Preparing for a Vocal Marathon – Part I

Today I was working on Skype with a new client, who asked me for exercises to help her cope with the challenge of a 28 minute narration (voice over). This is a long time for an untrained voice to sustain colour, flexibility and ease. Small wonder she finds herself stumbling over long words and complex phrases. It is not normal to speak to 28 minutes without rest. This is a vocal marathon. The voice, like any other part of the human anatomy, requires muscles to move it, shape it, colour it, empower it. The voice might take the form of sound waves, invisible to the eye. It might seem to be as easy as breathing – and that’s how we’d …

The Voice, the Whole Voice, and Nothing But the Voice

These days I seem to hear just about everybody in film or TV dramas performing at least 80% of the time “off voice”, speaking in a semi-whisper, or creaking or croaking. I can’t bear it. It’s the fashion, I’m an old fogey, my hearing is Good For My Age, which means not as good as the average 25 year old, so this means most of the time the dialogue is just at the edge of my comprehension. No point turning up the volume. Because the so-called “background” music will just get louder too.. My guess is that the directors think it denotes intensity. They don’t do it in the comedies. Or at least not as much. For me, it denotes …

My Jaw Loves Me – so Why Not Love It Back?

Last week, I suggested that there are 5 things you need to know before you can learn to relax your jaw. 1 – Your jaw is your best friend; 2 – Your jaw will protect you to the death; 3 – Your jaw is a workaholic; 4 – Your jaw will not voluntarily take a holiday; 5 – Your jaw will love you even more when you manage to convince it that you can manage without it from time to time. Your jaw is your best friend. It has been looking after you with great care all your life.  It has taken responsibility for protecting you from the outside world, and it is very, very good at it. Watch any newborn baby expressing itself. …

5 Things You Need to Know About Your Jaw

– before you can learn to relax it. Whether you are working on your voice because you are an actor, a singer, a startup entrepreneur preparing for a 5 minute pitch, or a CEO wanting to improve your presentation skills, you need to be able to relax your jaw. As anyone who has ever tried it, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There are good reasons why we hold tension in our jaw muscles, and there are equally good reasons why it is well worth the effort to let that tension go.  So before you begin, here are 5 important things you need to know about your jaw: 1 – Your jaw is your best friend 2 – Your …

Voice IS Movement

A week or so ago I ran into a young woman who had taken part in some short classes I once ran for a group of performance studies students. There were five hour long classes, not compulsory. Some students came to all five, some would arrive late, others would leave early to finish assignments or attend rehearsals. As far as I am aware, this was their only opportunity for voice training. The young woman apologised that she hadn’t followed up on the voice work because she had spent the past six years “working on my body instead”. I was so shocked in that moment that I had absolutely nothing to say. Thoughts like “I’ve failed!” “I must be a dreadfully …