Tips & Tricks Vocal Exercises
Throughout her extensive voiceover career, Debbie has picked up tools of the trade she’d like to share with her fellow colleagues and clients. Vocal exercises and tips about how to protect your voice and pronounce tricky words. For clients, there are various tips on how to work with your talent, from hiring to directing.
A Simple Way to Find Your Natural Voice
Coordinate pitch with breath
Being able to carry and modulate over a wide range of pitches (for expression) and center on your optimal pitch comfortably and with ease is crucial to voice acting. I found an article by Michael Goodrich, Finding Your Natural Voice where he articulates a tick that has helped me immensely.
- Sit on a straight chair a little toward the front of the seat.
- Place your elbows on your knees, right on right and left on left, and rest your chin in the palms of your hands.
- Relax and breathe normally. Be aware of how your stomach expands out slightly while feeling how the sides of your lower back expand simultaneously. It should feel like the expansion of a balloon.
- After you have repeated the process a few times, sit up and try to replicate the feeling of expanding the lower part of your torso, filling up with a deep breath and then release slowly.
Energized humming to find proper pitch and placement
The mask is the area around the lips and mouth that you will be focusing on for this exercise. The Mask is where you feel a resonance when you hum, giving the voice a vibrant ring and buzz. When oral and nasal resonance is balanced whilst humming, it allows the ability to project with ease and power.
- Hum the first two lines of Happy Birthday
- Hum the words to yourself with your lips closed “hum-happy-hum-birthday-hum-to-hum-you,” etc.
- Now use the same voice and just say the words aloud. You should feel a more vibrant, energized voice with a
more encompassing resonance.
Vocal Exercises and Things to Consider for Characters
- The lower throat is not an effective resonator and therefore it is impossible to project properly and safely.
- Try to stay within your optimum pitch in both sides of the spectrum of your pitch range.
- Nasal Voices are less potentially damaging than lower throat voices. Be careful of a high larynx. Rising the larynx too high may cause the coal chords to strain. If this persists in a particularly long session or for a demanding role where the voice is overused or forced, it can result in serious damage.
- Make sure the larynx remains relaxed during normal, natural speech.
- Maintain proper breathing throughout.
- Try to return to your proper voice often in the session.