Singing animalsWhen you are an actor, your voice is one of your most important tools. 

You need to look after it, and make sure it is in top condition.  Here's why ...  

Can you speak loudly enough to fill a theatre? 

On stage, you need to be able to speak loudly and clearly without effort so that the audience can hear and understand you. 

Can you sustain your voice so you don't lose it?

As an actor, you might be called upon to do many performances in a week.  You need to be able to use your voice without straining or damaging it, so that it is always strong.  Actors can't work if they lose their voices!

Can you change your voice to speak differently from usual?

Can you speak higher or lower? How about faster or more slowly, or emotionally, or in different accents ... ?

Without even thinking about the words, the way you speak tells the audience an enormous amount about the character you are playing.  Did you know that just to speak a word, you use three quarters of your body?  A voice can give away where a character grew up and where he has been, his upbringing, his age, his health, his attitude to life and his emotions at any given time. 

You need to be in control of your voice, and to be able to make it do exactly what you want it to do.  Then you will be able to create the best possible characters. 

Listen to the voices of the characters in your favourite animated movies.  The actors behind these characters train hard to be able to create these voices, make them interesting and varied, and still keep them recognisable as those particular characters for the entire movie.

Training Your Voice

Your voice is produced by using muscles, nerves, body tissues, fluids and cavities in your body.  Just like any other part of your body, you can improve and control your voice by exercising correctly.   A good actor aims to become a vocal athlete!

Even if you were born with a beautiful voice, training it will help you to be able to vary the sounds your voice makes to make it much more interesting.  It will also help you to use your voice properly so you don't strain it or lose it from over using it when you are in a play.  It is very important, because some singers and actors who don't train can damage their voices by overusing them in the wrong way. 

Types of Vocal Exercises

There are lots of different kinds of exercises you can do to improve the quality and ability of your voice.  Breathing exercises help you to control the flow of air over your vocal cords.  Tongue twisters help your articulation, allowing you to pronounce sounds clearly and correctly.  Exercising the muscles of your face and mouth helps you to feel where and how the sounds are being made and giving you control over them.  Other exercises improve your range (how low to how high you can speak) , help your resonance (the quality of your voice), strengthen your vocal cords, and give your voice flexibility.

If you are serious about training your voice, you should go and see a professional voice teacher, as some exercises can cause more harm than good if they are done regularly but not done properly.

To get you started gently and safely, here is an awesome set of easy vocal exercises to help strengthen your voice