Vocal Health Hash
In a human body combine the following ingredients:
1 Script (or more to taste)
Tossed gently around by the client, then whisked away until there is nothing left!
Protecting your vocal instrument is another crucial part of becoming a voice talent. You must have a routine as a voice actor. Vocal and Physical Exercise, Training, Marketing, Auditioning, Voicing jobs. This should be your daily routine. Much like a job you can take some time off on the weekends or whenever works best to suit your schedule, but there needs to be routine. Routine will do a few different things. Keeps your business moving forward and successful, makes everything a habit so it all gets done, it develops and protects your vocal instrument and keeps you in shape!
Perhaps you’ve already done all the training and vocal exercises there are. That doesn’t mean you should stop. You should maintain vocal exercises 4-5 times a week, just like any gym routine. This will protect your instrument from damage. You may choose characters that are not straining on your throat, chest or other parts of your body, but there will be times when clients will push the envelope and ask for more than the human voice should do. Especially you men with your baritones and gravel textures. Damage can be found in any genre of VO so don’t assume that because you don’t do ‘animation type work’ that you don’t have to protect your instrument, because you do.
First of all get to know your instrument.
– Know the difference between strain and pain in your voice. When it’s painful stop. Don’t push it.
– Avoid lounges/bars or places where you have to speak loudly the night before a session. This usually puts damage on the instrument, giving you a very hoarse sound.
– Know when to say “I don’t think I can do that, can we try something else” when you know it’s too much.
– Keep yourself germ free as often as you can by washing your hands frequently. This will help to prevent colds and viruses.
– Where proper clothing when outside, especially hats. You must do everything you can to avoid colds/viruses.
– Be careful of Cold (air Conditioning) to hot climates. If it’s too drastic of a temp it can affect your voice.
– Avoid clearing your throat often – this is harmful to the instrument.
– Excessive yelling is damaging
– Excessive whispering can be damaging too.
– Avoid long conversations or excited conversations prior to sessions. You can tire your voice and it will show.
– Avoid living near an environment that brings on allergies
– Know what time of day/year that works best for your voice.
The voice doesn’t lie. We can hear whatever is going on in your instrument. We may or may not be able to tell you the cause but we can hear the result. That’s why Voice Acting is one of the most talented forms of acting there is (in my opinion). You cannot lie in voice. We are transparent, so taking care of our instrument is extremely important to our success. There are many vocal exercises out there. Research and be careful, not all of them are right. Know the difference when something is sore and straining and when it’s full on pain and too much.
Look for my continued article titled: Working Through Vocal Damage and Colds. Vocal tips to get you through the day!
Until next time
Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions
All my best
VO Chef Deb (aka Deb Munro)