A Simple Vocal Development Exercise to Strengthen Vocal Expression
This e-class by N J Howell
Additional Acting Articles:
What is Good Acting?
Crying on Cue
What is Subtext?
This is part 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.
This vocal development exercise was part of a larger vocal development class I took in New York years ago. It was much more involved in the class but, for the purposes of simplicity and a good tool to develop the muscles that support strong voice, here is a simplified version:
1. Lay on your back with mouth open as far as is comfortable, with arms extended on floor over your head.
2. Take a deep breath in.
3. Start to slowly and evenly lift your upper body, as if doing a slow sit-up and, as you begin to rise, make a tone.
What is important is to go as slow as you can, causing all your core area to work on the way up. Also important, keep the tone as consistent as you can. When I first started doing this, it was a challenge. I'd find myself running out of breath or using more breath at weaker areas on the way down. Continue the tone all the way up and over, as you bring your hands to touch your toes (or toward the toes, anyway, if you are less flexible, like me!).
4. As you touch your toes, take a deep breath in.
5. Making the same tone as before, begin to slowly and evenly go back down to lying position on the floor.
As before, it's important to keep trying to keep your voice as consistent as you can, all the way back down again. If you run out of breath before you are lying down completely, your core needs strengthening so you can project and speak with deep resonance. Doing this exercise every day works wonders for vocal resonance, not to mention it helps with abdominal toning.
This simple vocal exercise will strengthen your abdominal muscles for better projection. After you've done it a few times, to warm up the voice, start lowering the tone bit by bit, as low as you can go, with each sit up. Getting your abs in shape can be considered a bonus perk!
The exercises for the voice are similar to those for the physical body and have the same objectives: to free you from limitations, and to increase awareness and accessibility. The stronger the vocal instrument, the more flexibility and richness to the vocal tone.
Recommended vocal training for singers, actors and public speakers
Online Acting Lessons for Level One