a tutor in your local area, we have over twenty tutors from across the UK who teach elocution.
Just sign up, find yourself a tutor and get cracking! The majority of tutors offer their first session free – so you know exactly what you are getting.
Find a Different Elocution Coach Online.
There are many different elocution coaches available online, all with different specialisms, focuses, and strengths. Have a look for yourself.
To make it easier, we have put together a list of online elocution tutors in our article, The Best Elocution Lessons Online.