For voice-artists who work with their voices every day, maintaining it well is essential. As a voice-over artist you need to ensure that you provide your clients with a reliable service, as well as keeping yourself comfortable!
There are many techniques thrown out there, claiming to be the best way to look after your voice, and in this blog we will look at some of these, and talk about ways to improve your vocal control.
Warming Up Routine For Voice Artists
Your vocal cords (or vocal folds) are found in the larynx, and just like an athlete wouldn’t do a serious work out with first warming up, voice over artists should first ‘stretch’ the muscles found within your voice box.
Starting with humming is a nice way to begin to relax these muscles in your larynx, as well as creating a nice resonant sound. If you work through syllables such as the ‘velar nasal’ gn sound found in onion, stretching it out, sliding up and down in pitch. Working with arpeggios, scales or glides that both climb and descend in pitch is a good way of ensuring you warm up in all parts of the range quickly and without strain. Next up, lip and tongue trills help to loosen the throat, jaw, tongue and lips, spread the vocal folds so that they vibrate mainly at their edges, and encourage relaxation.
Articulation is key in voice overs, to ensure that the words of the script are formed properly so you get the clearest read possible. Tongue twisters are a great way to help your annunciation and articulation, and they can also assist with the development of tongue muscle memory for particular vowel sounds. Here are a few examples:
1. Assists with R and L vowels
Red letter, yellow letter, red letter, yellow letter, red letter, yellow letter
2. Assists with moving from the front of the lips to the soft palate and back again.
A proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot.
3. Makes you move your lips from an Ooh shape to a flatter A shape and really get your mouth moving
Wayde went to Wales to watch wrens riot
4. This one is for forward tongue placement
I am not a pheasant plucker,
I’m a pheasant plucker’s son
but I’ll be plucking pheasants
When the pheasant plucker’s gone
5. This exercise works the soft palate and back of the mouth
Six sick hicks nick six slick bricks with picks and sticks
Finally, yawning helps you naturally relax your jaw, extends your soft palate and regulates the oxygen flowing through your body. A ‘yawn-sigh’ helps you work on your range, sliding all the way down from the top of your vocal range to the lowest grumble you can reach. You’ll know when you reach your limit! Make sure you do this last, and only do this a few times per warm up… you don’t want to strain your muscles too much!