Tutorial on How to Improve Your Voice for Actors

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You can improve your voice whether you are a stage actor, do voice over characterizations or act in the TV and film industry. The key is to develop your own warm up routine to prepare your voice for performance. Your voice is affected by your breathing and how tense you are. It is even affected by your level of confidence. Trying various vocal warm up exercises, learning what affects your throat, and experimenting with projecting your voice in a large, open space can help to improve your voice for acting.

  • Practice relaxation exercises before acting. Your voice is less restricted when you are relaxed. To help relax your jaw and face, make yourself yawn by opening your mouth wide and inhaling. Stretch your face and mouth muscles while inhaling and then sigh as you slowly exhale. Relax your whole body by doing the "Shake-out." This involves shaking your hands, arms, shoulders and legs. It releases tension, gets your blood flowing and releases inhibitions.

  • Loosen up your tongue when you are going to be saying a lot of tricky phrases when acting. Relax your tongue by sticking it out as far as you can. Then try to touch the bottom of your chin with your relaxed tongue. Next, try reach the tip of your nose with your tongue. Practice saying tongue twisters such as " the lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue" while enunciating clearly.

  • Practice altering the pitch of your voice. Actors should recite their lines in a melodic fashion. This means raising and lowering your pitch for more dramatic moments or specific emphasis as opposed to speaking in a monotone fashion.

    Speaking is just like singing in that it involves pitch. You should use your normal speaking voice as much as possible, however, so that you don't come across as over dramatic.

  • Practice projecting your voice. This is especially important if you are acting in a large theater. Speak as if you want the people in the very last row to hear you without shouting. While saying your lines, breathe from your stomach and avoid breathing from your chest and shoulders. Push your voice up and out starting at your diaphragm and then up through your chest, throat and mouth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Drink a lot of warm water to maintain a minimum amount of throat mucus.
  • Keep your vocal cords healthy by limiting dairy products and alcohol consumption.
  • Smoking will affect your voice, so it's definitely better not to smoke at all.
  • Avoid tea, coffee and other drinks that contain caffeine.
  • Don't drink cold water right before a performance.
  • Avoid rooms with dry air before an acting job.
  • Avoid overusing your voice. If you are performing nightly and have a lead role, be sure to give your voice a rest during the day and drink eight glasses of lukewarm water daily.
  • The more confident you are, the stronger your voice will be.

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  • Photo Credit Adam Taylor/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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