We all know the importance of warming up our voices. It is not only vital if we have an audition or performance that day, but for the ongoing development of vocal range, flexibility and strength.
Warming up our voice should be a daily practice for actors, but sometimes there are things that get in the way. Usually that is time, or motivation, but for many actors, especially those in there 20s/30s who live in shared accommodation, it’s your roommates.
No one wants to be a bad house mate, and especially if you’re living with non-actors they are not going to be very forgiving of your 7am vocal sirens. So we wanted to help out. We are launching a new series of short vocal warm ups to help you get vocally prepped for the day, without being a nuisance.
When you’re warming up in a share house, or any shared living environment the issue is noise. So this warm up is largely focused on working on your voice without making excessive sound.
We collaborated with top voice coach, Amy Hume, to create a short, succinct and beneficial warm up that doesn’t infuriate your room mates. So let’s dive in!
Set up your space…
This warm up does get physical. So create a space in your room or living room where you can work safely. I would avoid any busy shared spaces, ideally you want to be somewhere you won’t get distracted, or embarrassed. Though all the movements are fairly simple, it is important to always be safe. Make sure you have ample room to move freely. None of these exercises are about how far, or high you can go. It’s not a competition. The priority is relaxation and ease.
How to warm up your voice…. In a share house
There’s heaps you can for your voice without making too much noise.
Throughout the exercises, make sure your breath is centred. Allow time for the thought and breath to drop in at the start of each sigh.
1. Physical release – Go through any stretches you like to do. Make sure you don’t hold the breath as you stretch – keep reminding yourself to sigh out.
2. Yawning – this is a great soft palate stretch and opens the throat. When you yawn, keep the tip of the tongue down behind your bottom teeth, and think of yawning horizontally (into a wide smile) rather than vertically. You can yawn with or without making sound.
3. Open your ribs – to ensure they are flexible and ready to move. Take one arm up and over your body, breathe in and out into your side ribs for about 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
4. Arm swings – this is a great way to activate the breath. Take one arm forward and one arm back, and gently bounce the knees as you swing your arms forward and back. Release the breath on a firm, full “F” sound. Feel how the movement of the arms energised the breath. Try this on a firm “V” and “Z” (if you’re comfortable making a little sound).
5. Whisper your text – on a complete whisper, not a very quiet voice. This will energise your articulators and ensure you’re staying connected to breath.
6. Energise your body – shake your muscles, pat yourself down, jump up and down. Your physical energy can be redirected into your voice.
7. Add any voice exercise you like – as long as you’re connected to thought and breath, it doesn’t matter how much sound you’re making.
Remember, warming up your voice is about clarity and intention, and not about volume.