I was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama with a dream of becoming an actress. I had to do a lot of work on my voice and my accent. Thank goodness I discovered Arthur Lessac's work, the "Stanislavski" of voice, speech, singing and movement in the training world!
Through my Lessac training, I achieved an easy, fun and healthy way to project, expand my vocal range and clean up my diction. I also created a way to use Lessac's work to help others to achieve a Standard American Accent.
Now I am a Lessac Practioner and I've been working with Actors and Professionals for over 25 years to improve their speaking voices, American English pronunciation and desired theatrical accents.
In a free 30-minute Zoom consultation, I will evaluate you while we discuss your needs and goals. During this free session, I will give you tools and suggestions for your immediate concerns.
A voice can be a beacon in the darkness, something that lights the way for others.
ACTORS & GROUPS
Some of the actors, arts organizations and groups I work with include...
COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY
Some of the educational institutions I work with include...
I coach executives and professionals in both accent reduction and voice and diction. Some of my clients include:
American English Pronunciation
Who are these classes for?
People who already speak English and want to better their English pronunciation.
People who want to speak with an American accent.
People with heavy regional accents who would like to soften them.
What do we do in class?
We identify the optimal placement of the lips, tongue and teeth.
We explore all of the consonant and vowel sounds of the American Accent.
We will learn how to make connections between words, phrases and sentences in order to develop an American speaking cadence or pattern of speaking.
We explore both optimal pronunciation and "sloppy" or "casual" American pronunciation.
Accents & Dialects
Who are these classes for?
People who would like to learn an accent or dialect from anywhere around the world.
What do we do in class?
Accents and Dialects including (but not limited to):
British (varying areas)
Irish (varying areas)
Middle Eastern (varying areas)
Asian (varying areas)
African (varying areas)
If you do not see your desired accent or dialect in this list, just ask me and I will do all of the research to aid in your success!
I also coach Impersonators or people who want to do impersonations of celebrities and historical figures.
VOICE & DICTION
Who are these classes for?
People who desire a clear, strong and healthy speaking voice such as:
Phone Help Line Operators
What do we do in class?
I address many vocal issues and enhancements.
Heal and correct vocal fry
Expand your speaking range (high and low pitches)
Improve diction or clarity of speech
Achieve healthy volume
Gender Vocal Development
Increase vocal stamina
What they say...
Monica is a passionate advocate for the healthy voice. Her nurturing and inquisitive nature always seeks out the best possible solution that benefits her students and meets their needs both for where they are now vocally and where they hope to be. I trusted her enough to ask her to come assist me with my Lessac West Coast Workshop this year and I will be working with her again this summer at the Lessac Intensive Workshop at DePauw University. An excellent performer, in addition to her years of consistent teaching in multiple teaching markets, Monica is an excellent resource for the actor, speaker, business client, or accent reduction/acquisition client. I am pleased to call Monica my Lessac colleague and dear friend.
Monica Leavitt gave my company very specific tools that immediately helped with pronunciation and diction as well as overall direction that helped for day to day communication.
Her enthusiasm is highly contagious! She inspired us to improve and she built up our confidence to know that we can do it! She works individually with each student instead of simply lecturing in front of the class.
Jeffery Love, Point of You Productions
I love working with Monica. We started first on accent reduction. I come from France with the advantage of growing up learning four languages and practicing with people from all over the world, so my accent was always light, but still there and quite mysterious.
Monica helped me on the standard American for my auditions and on-camera booked roles. What I love about her approach is how it is not only about learning, hearing, but also about feeling, from the tip of your tongue to your whole body.
Since then, we have extended our work to foreign dialects such as British, Middle Eastern… and that’s incredibly fun! I adore working on accents with her. Her method is unique, involving you in understanding the patterns of a specific language that impact their accent, and making it like a super fun game.
She is one of a kind, and as a cherry, she has a vibrant energy that is so contagious.
Monica! I had an amazing experience last week at the WorkShop Theater Company. Glenn Alterman came in as a playwright to hear one of his plays read out loud by the company actors. I was there. And I cold read the new work of two other playwrights. After the Writers’ Meeting was done, I walked up to Glenn holding his book An Actor's Guide - Making It In New York in my hand to tell him how thankful I was that he wrote his book and shared his knowledge. I told him my story, that where I come from (The Netherlands) the industry is so different and that his book has been a tremendous help for me to understand the acting business. At first, he did not understand why the industry would be very different from where I come from: “Aren’t you from the US? Somewhere from the Midwest? – (Because of my Scandinavian look) - I didn’t hear an accent when you were reading on stage!” His words were music to my ears. “In fact”, he said, “when I heard you on stage, I was thinking of asking you to come in and read a part in one of my other plays at another event.” I couldn’t be happier! This is a huge compliment to our work Monica! Thank you for being such a great and inspiring Accent Reduction coach!
This incredible Voice and Diction Coach and wonderful, warm human being has helped me develop a concise, articulate Standard American Accent. With the work of Arthur Lessac and Monica's unique approach and great ear, she works with every student in detail to help you understand how to physically shape the words, vowels and consonants to sound completely American. I think any actor or business professional should work with her. Communication and being understood is so incredibly important to be able to express ourselves! Thanks so much for all your help and guidance, Monica!
Monica is amazing! Taking classes with her for a year completely changed my life - people would constantly pinpoint me as Eastern European and that was a problem when trying to get roles. Now, they either assume I'm American or they spend hours trying to guess where I could be from smile emoticon losing your native accent is a difficult journey, with tons of step backs and slight changes in your personality as well and that's where Monica's kind and loving nature is of utmost importance. She will always hold your hand when the going gets tough!
Monica Blaze Leavitt is a blessing. I had the chance to be introduce to her class through one of her student. I have been looking for a teacher for a long time without being able to feel someone that I feel at ease with. After a couple of classes we came up with a master plan, and already my (French) Accent/Diction is on a better tone. No one as a teacher ever supported my work as Monica did. Monica is more than a teacher. She really create a friendly global environment dedicated to work. 10 stars out of 3. Highly recommended !!!!!!!!
I came to Monica for coaching on a deeper voice as I was to play a man in The Adding Machine. With only a few classes, I had audience members coming up to me saying , "wow, I couldn't believe you were a woman!" With only a few classes we were able to lower my voice and work on my physical presence as a man. My next challenge was to take our work into my singing. We worked on warm ups and on structural vowels. We "sang" structural vowels and I could immediately see how this would contribute to my singing voice. My goal is to be a contestant on "The Voice" and I'm so glad to have Monica as my coach!
Monica is an amazing coach, very supportive and friendly. I went to her with a really bad case of vocal fry. She suggested that it might be acid reflux, which it turned out to be. Together with our work and my doctor, we got the swelling down around my vocal chords and the vocal fry greatly diminished. Thanks Monica!
The best thing about Monica is her unique ability to hear all the "nuances" of my accent. I am Greek who attended a Greek-American high school and then went on to study in Greece, Spain and the UK. I had never met somebody who could capture all the sounds I produced in my American English dialect! The most amazing thing is that Monica can indeed reproduce all of them so you get to understand how you actually sound and make the relevant adjustments smile emoticon
The other thing I love about her is certainly her humor! She never forgets that life is fun and learning should be fun too! Like a game!
Her method is simple, fun, experiential, it requires from you to listen and feel "carefully" rather than learn by heart IPA symbols, that can certainly be useful but they're not sufficient! Thank you Mon xxxxx
— feeling proud.
I’m so happy that I had a chance to take classes on standard American English with Monica. Her approach is unique and it really works! I’ve been taking a few foreign accent reduction classes before in different studios, but they are all were basically focusing on the phonetic transcription of words… The approach Monica takes is exciting, fun and efficient, and it is based on the process of incorporation of the sounds and voices into your body. As long as you are physically connected to the sounds, and are focused on your feelings with every sound and voice you make, it is easier to pronounce the words with a standard American accent without much effort.
I’m very excited to work more on my accent reduction, and the first time after my long journey in pursuit to sound like an American, I feel like I’m doing progress and people around me hear the difference in a way I sound. I highly recommend Monica for private coaching and would continue to take classes till perfection!
Thank you Monica Blaze Leavitt for the excellent coaching! I received a beautiful compliment on my American accent at One on One last week, I’m so happy with my progress!!!
My experience with Monica has been amazing, her teaching method is clear and simple. I find her physical approach one of the most useful tools towards perfecting a specific sound, it gives you the necessary awareness of the structure of your mouth, and focuses on feeling and mastering the movements you need to do to reproduce a sound. That along with the constant drilling and the hearing of it makes a complete technique for a successful accent reduction. I would strongly recommend her private coaching, and will definitely continue with it myself.
Ursula Garcia Tinoco, Actress
I came to Monica because I felt handicapped by my small voice, and was sick of simply yelling through performances. Her techniques are so effective and fun that I leave every session feeling even more empowered. My voice booms, my breath is deep and I feel like I'm ready for anything!
After three months of taking Monica's classes and following her advice, my accent changed dramatically! Monica is professional, patient and sweet. But above all, I loved the way that she always showed me different ways of saying the same sentence and how that would likely affect the way I was going to be heard or perceived. Monica is great!
Ana Ribeiro, Actress
I'm Italian and moved to New York a year ago with a heavy accent. I have been training with Monica for only a few months and I have had incredible improvement in my speech. The improvement was so clear that even people that see me often had to stop me and say, "your English is getting so much better!" Today I can talk on the phone without anyone asking me, "could you repeat that, please?" I didn't think I would be able to accomplish this before meeting Monica. She works hard with you and in a way that it is costomized to your personality and particular issues.
Monica is an amazing accent and voice coach!!! I had the pleasure of working with her for about a year. She helped me with multiple stage and film productions from British to Brooklyn accents, as well as standard American! Monica has this joy of life, professionalism, understanding of the craft of Acting whether for film or for stage that makes her one of the best in this field! I highly recommend her!!
Neyssan Falahi, Actor
I was in Monica's free class on Wednesday. Learned a lot from her, she is a great teacher. She makes it easy to understand, and can really explain how to make the right sounds. Highly recommended. I'm signing up.
Sven Trygve Haabeth, Actor