Warming up is an essential step in every voice actor’s performance regimen. Without a proper warm-up, you run the risk of damaging your vocal chords, which can spell disaster for your career. While doing these exercises is extremely important before a performance, it’s also a good idea to do them at other times. Regular voice exercises not only keep your vocal chords strong, but they’re also an excellent form of practice, especially for beginning voice actors who are still honing their craft.
Breathing Exercises – Start your warm up routine with a couple of breathing exercises. Not only does this help you focus on and control your breathing, it will also put you in the right frame of mind for vocal work. Inhale and exhale deeply several times, then practice pausing after each exhale. You can also inhale and exhale on vowel sounds to work on projection, starting soft and building the sound as you practice.
Facial and Neck Exercises – Sit or stand and slowly roll your neck from shoulder to shoulder, then rotate your head and look over each shoulder to warm the throat and neck muscles. Facial massage will also help prep important voice muscles. Use your fingers to gently massage your face and relax those muscles.
Tongue Exercises – Stick out your tongue as far as you can, then try to reach your chin with it. Next, try and touch your nose and then each ear with your tongue to work that muscle in advance of your voice work.
Vocal Exercises – Now that your muscles are ready to go, you can start practicing sounds. Try sirens to improve your range, switching octaves while saying “eeee.” You can also do trills, creating a “rrrr” sound by rolling your tongue across the roof of your mouth. PTKT and BDGD (pronounced puh tuh kuh tuh and buh duh guh duh) will exercise your vocal cords even more.