Written by Nickie Fleming in Exercise
Viewed by 122 readers since 05-17-2009
The voice we get at birth is God-given, true, but there are ways to improve it. Nobody is born a singer, or a narrator, or a voice artist. When your desire is to perform professionally, you need to train your voice to modulate and vary. The development of your vocal intonation and diction can be a life-long task, but you can already improve the quality of your speaking voice in a short time, by way of some simple exercises.
A first exercise is humming. It is quite easy to do and improves your voice. First you have to speak a sentence in your normal voice. Then you must hum for about five minutes. You should hum in a way that your lips will vibrate. You can hum high, then low. Then speak that sentence again and you will find that there is a clearer, more forward sound. This is the natural sound and placement of your voice.
Secondly, we can do some yawn exercises. For these, you must yawn with sound. Then you open your mouth and throat as if you are yawning and repeat any word with ‘oo’ sound (like good, mood, wood) three times, as low-pitched as possible. You’ll feel the ‘oo’ coming from your chest because this vowel opens your throat. Then, with the throat open in that position, say three times a word with ‘i’ sound (nice, ice, …) Change to saying ‘oo’ again, and then ‘i’. This exercise is meant to take the shrillness out of you voice. You can follow this up with some facial stretching (smile, relax) and end with some head rolls. A relaxed face and neck are necessary for a relaxed, assertive voice.
A third exercise can be to work on the t’s. We all assume that our pronunciation is clear enough for normal conversation, but we’d be surprised how it would sound if we are talking in public. Lots of people pronounce ‘t’ as ‘d’, like ‘notice’ which becomes ‘nodice’. There is a simple technique that singers use, which you can also practice. They often repeat the phrase: ‘The tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips.’ Repeat this sentence a few times, and increase the speed of doing so, but concentrate on keeping each of the words clear and distinct.
Exercise four is to work on your breathing. Yoga comes in very handy here, as it plays an important role in keeping your throat and voice healthy. You must learn how to relax, because if you are anxious your breathing will be tight and the quality of your voice will suffer from it. So sit down, lean forward and place your forearms on your knees. Then take deep, slow breaths through your mouth. Expand your waistline while you breathe, but do not raise your shoulders. Then sit back straight and later on repeat the exercise.
Another breathing exercise is to stand straight with the arms relaxed at your side. Then inhale through your nose, with the throat open. As your breathe in, count to four slowly and then raise your arms until they meet over your head. Lower them again and exhale with a hissing sound.