X-ray vision? Soaring through the air? Voice care.
I can hear it already. ‘I’m not a singer or a voice talent. Why do I need to worry about voice care?’
Please allow me to share with you Margie’s story:
Margie came to me this past April. She is a teacher and an amazing woman, really. At the time, she was volunteering with underprivileged children. Teaching them for free after her full days of work. She was also leading seminars teaching other teachers. Margie came to my voice acting studio because she wanted to be an audiobook narrator. Simple enough. Her dream was to turn her love for reading into something more!
We recorded her voice. During play-back, though, we found something unexpected. It was a scratchy sound in the mid-range of her voice. Uh oh.
This was a rough one. Margie had dreams of doing audiobook narration work. She also had pretty serious vocal damage. Damage that needed to be corrected. This needed to happen BEFORE she could consider doing voice acting work. Damage that needed to be fixed if she wanted to continue leading seminars, long-term, without doing further damage to her voice.
Instead of working to become a book narrator, Margie had to began the journey of repairing her voice.
Since then, I’ve worked with other corporate speakers teaching them how to protect their voices. I’ve also had to look at my own voice care. I record for hours daily. I sing on most weekends. How much can my voice handle? Am I supporting it enough? What else can I do to maintain it? Am I over using it?
What is the voice?
The larynx, commonly called the “voice box,” is made up of muscle, cartilage, and connective tissue.
Here are some things you can do to take care of your voice:
Your voice can’t do it alone! It needs the full support of your diaphragm muscles to work properly. How do you know if you’re using proper breath support?
- Stand in front of a mirror.
- Take in a deep breath.
- Watch your shoulders. Do they move up and down? If they do, you are using shallow breathing which does not support your voice.
- Work to breath lower from your diaphragm.
Articulation and mouth placement support
‘Rubber baby buggy bumper?’ ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers?’
There’s a reason actors and singers talk to themselves before the show! Stretch and prepare your facial structure. Mouth placement helps to take care of your voice by relieving some strain from the vocal chords.
Warm it up!
Would you run sprints daily without warming up your quads and hamstrings? No. Not if you didn’t want to be in pain.
Just like the muscle of the voice, strain can occur if you don’t warm up properly. Say, yes to ‘aaaaaaa, eeeeee, ah ah ah ah, oh oh oh oh, ew ew ew ew!’
Go ahead. Be a super hero. Protect and serve that voice!
Rachel Alena’s latest audiobook is about to release! Check it out here at Amazon, 47 Mind Hacks for Writers.
She is a national voice talent who brings over 20 years of experience in voice acting to her clients and students. She has voiced hundreds of narrations for clients such as Disney, Microsoft, The Rockefeller Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Schnucks and Alliance Residential. She also provides private voice over training for students all across the country. Her studio is located near Boulder, Colorado.