Acting Techniques for the Voice
This is acting lesson number 3, of the Empowered Spirit / Power Connection Online Acting Class.
If you have reached this page directly, from a search engine search of link, you will need to visit
the acting class information page first and complete the intro and first acting lessons before doing this one on the actor's voice.
The exercises here are not for elocution, not to help make you a better speaker but to enhance resonance and emotional range in your natural speaking voice. While proper diction, enunciation, pronounciation and developing the ability to eliminate regional dialects when roles don't call for them all serve the actor in certain roles, in my opinion, there nothing is more important than an emotionally free and accessible voice. Just as the body may be made more limber through stretching, yoga and exercise, the voice may become more a carrier or emotional truth for the actor.
Vocal Acting Techniques - The Actor's Voice
This e-class, " by N J Howell
Additional Acting Articles / Resources:
What Makes Good Acting
Crying on Cue
One-on-One Acting Coaching
Picking a Monologue
Any actor who is serious about the craft should do vocal work on a regular basis. The voice is a wonderful instrument of expression but only to the extent that emotions are allowed to ride upon the melody of sound. Classes in vocal technique, singing, diction, and dialects are a must. However, you can have the best diction in the world and if your voice doesn't carry emotion, you won't be believable.
The voice is a reed instrument and should be capable of many different nuances in exrpession. For example, if you sound the same when your character is choked up over some traumatic event as you do when they are at peace, what is there to watch? The audience wants to feel what the character feels and one way they can feel that is thru the vibration of the voice in response to emotional input so, in addition to the standard voice lessons, work with allowing emotional expression in your voice by rehearsing different scenes and noticing your voice in them.
Everything that has been said about physical body limitations in our last lesson also applies to the voice. Just as emotional restriction in your formative years can have a restricting impact on your body and the way it moves, so can it impact the ability of your voice to express fully. If you were not encouraged to express yourself freely as a child, you may have a voice that is functioning far below it s potential for strength and expression. On the other hand, if you always had to yell to get attention, you may find it impossible to speak softly with the same authority.
Ways to Increase Vocal Power:
Pay attention to your own voice in the days to come, and to the voices of those around you, as an acting exercise and given that level of daily attention. You will begin to see that personality is indicated quite definitely by the tone, volume and rhythm of the voice. This type of acting exercise is valuable research for developing character voices, but is also necessary to bring awareness to your own verbal melody, or lack of melody. The purpose is to develop a voice that is capable of expressing many personalities; any personality that you desire.
An actor must become a master of observation. Learn to observe your own voice, body movements and emotions in real situations and you will be imprinting those memories on your mind for easier use later on when a part calls for that type of memory. Again, realize I am not saying you will recall the memory of the event and relive it. You will recall how your voice sounded and how your body moved, in response to an event and be able to incorporate those actions into the current scene. Wow, what a difference it will make!
Learn to avidly watch others too (of course, one must be discreet....) and notice how the voice changes when someone is getting upset, getting happy, getting nervous, etc. Mentally store these nuances of expression. How do you store nuances of expression? Simply by telling your mind at the time that you want to do so. Get in a habit of doing this. You can also do the same thing with animals. By watching their movements and reactions you can learn wonderful new character traits to incorporate. Ready for the acting lessons for the actor's voice? acting exercises for the voice
Acting in Audio Books: I love listening to audio books for vocal training. When someone creates a story using only their voice, there needs to be emotional resonance for me to care about the story. I don't have the actor's facial expressions and body cues to guide me, only the voice. When I did a one-woman show on Eudora Welty's classic "Why I Live at the PO", I listened to her on tape for days. There were nuances to the comedy that only she knew and I found them in her own voice.