Enhance Your Speaking Voicewith Marina Deestan-Jones
Naturally we must begin with breath.Breath supports the voice, phrasing and the sense of our speechQuite simply for all voice work - you will need enough breath and be able to control it.
During the working day if you feel that your voice is too soft, fades away or simply isnt carrying, phrasing is sometimes difficult, and there is a tendency to snatch breath to complete a sentence or phrase - you are not using your breath in a controlled manner
Careful consideration of how you are breathing and how the outbreath is controlled is essential.
Gentle exercises will strengthen breath support and encourage centred breathing as opposed to shallow, snatched breathing which is not sufficient for effective speech.
Lets go through the process again (it isnt too technical).
Sound is made by vibrating air.
Vocal sound is created when a stream of air passes between the vocal folds (or cords which are located in the throat) causing them to vibrate.
The air flow comes from breath air is taken in through the mouth and nose.
Passes down through the trachea (or windpipe) and into the lungs
Air is drawn to the lungs by the contraction of the dome like diaphragm.
As the diaphragm relaxes, the abdominal muscles work to return breath up to the trachea.
The breath is bellowed by the lungs housed within the ribcage, and gives the voice power and propulsion. Consider how when you are winded or out of the breath you cannot speak.
Aim to speak from your stomach not from your mouth use your diaphragm
This gives you more power and will support the voice, phrasing and the sense of your speech particularly if speaking to groups out of doors.
The action of the diaphragm produces a supply of breath in the centre of the body, at the base of the ribs. This is centred breathing and the abdominal muscles will power the flow of breath through the larynx.
Practice breathing in through nose and out through mouth.
Avoid snatching shallow breaths in mouth and chest (this causes tension)
Exercises to strengthen breath control
It is always important to do breathing exercises slowly and calmly or else one can become dizzy. STOP if this happens.
1 .With hands touching lower ribs breathe deeply feeling the outward extension of the ribs. Check that there is no upward, unnecessary shoulder movement.
Repeat exhaling on numbers 1 5Repeat one number each time until you can do 1 20 without effort.
2. Sit on a chair and lean forward, elbows on knees and rest chin in handsLet your breath out and wait until you feel the need to breatheAllow your in-breath to fill your lungs feel the easy expansion in the lower back and abdomen.Release the breath on a steady shhhhhhh
3. Sit comfortably but upright Allow the shoulders to relax and dropBreathe easily in and outFeel the same expansion in the lower back and the abdomen.
4. Stand and think tall as before - breathe easily in and outAs you breathe out your body will naturally become narrower in the middleAnd widen as you breathe inRelease the breath in a comfortable sigh
Exercises to connect breath with voice
1. Release any breath - breathe outWhen you feel ready let the breath in easilyBreathe out on a soft ffffff feeling the breath as it passes through teeth and lips
On exhalations, breathe out on a firm vvvvvvvFeel the vibrations around teeth and mouth.
Now breathe out on a continuous ssssssFeel the air escaping
Now breathe out on a continuous zzzzz Feel your tongue tingle.
Then breathe with words
1. Use one breath for each line, Think what the words mean Allow enough breath to speak words positively.
Welcome, hello, how lovely to see youWelcome, hello how lovely to see you, come on in and take a seatWelcome, hello, how lovely to see you, come on in and take a seat, we have some guests Im sure youll just love to meet
With practice you should have enough breath to say the entire line with expression
2. Speak the months of the year on a single breath in the following ways.Aim for an easy rhythm in breathing, speaking and replenishing the breath.
Starting softly and getting louderStarting louder and getting softerAs if the whole list were one long questionAs if you were very crossAs if you were delivering the friendliest message to someone youre really fond of.
Remember,If you focus on the message and the mood you wish to convey to your listeners, you will have enough breath (in other words, let the words and the sense behind them, do much of the work for you!) _______________________
Exercises to connect breath with voiceThen breathe with words