Back to the Basics for 2014

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on January 1, 2014

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The start of a new year is a great time to get back to vocal basics.  These are old tried and true exercises that can improve any on-air person’s voice.

These exercises are taken from the fifth edition of my ebook, Broadcast Voice Handbook.  If you’d like to have more exercises and lots of information on voice, check out the Bookstore page to download a copy.

Now let’s get started:

      • Put one hand on your abdominal area just below your waistband.  Now take a deep inhalation, pushing your hand out as you inhale.  Sustain any of the following vowel sounds at a conversational volume as you exhale:

“ah” as in spa

“awe” as in caw

“u” as in two

Time each vowel production.  Stop vocalization when the sound begins to waver or sound weak.  At first, your times may be in the ten to fifteen second range.  Try to build your control of exhalation by adding a few seconds each time until you can sustain a vowel for twenty to thirty seconds on one exhalation.  Keep a record of your progress.

        • Next, tear off the corner of a facial tissue.  Stand about 6 inches from a wall  and inhale so your abdomen expands as you did above.  Exhale slowly and try to hold the piece of facial tissue against the wall with the force of your exhalation.  Feel your abdominal area squeezing in as you exhale for as long as possible.
        • Keeping your hand on your abdomen, take a deep inhalation.  With your exhalation, vocalize any of the lists below.  Make certain that you do not take in any additional small gulps of air.  You should be measuring your breath support by exhaling and vocalizing on only one inhalation.  Keep a record of how far you go each time.

•Repeat the days of the week.
•Count by ones or tens.
•Repeat the months of the year.
•Say the alphabet.

You can watch me instruct a client in breathing exercises by clicking here.  All these exercises will help you build better breath support. Make them part of your daily routine.

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