Your vocal cords are similar to other muscles: the more you tone them, the more deftly you can use them. Before you begin working your voice, it's always a good idea to loosen up your muscles that directly or indirectly affect the quality of your voice.
Warming up is extremely important because if you get behind the microphone and you are feeling tense or stressed, guess what? You are going to sound tense and stressed! The more relaxed you can be, the better you will sound. Start out by doing some light stretching.
Side stretches are great for expanding your rib cage and making your lungs feel like they are full of air. Simply take a deep breath and raise your arms up to the sky. Exhale and slightly lean to the left, lengthening in your side body. Hold it there for just a couple of seconds before you inhale to center, and then exhale over to the right.
Next, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale your arms up to the sky, then slowly bend at your waist on the exhale and take your hands toward the ground. It doesn't matter how far you can go, the action of bending over is enough to give you a nice, warm stretch! Stay there for a couple of breaths, and then on an inhale slowly come back up to a standing position.
After you have done your side stretches, your standing forward bends, and whatever else you need to do to make your body feel loose and relaxed, you can turn your focus to your face.
Moving your fingers in a circular motion, massage your face where your jaw hinges. This will stimulate blood flow to your jaw muscles, where many of us store tension. Gentle head and neck rolls can also make you feel more comfortable behind the mic.
Yawning is also a great way to loosen things up! If you can make yourself yawn, you will feel the space from the back of your mouth to your sinuses, and that is actually the best place to put the speaking when you are reading.
If you are yawning because you just woke up, do not get behind that mic just yet! Just as an athlete wouldn't jump out of bed and run a marathon, don't attempt to record a voice-over before you've had a chance to wake up and loosen up. Treat your voice and your body well, and it will treat you well in return!
Let us know how these tips work out for you by posting a comment to our blog!
-By: Catherine Marshall