Taking Voice Classes at TKS Changed Me as a Human, Actor, and Speaker

Contributed with gratitude by Third Year Student Emma Welch


TKS Director of Voice & Speech Matthew Dudley gives welcoming remarks at the 2019 Voice IV Sharing. Students left to right: Jonathan Cherr, Jack Kaplan, Ben Fievet, Mona Balgobin, Emma Welch (I’m hiding back there..) and George Mayer.


On the first day of Voice I (two long years ago, back when our hearts were frozen, our body “circles” were tight as f***, and our voices were minuscule), our very first assignment was to write “A Poem to Our Voice.”


The poems would be based on abstract drawings we’d made of our voice as we understood it at that point in time, and words that our classmates used to describe that image. Having just graduated from a very liberal arts college, I felt comfortable in the abstract and poetic nature of the task. And I proceeded to chunk out this piece of indulgent hogwash:


You are a Portuguese Man of War

Down there.

A contained water island is sad.

You could be radiating,

A vortex,

All the way down

It’s exciting?




Is like lava

All the way down


You’re only using this much,


I stumbled upon this poem in my old notebooks the other day. Although, the wording and unnecessary poetic devices might sound like indulgent hogwash to me now, I was struck by this rediscovery. This piece of TK nostalgia symbolized the starting point of a maiden voyage that has sent me “down there,” deep inside of myself, to unlock a voice that is more powerful and more revealing than anything that has come out of me before. Yes, that is exciting, Emma, young Padawan.


That’s me doing my thing at the Voice IV Sharing while my RIVETED classmates look on…


Now, my readers, the staff at TK has asked me to write a blog piece “about the Voice IV Sharing.” I could walk you through what happened over the last two years in Voices I, II, III, IV and the culminating Voice IV Sharing to explain to you how my voice grew from a contained water island to this vibrational vortex of which I am very proud. But that would take away all of the mystery! And I can’t speak to everyone’s experience in Voice: past, present, or future. But what I can reveal, and guarantee you (and I know all of my classmates will attest) is:


Matthew Dudley is the Yoda you have always needed and taking Voice with him will change you as a human and actor and speaker for ETERNITY.


So I’ve decided to bookmark my experience in Voice at the Terry Knickerbocker Studio with another piece of indulgent hogwash: an Ode to our master in command, Matthew Dudley, using the words of the Voice IV students, and our memories and experiences over the last two years.


Matthew Dudley works with a Voice Student during class.


“Nothing is out of your reach”

said the charismatic genius

At all times, both 

Wild and 


Our own Captain James T Kirk,

You made a universe in four walls:

Murky and mindful

Challenging yet exhilarating

Eye-opening while terrifying.


Vibrational magician,

You turned our jitters into pride

Our fear into accomplishment

Converted these greenhorns to acolytes.


We followed you, daring vagabond,

Into uncharted waters

Where a single word could reveal 

deep personal experience,

Where panicked baboons 

could bellow Shakespearean sonnets masterfully,

Where muddy depths could reveal the utmost clarity.


We were Stradivarius’ violins 

With all the potential of a masterpiece

Already contained inside.


Reflected through pools of vibration,

You saw us

So we could learn to see ourselves.

A simple gift,

A true blue sigh of relief.



We are wailing

We are radiating

We are grateful.



Want to be more like Emma?
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