COVID Crankiness Can Hurt Your Vocal Delivery

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on October 13, 2020

Crankiness and boredom can mean the death of a vibrant vocal delivery, and many of us are getting worn out by this new life of continuous pandemic news. But whether you’re a voiceover person or a broadcaster, you have to keep your delivery fresh and interesting. Lots of you found last month’s blog post interesting so I want to give you some more ways to pump up your delivery.

First, don’t let the ends of your sentences trail off because it gives the impression of boredom and a lack of energy.  A tip I give clients is to always try and make the last word in your sentence as strong as the first word. Keep good energy in your voice all the way to the end of each sentence. Imagine the words in bold just as they are in the above sentence. You can mark them on your script yourself by underlining or bolding them as a reminder.

Also, if you’re doing articulation warm-up exercises regularly before tracking or anchoring you may have gotten bored with the same old phrases day after day.

Before I list some new phrases to practice, let’s do a quick review of their benefits.

The vocal mechanism is almost all muscle, especially the articulators, which include the lips, the tongue, the jaw, and the teeth (okay, the teeth aren’t muscle).  In the same way we stretch and warm up our leg muscles before running, we should warm up our vocal muscles before voicing.

Some of the best sounds to use to warm up are called “plosives” or “stops” because they each require a burst of air for their production.  Plosives in our language are /t/ /d/  /p/ /b/ and /k/ /g/.

If you hold your hand in front of your mouth, you should feel a puff of air as you say any of these sounds. Try it.  Hold your hand about three inches from your lips and make a “p” sound several times.  Do you feel the air hitting your hand?

Here are some new phrases to use to warm up.  Begin by exaggerating the plosive sounds.  Really blast the air out on the plosives.  That will warm up your articulators the quickest.  Use these warm-up phrases every day before voicing, and they might help break any bad habits of sloppy articulation that are creeping in.

  • Pat sat flat.
  • Heat the meat.
  • Ted had lead.
  • Bed spread
  • Pop the top.
  • Deep sleep
  • Rob will sob.
  • Grab a crab.
  • Kink the link.
  • Took a look.
  • Snug as a bug.
  • Big pig.

 

 

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