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The next phase. WORLD DOMINATION! Jokes... Just voice stuff.

VASTA? What the (Charles) Dickens is that Nic?

Well reader, it's an association wot I'm a part of in preparation for embarking on the next stage of my career journey. Drumroll please...

It stands for the Voice and Speech Trainers AssociationI'm embarking on an MA in Voice Studies to train as a Voice Coach. It's all very exciting. I managed to claw my way onto the aforementioned course at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and I start in October. It's ever so exciting. Oh, I've said that already.

So I recently attended the VASTA annual conference which, with a wonderful stroke of luck, was being held at RCSSD where I'll be doing the course. Holy. Mackerel. Anyone who was anyone in voice training was there, in one building. And me. I mean, if there'd been a natural disaster and we'd all perished, the voice world would pretty much have been doomed and no one would have spoken properly or freed their breath again. Lucky it didn't. And we all had a jolly good time. And canapés.

Cecily hammering home the 'keep hydrated' message...

Cecily hammering home the 'keep hydrated' message...

Having not really 'learned' anything, apart from a preference for cucumber to lime in gin, since my last academic degree nearly 7 years ago it was a pretty heavy week brain wise. Workshops, lectures, panels, performances, 'dialogues' (which is just a poncy word for conversation if you as me...) It was ALL happening. I got 3 free pens, 2 notebooks and a tote bag. As well as some excellent sandwiches (brie and grape, who knew?) All the senses were stimulated. Plus I got to witness to voice matriarch that is Cicely Berry interrupt an emotional speech in her honour to inform us that her friend they were currently talking about "only had one eye". An hilarious, if slightly out of place interjection. But then she could have interrupted belching the alphabet and no one would have minded. Legend that she is. An incredible woman.

My mind is now whirring with Lessac, Linklater, Fitzmorris, Alexander, The Crystals, the Polyvagal Theory, vocal anatomy, the International Phonetic Alphabet and I'm raring to get started on the course... Hardly any room left at all for thoughts of what I'll spend my student discount on first.

Who needs one MA when you can have two eh? Wish me luck.

By Nicola Redman

[Soon to be 'Nicola Redman BA MA MA'...lolz]