Those of you who are regular students of mine will know that I’ve been twisting this one in lessons for years! It’s a brilliant and silly warm up to ensure that there is a clear distinction between /f/ or /v/ and /θ/ or /ð/ (in case you don’t know, these symbols represent the ‘th’ sounds in ‘father’ and ‘Darth’, respectively).
To do this well, it is really important to make sure the sounds are different – I regularly hear the twist pronounced: ‘Your farver, Darf Fader’. This pronunciation is perfectly understood in everyday speech, but when we’re on stage, it’s important not to muddle them up or miss them out, as we want to get our message across to our audience. This is true of singing, public speaking and of acting, when dialectual nuances don’t call for an alternative.
As with all tongue twists, some people will find this really easy whilst others will find it rather tough!
It’s important to make sure your /f/ and /v/ sounds are made by creating friction between your top teeth and bottom lip. In comparison, the /θ/ and /ð/ (th) sounds are made by putting your tongue right inbetween your front teeth (if you struggle with this, stick your tongue out and blow air: that’s the one!)
Start by repeating “Darth Vader” and getting this good and accurate. When you can repeat this time and again, then it is time to add the “Your father” part as well. If you’re having difficulty, then go back to basics and just try saying ‘fff’ and ‘th’ in turn until they’re really distinct.
Keep practicing and you’ll manage to perfect it in no time.
When you can say it, see if you can sing it up and down a scale as well 🎶
Love Kate 😝