Important: All exercise involves some stressing of muscles, but be especially careful to do voice exercises in a gentle manner. Never strain your voice to the point of pain. Don’t do any exercise that causes you pain or discomfort.
Voice Exercise Routine One
1. A relaxed body is required for proper breathing, correct posture and optimum resonance. Begin this exercise routine by gently stretching your muscles in your legs and shoulders. Reach your arms up, then out to the sides. Hold the stretches for a count of 10. Gently rotate your shoulders slowly, first in one direction, then the other.
2. Your jaw and neck should be relaxed for proper breathing. Using both hands, gently massage your jaw and neck. Continue until your jaw and neck feel relaxed.
3. Neck stretches can be very helpful exercises, but be especially careful not to overdo it. Gently stretch your neck (only as far as comfortable) to the right, then to the left, then forward. Hold the stretches for a count of 10. Don’t stretch your neck backward. Gently twist the neck (again, only as far as comfortable) to the right and to the left.
4. Stretch mouth open wide as far as you can; hold for a count of 10. Relax and repeat.
5. Gently wag your jaw back and forth a few times. Then bend forward slightly and gently shake your jaw.
6. Smile very widely, then quickly pucker your lips. Try to do this 10 times rapidly.
7. Point and stretch your tongue; first right, then left, then up, then down. Relax and repeat.
8. Do scales, upward, start as low as comfortable; downward, start as high as comfortable.
9. Inhale as you count/hold/then exhale as you count. Start with a count of 10, work up to 25.
10. Practice reading copy with pinkies stretching sides of mouth (or pencil in mouth).
11. Practice reading copy while deliberately over articulating.
12. Practice reading copy while alternating high and low pitches.
13. Practice reading copy at different speeds; first as fast as you can, then very slowly.
14. Practice reading copy at different volumes; first as loudly as you can, then very quietly.
15. Practice reading copy while inflecting as if you were reading a story to a child.
Practice copy: A few words about announcing
(You may use the following paragraphs as practice copy for use during your exercise routines.
Broadcast announcing is an exciting profession, one that employs thousands and affects millions. It’s hard to imagine anyone who has not heard a friendly voice on the airwaves. We wake to our favorite music introduced by a disc jockey. The weather reporter tells us to bring an umbrella to work. We catch up on what’s happening by listening to a newscaster. The sportscaster brings alive the excitement of athletic competition. We buy products that are extolled by voice-over artists on radio and television. The announcer’s voice can be heard almost everywhere—in the bedroom, the kitchen, the living room, the family room, the office, and of course, in the car. Yes, it is hard to imagine a world without announcers.
Broadcast announcing continues to be a popular career choice among young people. In fact, most radio and TV stations confirm that there are many more applicants for announcing positions than there are openings, and this has resulted in a very competitive job market. Still, if one is willing to work hard at developing the skills and talent necessary for successful announcing, the chances of being one of those “at the top” increase greatly. If you have dreamed of being a famous newscaster, DJ, sportscaster, weather reporter or voice-over artist, then the surest way to achieve that dream is to practice, and practice, and practice some more.
Voice Exercise Routine Two
1. Always begin any voice exercise routine by gently stretching and messaging your jaw, neck and throat. (See the stretching exercises in the first voice exercise routine.)
2. You may find it easier to breathe from the diaphragm while lying down. For the next series of exercises, lie on the floor. Place your hands on your abdomen and inhale, concentrating on pushing your hands up and out. Exhale while concentrating on pulling your hands down and in. Try to focus on your abdominal muscles as they stretch (inhale) and contract (exhale). Continue in this position as you do the following:
- Purse your lips as you exhale, blowing out a thin stream of air.
- Hum a low note (near your optimum pitch) as you exhale. Try to find the note where you feel maximum vibration in your lower abdomen.
- On this note, sing each of the vowel sounds as you exhale (AY-EE-I-OH-OO). Sing each vowel sound once on a single breath, trying to hold the sound as long as possible. Then try to sing all on one breath, gliding between the sounds.
- Again on the same note, loudly speak each of the vowel sounds in a staccato fashion as you exhale. Do this first individually with each vowel, then as a group.
- While concentrating on breathing from the diaphragm, speak the following sentence loudly and slowly in a low, resonant voice: “Long and low, connected and slow.” Say this with gusto, deliberately and slowly, with as much resonance as you can.
3. Stand up but hold your hands to your abdomen as when you were lying down. Try to focus on breathing from the diaphragm in this standing position. Now speak loudly and with as much resonance as you can: “Long and low, connected and slow.”
4. While breathing from the diaphragm, read the following tongue twister. Try to read it with clean articulation and with expression, conveying the meaning of the copy.
Betty Botter bought some butter. “But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter and if I put this butter in my batter it will make my batter bitter.” So Betty Botter bought some better butter and put the better butter in her batter so her batter wasn’t bitter. “That’s better,” said Betty.
5. Look at yourself in a mirror. Practice reading the following sentences while looking in the mirror. Try to express the emotions listed after each phrase with both your voice and your eyes.
Don’t do that to me. [hate; fear; pain]
I’ve been waiting for you. [love; despair; sarcasm]
What are you doing? [surprise; anger; curiosity]