Most of the actors only think acting is all about expression. They are right to some extent but human body expresses itself not just through face but through eyes, body language and voice. As actors we work on character development exercises and much more but not on voice.Voice is most important of all because, it is the most expressive of all. Hence for an actor, a good voice is must. Just like muscles, even voice can be trained. In this article, you will learn about the few voice exercises for actors.
You will learn how systematical vocal exercises will open your voice. These are thw exercises that you must incorporate in your daily routine as an actor; even after you have mastered the voice. Just keep practicing in order to maintain the texture and the quality of your voice.
Voice Exercises For Actors: Systematic List Of Exercises
Just like singers practice daily to maintain their sweet voice, actors must do the same to improve the quality of their voice.
Yes, you don’t have to practice chords like singers but you do have to improve your diction and voice throw and this can be done through these voice exercises. Diction and voice throw is most important when it comes to dialogue deliver. Following exercises will help you improve both the required qualities.
Breathing is directly linked to speech. If you observer, when you speak, first thing you do is breath in. Breath decides the pattern of you speech. Hence, before you work on how you speak, you must learn how to breath properly.
Do this simple yoga technique which is completely focused on controlling your breathing. This is the most simplest of all voice exercises for actors.
Exercise Technique: Find a quiet corner of your house where you can sit on the floor. I use yoga mat for any kind of acting exercises which requires me to sit on the floor. I advise you to do the same if you are an actor (Don’t have one, buy it from amazon).
You can either sit with your legs crossed or on your knees, it’s your choice but make sure your posture is erect. Keep your spine straight and head facing forward. This position supports optimum breathing.
Once you are set, close your eyes and breath in slowly. You can count up to 3 if necessary. After that breath out with same count. During this process, keep your focus only on breathing. If focus wanders, try to bring it back to the breathing process.
Lion- Mouse Technique
This vocal exercise for actors is like cardio is for athletes. It will stretch out all the necessary muscles that are involved in speech. Many actors like to do this in front of a mirror. But I prefer without it. However, if you are new to these exercises, you can use mirror.
Exercise Technique: First, stretch your mouth wide open. Try to stretch it as wide as possible. It would be like you are imitating Lion’s roar. Then immediately scrunch your face muscles just like a rat. Keep switching it for 10-12 times.
Stretch your tongue
Stretching your tongue out will remove any tension from your tongue. And while stretching your tongue, you will also stretch out your jaw muscles.
Exercise Techniques: Try to pull your tongue as far as you can. Then try to reach your chin, then try to touch your nose tip and then try to reach your left and right year. Repeat this movement few times until you feel your tongue and jaws tension free.
Now that your muscles are loose, you can start working on the sound. By perfecting following sounds you will be able to make your diction really good. First rule of any good dialogue delivery, is speaking clearly. Without proper diction, in no way you will be able to convey your emotions.
Exercise Technique: There is standard exercise to improve diction. Even people with speech issues use this exercise to overcome their defect. Make these following sounds:
- Try to pronounce “P”, ”T”, ”k”, ”T”. It is pronounced like “puhh”, “tuhh”, “kuhh”, “tuhh”. Try to pronounce them 8-10 time.
- Then repeat this, “B”, ”D”, ”G”, ”D”. It goes like this, “Buhh”, “Duhh”, “Guhh”, “Duhh”.
- Now, create “rrrr” sound by rolling your tongue. It must feel like your mouth is on vibration.
- Now, create “eeee” sound. With these sounds change the octaves. Try to reach higher notes and then come back down.
Once you are done with all the voice exercises for actors, its time to put everything to the test. Keeping every exercise in mind. Remember to breath properly. Keep your muscles tension free. Use proper sounds. Practice different tongue twisters. Check out few tongue twister here if you want.
Exercise Technique: The technique with tongue twisters is to speak them in one breath. Most of the tongue twister have rhyming in it and start with same letter. Try to pick the letters that are not clear for you. For instance for me “Sss” were little difficult, I practice tongue twisters that start with S.
Additional advice to maintain good voice quality
These voice exercises for actors are enough to perfect your voice but maintaining it is also necessary. There are typically 10s or 100s ways you can screw your voice, even with regularly practicing these exercises. Keep following advice in mind to maintain your voice:
- Avoid sour food like curd, lemon, or any citrus fruits. They can choke your throat. You can have them, if you are on a vacation or not supposed to take up any acting job for next few weeks.
- Avoid cold food items like ice-cream, cold drinks etc. They induce mucous which often muffles your voice.
- Stay hydrated. In fact, drinking water just before performance or during dubbing you can achieve most clear voice.
- Quit smoking and alcohol, they effect your breathing and degrades the voice texture.
- Avoid shouting aloud. It can harm your vocal chords.
Almost all great actors take care of their voice and work on it regularly. Voice is like an instrument for an actor that has to be tuned and maintained. If you feel, as an actor your weakness is you voice. You can practice these exercises. And if you feel your not making progress I recommend you to take voice lessons, in order to improve it.
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