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A Tense Body Creates a Tense Voice

The new year of 2021 does not seem to be letting up in the stress we felt all through 2020.  We’ve got new mutations of the virus proliferating, questions about what’s safe to do as the vaccine rolls out, and political tension continuing.  Can all this tension affect your delivery?  It sure can.  Let’s look at how.

There are two areas of the head that harbor lots of tension: the forehead and the neck.

Tension in the forehead is a sign that there’s tension cascading down from there into the jaw and neck. These are places you don’t want it to be.

Wrinkle up your forehead right now and observe how the rest of your head feels. Most likely you will find that your jaw is tenser. If your jaw is tense, it’s going to affect your resonance (the richness and fullness of your voice) as well as your articulation. Want to know more about articulation?  Click here.  To learn more about resonance, click here.

When the tension hits the neck it has the potential to make our pitch rise. Not what you want happening every time you’re in front of a microphone.

The vocal folds (cords) are tiny folds of muscle and ligament in our throats (to watch them at work click here). Adding or reducing tension in the vocal fold area creates our vocal pitch. The greater the tension, the higher the pitch.

I often tell my clients who are television reporters or anchors to watch their work and look at the tendons in their neck. If those tendons look like steel cables, they can be assured that their pitch is elevated.

Want to reduce tension?  Try these simple shoulder rolls: Roll your shoulders, moving both at the same time. Begin by pulling them up toward your ears. From this position, rotate them back so that your shoulder blades are coming together. Now relax them down. Finish by rotating them forward as if trying to make your shoulders touch in front. Continue this rotation 4 times. Change direction and rotate 4 times. This simple exercise done a few times a day will eliminate tension from your upper body.

My new e-book, BROADCASTER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE, is available for for instant download for only $4.99.  You’ll get great information in it on how to deal with stress and keep your body healthy so you can sound your best!  And don’t be fooled by “broadcaster’s” in the title.  It’s great for voiceover artists, too.  Ck it out on the “Stress Guide” tab above.


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