Athletes are fanatical about taking care of their bodies and staying healthy, because they know that losing their health could put them out of the game forever. Musicians treat their instruments with tender love, because if their instrument breaks, they’ll be out of work until it can be fixed. As a voice-over actor, you need to take care of your own instrument – your voice – so it can keep earning you a living for years to come. Here are our top tips for maintaining a healthy voice:
Hydrating your vocal chords keeps your throat lubricated, and drinking water flushes away any particles or other irritants that might be preventing you from performing at your peak. We recommend 4-6 glasses of water a day. Keep a water bottle with you all day and just sip whenever you remember. And always drink between takes to help keep you hydrated through a performance.
You’d think all breathing was pretty much the same, but you’d be wrong. Learning how to breathe effectively for performance will help you to develop muscle control to better use your instrument – your voice. Most people don’t breathe effectively – taking shallow breaths into the chest and using their intercostal muscles to inhale and exhale. As an actor, you need to learn how to better control your breathing. Breathe deep into your diaphragm, and slowly exhale, letting out a slow stream of air. Practice this several times a day until it becomes a natural way to breathe for you. Breathing deep like this improves your ability to control your volume and vocalise long-run sentences. You’ll also develop a rich, resonant quality to your voice and infuse more nuance and attitude into your performance.
Eat the good stuff
Certain foods can irritate your vocal chords and disrupt an otherwise perfect performance. Before a performance, avoid caffeine, fizzy drinks, fatty meats, chocolate and other sweets, alcohol, high-acidic fruits and vegetables (orange, grapefruit, tomatoes, and cranberries), pasta, bananas, nuts, and spicy foods, as these can cause an increase in stomach acid or mucus that can affect your performance.
Try eating grapes or a green apple before a VO session as this can help break down the saliva in your mouth and reduce the sound of mouth clicks. Looking after your most valuable instrument – your voice – will help ensure you get the pick of voice-over actor jobs for many years to come.
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