Since healthy vocalism is essential in voice over or singing, how do you keep it in good shape? Vocal exercises help, but how can you be sure you’re doing them correctly? How do you know which technique or methodology works?
Even if you don’t plan to pursue singing as a career, having or practicing musicality will help tremendously. Monotonous tones are not exactly favored in some areas of voice over, unless the script requires it. Voice training benefits the actor is countless ways to increase vocal ability and well-being; however, you want a teacher who understands the instrument and not just hearing you sing. The concepts used in the Swedish/Italian School of Singing have been proven to be extraordinarily effective for vocalists and in repairing vocal damage.
Sadly, only a few places online seem to supply good information regarding the history and overview of the Swedish/Italian School (which can be applied to all musical styles), but these days none more so than that of maestro David L. Jones who has spent more than 30 years researching, documenting and distributing the traditions and vocal exercises.
He shares a brilliant amount of wisdom in articles he posts on a regular basis on his website (http://www.voiceteacher.com) which is more than worth the read. The hardest part is finding anyone nearby who teaches the same philosophies.
So much goes into posture, breathing, the throat muscles, even the placement of the tongue appropriately. Yes, it can get technical at times, but the research is worth it.
Now sadly, in voice over, depending on markets like animation and video games, scripts can be quite demanding of voice actors and their instruments. Warm ups and/or various vocal exercises done for say 10-15 minutes each day will strengthen the vocal chords so that they’re prepared for long hours of recording and help reduce discomfort in the throat when certain reads need shouting, screaming, high voices, low voices, creature voices and so on. A great CD made by David L. Jones introduces fundamental concepts like posture exercises, breath management, healthy adduction of the vocal chords, pharyngeal vowel exercises, jaw/larynx function, jaw/facial posture, and more. On the other side are vocalization exercises to practice daily which are most recommended.
Physical exercise deserves prompt attention as well, but that will be discussed in a later post.
Here’s a great video about how David L. Jones came upon the concepts from the Swedish/Italian School of Singing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1q4AUoXoj0)
One of his students also has a youtube channel devoted to showing instructional videos based on techniques and concepts taught to him. (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5ayUafSkg7pGhgq7wqkCQ1V9l1Yw0KFu)
On your journey to becoming a better voice over artist, read the articles by Mr. Jones and see where you stand with your voice. Could it be better? Stronger? More relaxed? Healthier?