Singing and voice acting aren’t that different. Here’s three tips we can grab from our Grammy-winning counterparts.
Professional singers always warm up. Singing puts strain and tension on the voice and diaphragm muscles. It is important to stretch out and warm up to avoid damage and to get the voice sounding its best. The same goes for voice acting. Have you ever voiced first thing in the morning without warming up? Yikes! No one needs to hear that …
We can borrow some great warm ups from singers include humming, lip trills and scales. Starting your session with gentle exercises like humming and lip trills releases tension in the throat and neck with minimal strain.
While humming is pretty self explanatory, lip trills can be a bit harder (and way less glamorous). So get it right and check out singing coach Dylan:
Scales are good for warming up your pitch ready for you to access a particular tone or character right on cue.
And warm ups especially for the voice actor: dictation exercises and tongue twisters—Dr Seuss’ Fox In Socks is a killer! While facial exercises and stretches loosen up the face ready for contorting into all kinds of characters.
I use a great little singing warm up app called Warm Me Up! with mouth workouts, tongue twisters and scales.
Try to commit around 20 minutes to your warm up—whether it’s a full warm up, humming along to tunes in the car or reading your kid some Seuss!
Check out how a singer stands and you’ll notice some great posture going on. Good posture supports the breath, engages the diaphragm, opens up the space around your vocal cords and releases upper-body tension. We need some of that posture goodness too!
Head up, shoulders back, chest high and rib cage expanded—now your lungs can expand fully. Fill them up to make sure you can reach the end of that super-long sentence without running out of steam.
Engage the diaphragm to create a steady stream of air. Not only will you make it to the end of that sentence, you’ll have enough depth and dimension to create the right tone and inflection.
A long, straight neck opens up the space that houses your vocal cords and allows air to progress freely through the vocal cords. No air over vocal cords = no sound. Obstructions to the air flow = strained sound.
Good posture also helps reduce tension and minimises a forced sound and risk of damage.
A quick posture check once you hop in the booth is always a good idea. Exercise and stretching can also help good posture happen naturally—particularly back and abdominal strengthening exercises and activities such as Pilates and yoga. Namaste to that!
Professional singers take good care of their instrument. And we should be no different.
Avoid straining your voice—karaoke machine, I’m looking at you! Shouting over loud music in clubs and staying out late are vocal killers too.
Know your vocal kryptonite. Dairy? Spicy foods? Sugary drinks? All can impact on mucus, make you sound congested and give you a bad attack of the mouth noise!
Hydration is a no-brainer, so I’m not even gonna go there.
And know when to rest. If you have overdone it or feel a cold setting in, rest up and take the time to get better to ensure a quality sound and minimise risk of injury.