Athletes, singers, and other professionals warm up before they perform. Why wouldn’t a voice-over actor? Being a voice-over actor involves strain on your vocal cords, so warming up is a must. Warm-ups will help get your voice into perfect condition for a great day at the studio.
Why Is It Important?
The more you tone your vocal cords, the more versatile you will be while reducing your chances of injury. Most seasoned voice-over actors will perform warm-ups after they wake up in the morning and then again before a recording. Sessions can be demanding for a voice-over actor and a warmup will keep you in top performance shape.
Relaxation Begins with Breathing
Breathing releases tension that can interfere with effective voice production. If you are holding on to tension, it radiates to the voice box muscles. Start with relaxing your shoulders and chest, take a regular breath in and then exhale. The next breath-hold an “s” sound like in a hiss when you exhale. You want the focus of your breath to come from your abdomen and not your chest and shoulders. Place your hand on your abdomen as a reminder. Repeat a few times.
Stretches for the Body
A limber body means a more relaxed voice. Start with side stretches, they are great for expanding your rib cage and making your lungs feel like they are full of air. Raise your arms up to the sky and exhale and lean to the right, lengthening your body. Gently hold it there for a few seconds and then back to center and then to your left.
Gentle neck rolls will help warm up your neck and throat muscles. Gently rotate your head clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Humming, Lip Trills, and Tongue Trills
A loose, gentle modulating hum is a way to ease your facial muscles and create space for resonant sound. It gets your resonators warm which helps restore your vocal tone quality.
Lip trills and flutters are also a good way to loosen facial muscles and get your vocal cords warmed up. To roll your lips, close your mouth and create a constant “b” sound. This will vibrate your lips, creating a trilling sound effect.
Tongue trills relax the tongue and engage breathing and voice. Place your tongue behind your upper teeth. Exhale and trill your tongue with an “r” sound. Hold the sound steady and keep the breath connected. Try to vary the pitch up and down the scale while trilling.
Articulation is one of the most important aspects of your job. If you don’t articulate and enunciate clearly, then no one is going to understand what you are saying, and that means you will not be hired for the job. Tongue twister exercises are a great tool.
- She sells seashells by the seashore.
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
- A big black bug hit a big black bear.
- How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
- These are ideal phrases... but they are tough for me too!
Yawning naturally drops your jaw and regulates oxygen while extending your soft palate. It relaxes your throat muscles and vocal cords, and as soon as they relax, the tone drops. There are many actors that swear by this technique.
Warm-ups in the Shower
The humidity will help as the moisture will coat and protect your throat, vocal cords, and more. Plus, the acoustics will be an added bonus. Wherever in the morning, your warm-up in the shower or in your bedroom or kitchen. Just remember voice-over actors are like athletes, they need to warm up and train to keep their voice in top condition.