Compiled by Thembi Zikalala| Actor’s voice tips courtesy of Anelisa Phewa

Voice is one the most important carrier of emotion, and expresses feelings unimaginable through range, expression and power. It needs no dialogue but it does need care…

1. Know the voice

I urge actors to know their voice clean without emotion, like a gymnast on an empty mat. Use good posture and breathe properly when speaking. Limber up the voice and body with vocal exercises. Adopt a simple hum at a good medium range at the beginning of your warm up.

2. Change Tones

Changing tones is a good way to explore range and what the voice can do. I recommend aligning the voice with musical exercises such as musical scales:

do – re – mi – fa – so – la – ti – do

Each tonal change has a weight and an emotional key that helps the voice resonate at those frequencies without context or headspace analysis. This channels you to feel it first.

3. Sing away!

Singing is the adoption of story, linear progression and emotional transfer. It uses all aspects needed in acting and vocal performances that includes:

  • Breath support, emotional placement, dramatic contextualization, vulnerability and performance.
  • A warm voice that is ready to sing is confident and can embody any emotional context actors should face on their characters journey.

4. Voice Care Supplements

Drink loads of water and keep your vocal cords lubricated as often as you can throughout the day, especially during rehearsals and performances. Drinking room temperature water is most beneficial, ice-cold water tightens up your vocal cords and the surrounding muscles in the throat. Avoid drinking caffeine as it can dry out your vocal cords, leaving your voice parched and irritated. Drinking warm water/ tea with honey is another soothing remedy that helps actors get through a performance.

Eating plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin A, E and C will keep your oral mucous membranes healthy. Avoid spicy foods if you are prone to heartburn, this could damage your voice.

Get “BUZZY” and HUM. Humming daily is one of the most important habits the actor should adopt, the tone is emerging from the nasal passage and not the mouth. Be relaxed, the basic principle is to resonate the voice with gently closed but not tight lips. Avoid tightness of the lips, jaw, tongue, facial muscles, neck or shoulders. Focus on the buzz sensation and relax any unnecessary tension.

5. Voice Care Wellness

For better voice work outcomes and ailing voices under duress and scratchy throats consume this concoction of lemon juice, grated garlic, ginger, and onion boiled and drank cooled.

Mouthwash that contains alcohol is likely to dry out your throat, gargling with warm water and salt solution is the best solution.

Make sure you get plenty of sleep, physical fatigue can have a negative effect on the voice.

Do not speak when the voice is hoarse or burned, avoid voice overuse. The voice heals in silence, which requires discipline and focus – it’s hard not to speak; so TAKE CARE.

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