Popenoe Method

The Art of Pronunciation

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Recommendations / Testimonials

When I was posted to New York as the Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations, I had confidence in my English ability to a certain extent. However, my most challenging work as a diplomat was participating in UN (especially Security Council) discussions, where I had to hold my own with many British, American and other diplomats who were native English speakers. At this point, I lost a bit of my confidence.

That’s when I met Joshua Popenoe and began to take his English pronunciation classes on a regular basis. In several ways I was able to acquire a far more natural pronunciation and accent. Mr. Popenoe lived in Japan for a long time, and is well aware of the difficulties that Japanese face with English pronunciation. He has developed a method that creatively seeks to address these issues. If you want your English to not just be understood but would like to use it to naturally convince an opponent or to achieve a personal or professional goal, I highly recommend taking Mr. Popenoe’s class.

-Shinichi Kitaoka (professor of political science at Tokyo University Graduate School and a former Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations)
I’m originally from Thailand and have been living in the U.S. for several years. I used to have problems communicating clearly and a lack of confidence when speaking English, especially at my workplace. I have taken quite a few classes from many places in the past prior to meeting with Josh, but none of them really worked. Fortunately, my coworker recommended that I talk to Josh.

Over the course of several months, Josh has helped me a great deal in improving my speech. His method is well-organized and easy to understand. His basic step-by-step system starting from vowels, consonants, rhythm and connection, really helps me understand the structure of English pronunciation and be able to use it in my everyday conversation. Moreover, Josh is an excellent teacher who has a lot of experience with non-native English speakers. He is able to tell me exactly where my problems are and we worked together to correct them.

Improving your English pronunciation is an important long term commitment to any non-native English speakers and it’s important to have a teacher who is very patient and very supportive like Josh.
-Bina Kijmedee (graphic designer)
Joshua’s revolutionary correction method will be surprisingly effective in improving your pronunciation.
-Yuuhi Masui (fashion-related businessman)
Joshua’s lessons focus not only on pronunciation, but on what muscles around the mouth to use and what mouth shapes make which sounds. He takes the time to teach these things in a careful way. Because Joshua speaks Japanese and understands well Japanese speakers’ weak points regarding pronunciation, he teaches passionately as if he were in our shoes. I am very grateful for this, and I don’t think you can find this kind of teacher anywhere else!
-Sayuri Goto (jazz pianist)
Previously I had a strong complex regarding my English, and while singing during live performances and recordings I would be more anxious about my pronunciation than the music itself. Then I met Joshua Popenoe and began his pronunciation correction class, which astounded me! He precisely pointed out basic pronunciation mistakes that I hadn’t been able to hear, as well as taught me simple hints like how to use the muscles in my mouth to achieve the correct pronunciation. Everyday I was surprised to hear myself saying, “Wow, with something this simple my pronunciation changed this much!” However, it wasn’t just my pronunciation but my phrasing that changed as well.

With such amazing benefits it would be wasteful not to share Joshua, so I would like everyone to experience a session with him. If I do say so myself, I believe that I have advanced greatly in the last six months. I still have a ways to go, but in order to truly master jazz, English pronunciation is an unavoidable, huge challenge. Of course this is something skilled English speakers know, but I really recommend practicing out loud. It’s both effective and fun! Singing will definitely become more enjoyable than before.

I used to learn English from a prominent teacher here in New York, but unfortunately I was not able to see improvement before my eyes like I do with Joshua. He lived in Japan for 16 years, and being fluent in Japanese he is well aware of its pronunciation patterns. We don’t want to lose our uniqueness as Japanese, but we also want people to hear correct, natural-sounding English when we sing.
-Mari Koga (jazz vocalist
)
The thing that most surprised me when taking lessons with Mr. Popenoe was the amount of English vowel types. Each session I came to realize how vague the English language instruction I had received in Japan was, and just how “Japanese” my pronunciation was. There were many words I thought I had command of but in actuality did not, and I was surprised at the depth of English. The class I took was comprised of four Japanese singers and actors. Mr. Popenoe persistently taught each individual until his/her pronunciation was fixed, and being able to hear the rapid changes in my classmates’ pronunciations was training for my ears. More than anything else I was inspired by my classmates’ enthusiasm, and the joy from mastering pronunciations as well as surprises provided by each class filled me with a feeling of wanting to work hard. Needless to say the English in my songs and conversations increasingly changed, and daily singing and talking has become fun. I was truly happy to be able to take Mr. Popenoe’s class here in New York, a city overflowing with singers and actors from all over the world.
-Tomoko Miki
During the four years that I lived in America, even I who struggled with pronunciation became able to speak English smoothly thanks to Joshua’s kind guidance. He has not only mastered both Japanese and English, but the fact that his teaching is based on a firm understanding of Japanese education methods and values makes it incredibly effective.
-Yumi Arata (Tokyo)
While understanding the distinguishing characteristics of Japanese people, Joshua’s classes concretely teach how to produce sound in an extremely easy to understand way. I was able to enjoy myself while learning English pronunciation.
-Yuko Oguro (housewife)
Joshua’s lessons are full of discovery. Some pronunciations I thought I was doing correctly were actually mistakes. I was shocked at first, but in learning each pronunciation one by one I regained my confidence. Here in America, if you speak in a soft voice even if your pronunciation is correct you will not be understood. Thanks to Joshua, I became able to increase my volume and my world expanded. For those who want to learn correct English pronunciation, I definitely recommend his class.
-Miho Iguchi
I am a jazz vocalist who divides my time between Tokyo and New York. For a long time I had extreme difficulty unifying my English pronunciation and jazz vocals when singing, and then five years ago a vocalist friend recommended Josh’s class. In the first lesson when I looked at my mouth in the mirror, I was surprised when I compared it to Josh’s! I realized for the first time that mine was moving unnaturally. Josh has affection for each and every word and is deeply attached to English, Japanese and music. His respectful teaching causes me to see the light every time. For not only vocalists but all those who want to communicate with feeling in English, I highly recommend Josh’s class!
-Yuko Kimura
I just wanted to say thank you for your help with my English pronunciation. My talk was yesterday and the audience was nearly 100 people. My editor was there and said that I sounded very good yesterday. One of my co-corkers, who knows me well, said that the talk was clear and it was apparent that I was working hard to pronounce right. The audience was familiar with the terminology, so it was helpful for me. But, the session last Saturday with you and also all the lessons which we had from you have made a clear difference in my pronunciation. It might be a very small difference for other people who listen to me, but for me it is a big step.
Thanks again for all your help and for your interesting and wonderful lessons.
No regular English teacher could have pointed out to me what is missing to make my English sound like real American-English. Josh made me realize just a minor change can result in tremendous improvement. Thank you!!
-Naoko Honda
In Joshua’s classroom which was filled with music and laughter, I was able to enjoy studying pronunciation. Because he has lived in Japan and has had experience learning Japanese, he really understands the pronunciations and specific points Japanese have trouble with and provides lessons that accommodate these needs.
-Sachiko Mikoshiba (housewife)