The voice as an instrument

“I have never heard a ‘bad’ voice… every human voice has thrilling potential waiting to be discovered and unleashed.”

Patsy Rodenburg

Woman with trumpetHow many times have you heard someone say, “I hate it when I hear myself on my answerphone message or get to see myself on video!”?  Almost everyone feels strange about this yet only a very few people ever bother to train and develop the power of this persuasive communication tool – the voice.

The voice is an instrument each of us possesses.  It is housed by our body and produced and projected using its physical structure and our minds. If you want to have a reliable voice then, like a winning athlete, you should train it to keep it strong, flexible, expressive and free.

The three key elements to focus on are breath, posture and projection.

1.  Breath:

  • Breathe deeply and normally: surprisingly when you are nervous you can forget to do this properly.
  • Take a deep breath between sentences: this aids relaxation and allows time for your audience to absorb your ideas and for you to organise your thoughts.
  • Correct supported breath improves your ability to send your messages fluently: sentences broken by nervous breaths risk being confusing for your listener.

2.  Posture

  • Make sure you stand or sit in a comfortable but upright position: this ensures your voice can find a way out without struggling.
  • Relax and banish tension: this is especially true for the jaw, neck, shoulders or chest, as tension in these area restricts the freedom of the sounds you make and decreases your expressive ability.
  • Keep your head high: this enables you to make frequent eye-contact – looking at your audience involves your listener and inspires confidence.

3.  Projection

  • Open your mouth properly when you speak: if the way out for the voice is closed or restricted, the sound is trapped inside you and hard to hear.
  • Smile as or before you speak: this really does enhance the warmth of your vocal tone and allows your voice to reflect your feelings.
  • Match the volume to the circumstances: there is no need to shout if you speak clearly but for larger audiences make sure they can hear you at the back.

The Training Box recommends …
Patsy Rodenburg’s books and audiotapes can be found on Amazon.

 

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