Top 10 Voice Tips Actors 2020Feb 06, 2020
My top ten voice tips for actors 2020
1. Always do a warm-up guys. Before every audition, every rehearsal and every performance, every self tape, every commercial casting, every Voice over for acting. The more you work the actors voice the better it will release for you and the better it can serve you. I warm up even before a webinar or a You tube video. I makes me feel better !
2. Surprise yourself with some cold reading. Pick up something now, grab a book, any book, something you have never read and read it.It happens in every acting audition so get some practice in now. Practice using your voice for acting!
3. Punctuation. Punctuation divides any text into thoughts, so you can make sense of it. When you breathe in at a comma, you understand the detail of that particular thought. Allow the time...
4. Release your jaw. This creates room in the back of the mouth for the tongue to move easily, and really helps with vocal resonance. Try saying “ahhhh” with a tense jaw and then hear the difference when you allow the jaw to drop open. Check out the breathing exercise above...do it ALL the time...relaxes the brain and body as well. Great before a tape session :-)
5. Swallow on an open throat. Yawn like a mad thing. Really opens the throat and protects your delivery at all times. Great. Quick vocal warm up..
6. Fashion the words. Articulate the movement of and meaning of thought by thinking of words as tools of connection.
Great little book
7. Alignment. Imagine a golden thread hanging from the heavens all the way into the crown at the top of your head, as if you are lightly connected to spirit. Keep your back straight but oily, no tension, flexible...allow movement. Think upwards.. Consider Alexander technique. YOGA!!
8. Open up like a pear. wtf!? Imagine you are holding a pear. Now pop it into your mouth holding it by the stalk, as the pear pops into your mouth everything accommodates to allow it to open up easily. Yum!
9. Breathe with intention. Breath is your power. Let the breath drop in deeper and as you breathe out, sense how the stomach muscles contract to help the diaphragm push the air out of the body and aim your words at someone wiht intent - Spark a reaction. Create movement. make things happen. Stay on point with your intention.
10. Drink loads of water. I drink at leat 2 pints of water first thing in the morning. not only is it good for the voice it hydrates your brain. Even when you are tired a good glass of water will work miracles. Carry a bottle of water around with you. Yeh baby yeh!
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In a bad place? Watch this.
HERE ARE 9 QUICK VOCAL TIPS YOU CAN USE RIGHT NOW!
Drop Your Jaw
Most people simply do not open their mouths enough to let the sound come out unobstructed. I do not mean that you should smile and go very wide. I want you to simply drop your jaw down a bit and not keep your teeth so clenched together. This will send more sound waves into the cheek area before exiting with a more resonant and full quality
Wean Yourself Off Whispering
When you whisper, you force a tremendous amount of extra air over the vocal cords making them dry and irritated. This can actually do more damage to your cords than screaming or shouting.
Stop Tightening Your Abdomen
Too many people hear the word “support” from singing coaches and think it means to create pressure in your abdomen as a means to somehow push more sound out. The truth is, when you lock your abdominal muscles, you are actually stopping air from getting back out of your body and making beautiful noises. The key is to relax your abdomen and create no pressure at all.
Beyond the obvious health reasons to quit smoking, cigarettes can also destroy your singing abilities. Inhaled cigarette smoke passes directly through the vocal cords and dries up a lot of the natural moisture they need to function. When you then try to make sound, your dry cords can get red and swollen. Over time, the damage to your voice can be irreparable.
Imitate Great Singers
The best way to develop a unique style is to spend time learning to imitate great singers. Pick a different singer every week and try and “become” that voice. Play their music over and over, singing along as you try to sound exactly like the artist. Then, record yourself singing along and play it back while carefully listening to any differences. If you don’t sound the same, identify where you diverge from the singer and why. Then sing along and record yourself again. Follow this system until you become a great imitation of the original artist. Then pick another singer and start all over again. As you add more artists to your imitation repertoire, you will learn to naturally mix and match those imitated sounds and create a unique vocal style that is old and new, familiar and fresh, and it will ultimately help you achieve the next levels of success.
Warm Up Your Voice
A runner would never start a race without stretching before. Give your voice some stretching, too. Do a few minutes of vocal exercises every day to expand and strengthen your singing range.
When you sing a song the melody is important. Why is it that most people are singing boring songs. They stay on one note, they have no interesting dynamics, and they bore the listener. I say, pretend you are singing while you are speaking. Move it around, shake it up, swoop, dive, soar. Let your voice be as interesting as you are?
Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing
It is very easy and much healthier for the body. Just put your hand on your abdomen, near your belly button. When you inhale, pretend that you have a balloon in there and let it expand. When you exhale, let your abdomen fall back to its normal position. This method is easy but incredibly effective for enhancing your vocal quality.
Tea With Honey and Lemon Is a Bad Idea
Black tea with honey and lemon is a recipe for bad singing. Have you noticed how your fingers look like prunes when you take a long hot bath? Drinking scorching hot tea can take a similar toll. The temperature of liquids can change the size and shape of tissues it comes in contact with and your vocal cords are no exception. If the tea has caffeine in it, you may unnecessarily speed up the production of mucous and spend your performance trying to clear your throat. The citrus in the lemon can cause you to salivate more, also leading to overproduction of phlegm. And finally, the honey is so thick it can cause moisture problems and reduce your singing abilities.
Drink More Water
There are two holes in the back part of your throat–one for food and water and the other for air. When you drink, the water goes down the liquid hole. The problem is, the vocal cords live down the air hole. It is actually impossible to drink water directly to your cords. So, you need to have enough water in your bloodstream for your vocal cords to get properly hydrated. To do that you should drink about one-half gallon of pure water daily
Voice Warm Up For Actors From Voice.com
Much like athletes need to take the time to prepare before a big game, voice actors need to know how to warm up their voice to perform their best behind a microphone.
Voice warm-ups have many benefits as they can loosen up your vocal cords and prepare you to nail your next audition or big presentation. Using your voice for an extended period of time can be challenging if you’re not prepared. Read on to learn how to warm up your voice::
- Body Stretches
- Humming and Lip Trills
- Descending on Nasal Consonants
- Tongue Twisters
- Yawns (to increase vocal range)
Why Vocal Warm-Ups are Important
The more you tone your vocal cords, the more versatile you will be, all while reducing your chances of injury. Simply put, if you get behind the microphone feeling tense or stressed, you are going to sound tense and stressed. But if you get into the booth feeling relaxed, limber and physically ready to tackle the day, your vocal performances are going to reflect that state too.
Tip: The sillier you sound and the better a voice warm up makes you feel, the more elastic, agile and comfortable your voice will become. Have fun with it!
Vocal Warm Up Exercise 1: Stretch Your Body
“Side stretches are great for expanding your rib cage and making your lungs feel like they are full of air,” says Voice Actor and Coach Heather Costa.
“Simply take a deep breath and raise your arms up to the sky. Exhale and slightly lean to the left, lengthening in your side body. Hold it there for just a couple of seconds before you inhale to center, and then exhale over to the right.”
“Next, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale your arms up to the sky, then slowly bend at your waist on the exhale and take your hands toward the ground. It doesn’t matter how far you can go, the action of bending over is enough to give you a nice, warm stretch! Stay there for a couple of breaths, and then on an inhale slowly come back up to a standing position.”
Vocal Warm-Up Exercise 2: Humming and Lip Trills
A loose, gentle modulating hum is a nice way to ease in your facial muscles as well as create space for resonant sound. It gets your resonators going which in turn will help restore your vocal tone quality after sleeping for several hours.
Lip trills and flutters will also help loosen facial muscles and get your vocal cords warmed-up. Even better, if you try them in the shower.
Vocal Warm-Up Exercise 3: Descending on Nasal Consonants
Another good trick to open up the passages is to descend on a nasal consonant sound. If you are a fan or student of IPA (the International Phonetic Alphabet), you know that there are a number of ways you can warm up your sinuses and nasal passages.
Take the English word onion for example. It’s quite nasal, particularly the second syllable – the ‘gn’ sound. Take that ‘gn’ sound and lovingly stretch it, slide it, and descend glissando style.
Go from the fifth down to the root of a scale on that with an ‘ah’ sound.
Another fave is any word that ends in a Z, like buzz or fuzz. Linger on the Z to get resonating.
Vocal Warm-Up Exercise 4: Frictives
Fricatives are consonants that are formed by impeding the flow of air so that a friction sound is produced. Common consonants are p’s, b’s and t’s. You can learn more about how to produce fricatives from vocal coaches.
This animated video from Glossika shows how frictives are produced:
Vocal Warm-Up Exercise 5: Tongue Twisters
Articulate, articulate, articulate. In the voice over business, this is one of the most important aspects of your performance.
If you don’t articulate or enunciate clearly, no one is going to understand a word of what you are saying.
5 Classic Tongue Twister Exercises
- Unique New York, Unique New York, Unique New York…. (repeat and speed up as necessary)
- A big black bug bit a big black bear
- She sells seashells by the sea shore
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
- How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Vocal Warm Up Exercise 6: Yawn
Now that you’ve warmed up your resonators and articulators, let’s address range.
Yawning naturally drops your jaw and regulates oxygen, while extending your soft palate.
In this Time Magazine interview, Morgan Freeman reveals that yawning is part of the secret behind his very successful voice.
“If you’re looking to improve the sound of your voice, yawn a lot,” he says. “It relaxes your throat muscles. It relaxes your vocal cords. And as soon as they relax, the tone drops. The lower your voice is, the better you sound.”
Bonus: With more oxygen flowing up to your brain, you’ll also find that you are more alert.
How to do a Yawn-Sigh
- Open your mouth as if to yawn, and slide all the way down from the top of your vocal range to the lowest grumble you can muster.
- You’ll know when you bottom out.
Only do this a few times per warm up and never start with this one – leave it until the end when you have already exercised your voice.
Vocal Warm Up Tips
Some other tips to consider so that you get the most of your vocal warm ups, include:
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
It may go without saying, but a good sleep the night before, about eight hours if you can swing it, and a well conditioned, lubricated voice is the best preparation for warming up at the crack of dawn. This means staying well hydrated, well before you need to perform. Water is your best friend!
Do Your Vocal Warm-Ups in the Shower
If you’re a multi-tasker, you could probably fit your warm ups into your morning shower routine. The acoustics will be great and warm water is a plus. The humidity will also help as the moisture will coat and help protect your throat, vocal cords and more.
Bonus: Get even more tips and tricks on making your voice as performance ready, and your day as productive as can be in this feature post with Susan Berkley: Vocal Health Tips from a Voice Coach.
Protecting Your Vocal Health – Tips from a Voice Coach
As a seasoned voice actor, you need to make sure that you are protecting your voice at all times. This means that you have to do the right kinds of vocal warm ups in order to protect your vocal health and ensure the longevity of your voice acting career, as well as maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Voice Actor and Coach, Susan Berkley, has been in the industry for over 30 years and is the author of the book Speak to Influence: How to Unlock the Hidden Power of Your Voice. She shares the techniques, health tips and vocal warm ups that you should build into your everyday work life, to ensure that you are treating your voice in the best possible way while still being productive and successful.
Understanding Vocal Health
Here are the 5 main tips and aspects of your vocal health that Susan recommends you should focus on in order to take your vocal health seriously:
- Work Hours vs. Downtime
- Overall Health
- Vocal Placement
- Vocal Warm Ups
Vocal health is something that needs to be tailored on an individual by individual basis.
“People need to understand their own instrument – they need to be warmed up and they need to understand how to speak in a healthy manner for 50 minutes at a time, and not everybody has that ability. But I take this very seriously,” says Susan.
Vocal Health Tip #1: Eat a Balanced Diet
Susan acknowledges that diet is going to vary from individual to individual but when you get to the professional level, voice actors need to start taking vocal health seriously. When you have to do 4 hours of voice over work each day, you have to understand that your voice is a part of your body – and to treat it in a healthy way.
“Some people think ‘Oh I talk all the time, I’ll be fine’ but that’s not how it works,’ explains Susan. “You’re like an athlete in the sense that you’ve got to be ready for the long haul”
So what are somethings you can do to protect your instrument?
Foods to Avoid Before Recording Your Voice
First off, watch what you put into your body.
Top 3 foods to avoid before your recording session:
- Fried foods
- Dairy products
Dairy and fried food tend to produce more phlegm, which is obviously not good for recording. And although it may be extremely tempting to reach for the caffeine, Susan recommends not having caffeine right before a session. “Tea and coffee are very drying to the voice. You certainly should not be drinking these things during a session. Give some time before speaking and when you have your caffeine,” says Susan.
Pro Tip: Susan puts matcha in smoothies that she drinks in the morning so that she gets the benefit of tea and caffeine, without having it actually pass over your throat.
Foods that Strengthen Your Voice
What types of foods should you be eating in a day to maintain your optimal vocal strength?
In order to keep her voice in top shape, Susan tries to maintain a plant-based diet as much as possible in order to keep her voice in top shape.
“If it’s in the morning you might have oatmeal, but don’t put cream on it. [Instead], you can have some protein or some nuts and fruit. If it’s around lunch you eat a lean piece of meat or tofu on a salad and vegetables, just around recording and there will be less phlegm and it will tend to keep your voice clearer,” advises Susan. “And again everybody’s different. You have to address [these aspects of your health] to be not just a successful voice talent but a successful business owner. You must maintain your health.”
It also goes without saying that you should also be paying attention to the amount of water you are consuming in a day – staying hydrated is extremely important in protecting your voice. When Susan wakes up in the morning the first thing she does is drink a big glass of lemon water.
Vocal Health Tip #2 – Work Less Hours a Day
Once you have your diet sorted out, the next thing to consider is how long you should actually be working in one day.
A common occurrence that Susan has run into in her career is that voice actors – whether they are new or seasoned talent – don’t rest their voices enough. It can be tempting to work many hours a day, especially when working from your home recording studio, however, downtime and rest is equally as important as working hard.
“If you don’t understand what you limits are and how to protect your voice health, you can do a lot of damage, says Susan. “The rule of thumb is [work for a total of] 4 hours each day, with a regular break. Spend 50 minutes ‘on’ and then take 10 minutes off, plus a lunch break in the middle. So you’re really not going strong for more than 50 minutes at a time, but you’re taking a lengthy break in between those two hour blocks of time,” she recommends.
Vocal Health Tip #3 – Do Your Vocal Warm Ups!
Vocal warm ups are an important part in maintaining your productivity throughout the day.
“Think about your vocal warm ups, those are muscles just like the rest of your body,” says Susan.
The Legend That Is Cicely Berry
I worked with Cicely Berry at The Royal Shakespeare Company back in the day and although this video is old and slow...it is AWESOME. If you want you can order her amazing book here
And Just For Laughs which is also good for your voice! Comic Relief
Tired of facing ANOTHER rejection from Casting Directors? Learn the 7 ways you are really ruining your Self Taping results.
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