Professor Jacobs received his B.A. in Theater Arts and his M.A. in performance with emphasis on voice and diction and is a professional actor (Actor’s Equity Association). He divides his time between teaching, conducting workshops for interpreters, writing and acting. He is the creator and author of the program Speak Like an American, which is used for accent reduction at the Institute, and co-author of Improving the Interpreter’s Voice, with Cyril Flerov. His classes include vocal exercises to strengthen and improve the voice and increase oxygen intake through diaphragmatic breathing.
Appreciating cultural diversity and fascinated by the variety of dialects around the globe, Jacobs uses different ones as examples, has mastered Standard American English, and encourages students to think of it as just another accent, not the “right” one. He has been teaching public speaking for interpreters and accent reduction for more than 20 years and continues to revise and adjust the program based on student evaluations in order to achieve the best results for each student.
This course is designed to improve your "Platform Skills" in T & I by building you confidence, improving your verbal and non verbal communication and articulation, and eliminating stage fright and self-consciousness. These objectives are achieved by focusing on breath control, vocal projection and inflection, eye contact, scan analysis (or cold reading), body language and control of idiosyncratic behavior, and use of visual aids. Throughout the semester, you will also be assigned self evaluations, as well as peer evaluations providing constructive criticism. We will work on three main types of speeches (informative, persuasive, and entertaining), as well as practice paraphrasing, shadowing, and cold reading.
This course is designed to give the student a program of rapid learning and understanding of the Standard American English dialect. Homework consists of practicing the vocal exercises and the weeks’ text work. Students will be required to speak in class each week portions of the text and asked to practice all of the text on their own.
Areas of Interest
Professor Jacobs’ interests include music (he plays piano), organic gardening and cooking, animals, astronomy, and theater. He has appeared in over 200 productions including musical comedies, dramas as well as most of William Shakespeare’s plays. Happily married for almost 45 years, he feels blessed to have such meaningful work and family.
- MA in Performance, California State University, San Jose
- BA in Theater Arts, Whitman College
Professor Jacobs has been teaching at the Institute since 1996.