Master Class with Kira
Join me for Master Class on Thursday 9/28/23 via Zoom!
$170 (class fee) + approx. $40 (materials) / Jump to Reviews
Master Class focuses solely on pronunciation, teaching you to sound authentically Russian when you speak. The first day of the Fall 2023 session (five evening classes – see below for dates & times) is Thursday, 9/28/2023.
I will explain the rules of Russian phonetics in English and work with students individually and as a group to help you reset your default mouth position and apply the rules of phonetics. Teachers can register for free and observe in the background.
I sat in as an observer in your fall course. It was absolutely amazing. I found so many practical ways to help my students with pronunciation. Your resources are amazing and your pedagogical approach is spectacular. I plan to pass your SEELANGS message on to all my students and encourage them to participate. You offer an opportunity that exists nowhere else. Many thanks to you for your service to the community!
Teacher Observer, Master Class, Email
Hands down the best tool for Russian pronunciation. I was planning on being an observer, but signing up as a student was the BEST decision!
Student, Master Class, Course Evaluation
The next Master Class session is slated for the fall of 2023. Be sure to get on my mailing list if you would like to be notified when registration opens. Join us and feel new confidence when you speak!
Basic Course Info
Who is eligible?
Master Class is designed for college students, graduate students, and adult professionals, but highly-motivated high school juniors and seniors age 16 or older are also welcome. This course assumes a degree of tech-savviness where students make video and audio recordings of themselves, navigate new websites, and manage several different passwords; if you struggle with computers, register as an observer the first time around!
What does it cost?
The fee for attending Master Class as a student (Zoom video on, interacting with Kira) is currently $170 ($34 per class meeting, normally $54) for five class sessions and individualized feedback for each student. Taught in a university setting, this course would be (and has been) much more expensive. This is outstanding value for a one-of-a-kind experience that could transform your Russian for life. : )
The reference/textbook for students is $19 (digital rental) / $38 (hard copy) plus tax and shipping. Digital rental lasts 180 days; observers are not required to purchase the book in any format. Click on Unlocking Russian Pronunciation to preview or purchase, or request a review copy.
The video library that teaches you to pronounce individual Russian sounds is $9.99 for one year of unlimited streaming.
Student participants will receive individualized goals and weekly feedback on recordings, as well as individual attention from Kira during each Zoom class.
Refunds are available up until the first class meeting.
Colleges and universities often have funds available to students for supplementary educational experiences. Ask your department chair about similar opportunities at your institution.
What will we learn?
There is SO MUCH that can be done in 5 weeks! Take a look at the syllabus below for detailed descriptions of what you will learn and be able to do in that time.
Register & Prepare for Class
Step 1: Register on Zoom
The registration deadline is Wednesday, 9/27/2023, and the first day of the Fall 2023 session (five evening classes – see below for dates & times) is Thursday, 9/28/2023. You must have a Zoom account and be logged into Zoom in order to attend class. If you are registering as a student, be sure to complete Steps 2 and 3 below.
Step 2: Pay the Course Fee
(if attending as a student)
If you registered as an observer, there is no fee. If you registered as a student (Zoom video on, interacting with Kira) please use the buttons here to pay the course fee (or Venmo Kira on a mobile phone @kiradi). The course fee is refundable up until the first class meeting.
Step 3: Purchase the Required Materials
(if attending as a student)
Click the buttons to purchase the book and the video library Russian Sounds with Kira. You will also need:
A Zoom account (free to sign up; always log in through your account)
Paper and pen/pencil
A way to record yourself during class (your phone or any program on your computer like QuickTime – free for Mac & PC)
A mic if your audio quality is poor (clip-on mics can really help! Try to troubleshoot this with a friend before the first class)
The best internet connection you can possibly get (sit near a wifi router, use the newest device you have, close other programs & tabs)
Class Dates & Times
Classes are 1.5 hours long except for the first class, which is 2 hours long. Students are expected to attend each class. If you must miss a class, email Kira in advance! Check your email for a Zoom link after registering.
Class Meeting #1 – Thursday, 9/28/2023
7:00-9:00 p.m. ET (New York)
First class is longer – 2 hours!
Class Meeting #2 – Thursday, 10/5/2023
7:00-8:30 p.m. ET (New York)
Class Meeting #3 – Thursday, 10/12/2023
7:00-8:30 p.m. ET (New York)
Class Meeting #4 – Thursday, 10/19/2023
7:00-8:30 p.m. ET (New York)
Class Meeting #5 – Thursday, 10/26/2023
7:00-8:30 p.m. ET (New York)
Week 1 – Sound & Identity
Baseline Oral (5 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 1 (13 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 2 (13 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 3 (13 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 4 (13 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 5 (13 min)
Skills Check 1 (10 min)
This week we'll reset your default mouth position, or the position of your jaw, tongue, and lips, so that everything you say will sound instantly more Russian.
You'll also learn the "Secret Code", my system of transcribing (spelling) how we actually pronounce words. You'll finally understand what the heck is going on in all those words!
This week you'll also have a chance to make your baseline oral recording and receive individualized goals and feedback on your pronunciation. It's a great opportunity to figure out where to spend your energy so that you can make the most significant gains in your ability to speak clear, authentic-sounding Russian.
Week 2 – Hard & Soft Sounds
Daily Practice Video - Day 1 (22 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 2 (22 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 3 (22 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 4 (22 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 5 (22 min)
Skills Check 2 (10 min)
This week you'll learn about hard and soft sounds – when AND how to pronounce them.
People who have grown up speaking English in the US tend to pronounce all of our consonants somewhere in between hard and soft Russian consonants. Our challenge is to learn the more extreme tongue positions that Russians use.
The good news is that most students are able to make huge gains in this area right away.
One of my favorite parts of this week is reframing mistakes. Should we really feel as much shame as we do over them? It might be time to revisit our childhood misconceptions about them and free ourselves to play and experiment in life with joy and confidence.
Week 3 – Vowel Reduction
Daily Practice Video - Day 1 (14 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 2 (14 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 3 (14 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 4 (14 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 5 (14 min)
Skills Check 3 (10 min)
This week you'll learn about vowel reduction, or what happens to some vowels when they are unstressed, or not emphasized, in words.
This week is a blast! Most Russian students know some rules, like what to do with unstressed "о", but many students have never heard of most of the rules, like what to do with unstressed "я" or the vowels in grammatical endings, particles, and unstressed -ча and -ща.
A little bit of knowledge can be completely transformative for your Russian!
Week 4 – Voicing Rules
Daily Practice Video - Day 1 (15 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 2 (15 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 3 (15 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 4 (15 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 5 (15 min)
Skills Check 4 (10 min)
This week you'll learn about voicing rules, or what happens to consonants at the ends of words and in consonant clusters.
Don't know if you've noticed, but Russian is a very consonant-rich language! This means that it has lots of consonant sounds and relatively few vowel sounds to learn, as opposed to other languages with more vowels and fewer consonants.
This week you'll learn exactly what to do when you come across long strings of consonants...so your brain doesn't freeze when you see three or four in a row!
Week 5 – Phonetics Topics
Daily Practice Video - Day 1 (19 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 2 (19 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 3 (19 min)
Daily Practice Video - Day 4 (19 min)
(When this Tuesday falls just before Thanksgiving, skip this assignment and do the Final Oral today instead)
Daily Practice Video - Day 5 (19 min)
Final Oral (10 min)
This week you'll learn about individual phonetics topics. We'll cover:
Prepositions that lose their stress
How to pronounce words with ъ and ь in them (like подъе́хал and статья́)
How to pronounce -тся and -ться
How to pronounce unstressed -ее, -яя, -чая, -щая (like дома́шнее and горя́чая)
We'll also talk about Russian prosody, or how to make your speech sound more authentically Russian at the sentence level.
This week you'll also have a chance to make your final oral recording and receive feedback on your pronunciation after 5 weeks of learning new knowledge and skills. If past results are any indication, with dedicated practice you can look forward to a huge shift your ability to speak beautifully clear, precise, authentic-sounding Russian. I'm looking forward to celebrating your progress with you!
What if I need to miss a class?
Please email me and let me know in advance if you can. You can make up what you missed by watching the class video on this page – I post after every class session on the same day that we have class. The textbook also comes with access to many hours of video lessons. Handy, huh! (Observers can come to one class or all of them and you don't have to notify me in advance – please just join right at the beginning of class!)
Video on or off? Who will participate?
At the beginning of each class session, I ask all who are comfortable to turn their video on so that we can all see each other and say hello. Then I ask observers to turn their video off and only students leave their video on, so that they are in the foreground.
Can I record the sessions? Will you?
I will record the sessions and make them available to participants, including both students and observers, so that they can become a learning tool for everyone – me, included! I use them to become a better teacher. It's also possible that other teachers will want to see excerpts or whole sessions – to understand more clearly how pronunciation is learned and to think about how we can do a better job teaching it. I may also use video or audio clips or transcripts from the sessions professionally in the future (such as in presentations to other teachers and/or students) and I may allow other researchers to use them as well.
Are there certificates for students?
If you are interested in receiving a digital certificate of completion at the end of the course (see the examples below), you will have to attend or make up all of the class sessions, submit a Baseline Oral and Final Oral (see the syllabus above), and complete a survey at the end of the course. You should submit your Baseline Oral recording within the first day or two of class at the latest; otherwise, you won’t be able to hear your progress as easily.
Are there certificates for Russian teachers who observe class?
If you teach Russian and need professional development hours, you can receive a certificate verifying you have spent 10 hours on professional development in the area of teaching Russian pronunciation (8 hours of class + 2 hours of reflection). For more info, see this page.
If you teach Russian and would like to become a Master Class apprentice, check out this page – I'd love to have you!