In pursuit of my African Dream : Breathe in, Breathe out!

Voice_You have a voice

You may remember that not too long ago I wrote about training as a Voice Over Artiste
Find the post here:

In preparation for finding work as a Voice Over Artiste I’m hard at work practicing my exercises and keeping my voice in tip-top shape. I’ve learned that your voice is a vehicle for your words just like a car is a literal means of getting around. Vocal preparation, maintenance of the voice and overall health considerations are important.

As a Voice Over Artiste I need to master breathing techniques and take care of my voice in the same way as a professional singer would. In my search for exercises I could use, I’ve come across these which I thought you might find useful too if you are using your voice professionally on a regular basis.

Words to warm up by:
Someone said something simple
A simple something said to me
Simply simple someone said
A simple something said to me

Find your voice

How to warm up like an athlete:
Side stretches (expands the rib cage and makes your lungs feel like they’re full of air):
• Take a deep breath and raise your arms to the sky
• Exhale and lean slightly to the left, lengthening in your side. Hold it there for a few seconds before you inhale to centre, and then exhale over to the right.
• Stand with your feet hip width apart. Inhale, with your arms up to the sky, then slowly bend at your waist on the exhale and take your hands towards the ground. It doesn’t matter how far down you can go. Stay there for a few breaths, on an inhale, come back up into a standing position.

Voice_faceless person

Your face:
• Moving your fingers in a circular motion massage your face where your jaw hinges. This will stimulate blood flow to your jaw muscles, where many of us store tension.
• Gentle head and neck rolls can also make you feel more comfortable behind the mic.
• Yawning is a great way to loosen things up.

If you’ve just woken up, do not get behind a mic without warming up.

Voice_mike

VOICE CARE EXERCISES:
Quick warm ups:
Humming: A loose, gentle modulating hum is a nice way to ease in your facial muscles and create space for resonant sound
Lip trills: Go back to your childhood i.e. a car goes B r r r r r r r
Descend on a nasal consonant sound: e.g. onion, gn sound (gnocchi), anything that ends in Z (buzz, fuzz), linger on the Z to get resonating as well.
Articulation exercises: Tongue Twisters
– Unique New York, Unique New York . . .
– A big black bug bit a big black bear
– She sells sea shells by the sea shore
– Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
– How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?
Range: Yawning is a good thing. It naturally drops your jaw and regulates oxygen while extending your soft palate. Do the yawning-sigh.
– Open your mouth as if you’re going to yawn and slide all the way down from the top of your vocal range to the lowest grumble you can do. Only do this a few times per warm up and never start with this one. Leave it till the end when you’ve already warmed up your voice.

Voice_Person with mike in hand

Breathing Techniques (5 minute workout by Tommy Griffiths):
This one is perfect as a regular workout for facial muscles, lips, mouth and tongue and is a great way to maintain good articulation, breathing and posture. With daily practice it will help wake up your vocal cords and ensure your voice always comes out strong and clear.

Stretching exercises for your mouth, tongue and lips (do this for 1 minute)
Grin as hard as you can and hold it for a few seconds, then quickly purse your lips and hold. Do this back and forth a few times then quickly stick your tongue out and stretch it as far as it will go. Then touch the back of your upper teeth with the tip of your tongue. Hold for 5 seconds.
Say the word “WoW”. Notice the positions of your mouth when you say the word? Your lips start out pursed and the word ends with your mouth open. Exaggerate the positions and repeat over and over as though you’re saying the word “WoW”. At this point you should feel the facial muscles in and around your mouth.

Frangipani_Single

Improving your articulation with the obstruction drill (do this for about 2 minutes)
• Find a piece of copy and an obstruction for your mouth. Ideally it should be the size of a wine cork. Sit up straight or stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
• Place the obstruction between your front teeth and read the copy out loud as clearly as possible. The obstruction will force your muscles to over compensate for the difficulty in articulating the words. Keep reading for about 2 minutes.
• Take the obstruction out of your mouth and read the same piece of copy. You’ll notice that you now effortlessly pronounce the words.

Sea Shells

Learning to master our Plosives (do this for about 2 minutes)
Hold the palm of your hand a few inches away from your mouth, approximately where your mic would be. Then say “Pam’s preppy pal Peter”. You’ll likely feel a rush of air with the P’s. That rush of air is what creates the “popping” sound through your mic.
With full vocalisation, practice saying “Pam’s preppy pal Peter” until you no longer feel the rush of air.
Practice this every day for about 2 minutes until it becomes second nature to you to speak “plosive” free, even in your regular day-to-day conversations.

It is suggested that you practice these three simple exercises every day for two weeks before speaking or singing in public or recording your auditions.

animal-cute-kitten-cat-medium

Common ways to practice your exercises:
Reading copy aloud: or repeating or imitating what you’ve heard on radio or television
Analysing what you hear: whether it is your own recorded voice or someone else’s voice)
Mentally reviewing copy: to observe markings for breaths, punctuation, inflection etc.

Waterfall

The Announcer’s Test:
Every person who wishes to become an Announcer on radio goes through a particular test called the Announcer’s Test which involves retention, memory, repetition, enunciation, diction and ten factors that use every letter in the alphabet a variety of times. This test is also known as the Tibetan Memory Trick.

T. M. T. (Tibetan Memory Trick)
1. One hen.
2. Two ducks.
3. Three squawking geese.
4. Four limerick oysters.
5. Five corpulent porpoises.
6. Six pairs of Revlon tweezers.
7. Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array.
8. Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt.
9. Nine apathetic sympathetic diabetic old men on roller skates
with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth.
10. Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who
stalk around the corner of a cove all at the very same time.

Voice_faceless person

This is actually spoken adding one at a time, so here is how it
actually goes.

1. One hen.
2. One hen, two ducks.
3. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese.
4. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters.

5. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises.

6. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Revlon tweezers.

7. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Revlon tweezers, seven
thousand Macedonians in full battle array.

8. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Revlon tweezers, seven
thousand Macedonians in full battle array, eight brass monkeys
from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt.

9. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Revlon tweezers, seven
thousand Macedonians in full battle array, eight brass monkeys
from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt, nine apathetic sympathetic
diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards
procrastination and sloth.

10. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Revlon tweezers, seven
thousand Macedonians in full battle array, eight brass monkeys
from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt, nine apathetic sympathetic
diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards
procrastination and sloth, ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical
denizens of the deep who stalk around the corner of a cove
all at the very same time.

Whewf!!!!!!!!!!! That was long!!!!!

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8 thoughts on “In pursuit of my African Dream : Breathe in, Breathe out!

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