As a voiceover artist the importance of caring for your voice can hardly be overstated. Your voice is your career and your income and as such must be treated with great care. This article looks to give some top tips to budding and seasoned voiceover artists alike. It is never too late to implement some regime changes that could extend your career and keep your voice in tip top condition.
- Keep hydrated. If you do not drink enough fluids your voice will be effected. Hydration is a massive role in healthy vocal chords, so throughout the day keep drinking warm and cold drinks. In summer you should drink more as we sweat more and air conditioning is extremely drying. Meanwhile in winter, central heating can also have a drying effect on the voice. Just pay even more attention to hydration in these seasons and also when travelling – the air circulating on aeroplanes is notoriously drying. Also remember that cold water just before speaking is not a good idea as very cold liquids can cause the vocal chords to become tense.
- Keep that strain off your vocal chords by refraining from shouting or whispering. Maintaining your natural voice whenever possible is a good idea. This is found by repeating common sounds like “uh huh” several times. Where this falls, it is likely that your voice has found its natural register.
- Avoid excessive throat clearing. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts as every time you clear your throat your body produces protective mucus which gives you the urge to clear your throat and so on! A little sip of water can suppress this urge to clear one’s throat and is much healthier.
- Avoid getting stressed. Tension in the mind can cause you to raise your voice, speak with irritation from the back of the throat and neglect your vocal chords. Try some mindfulness exercises to help you stay in the moment and not dwell on events in the past or future. Stress can also lead to teeth-grinding at night which can cause clenched jaw syndrome. Clenched jaw is bad news for vocal health and can cause your voice to sound muffled. You might feel like you are swallowing sounds and making extra effort to be heard.
- Avoid acid reflux. Acid reflux is one disorder that a voiceover artist cannot afford to get. Avoiding certain ‘trigger foods could help protect you against acid reflux.
Trigger foods include:
- Spicy foods.
- Acidic foods, like tomatoes and citrus.
- Coffee or any caffeinated beverage.
- Carbonated beverages.
- Avoid tongue root tension. Practice sticking your tongue out frequently and keep your jaw and tongue soft when exercising your voice by anchoring with your body instead of gripping on your tongue to reach those high notes. Tongue root tension can lead to a restricted range and possibly an idiosyncratic ‘wobble’ or wide vibrato/bleat – which is a big problem for theatre actors and voiceover artists alike.