Okay. I’m good at making rules summaries and (somewhat) custom character sheets. I’m pretty good at brainstorming story ideas. I’m even pretty damned good at performance. But one thing I’m not good at? Taking care of my voice.
It’s a rare session that I don’t finish with a hoarse, somewhat sore throat, and given that I’m going to be starting another fortnightly campaign soon on top of the existing monthly one AND playing in one regular game and an upcoming one shot, I think it’s well due time that I started taking care of my voice better.
The Google Brain
What are we without Google nowadays? A quick search for vocal exercises yielded the following web pages:
- Vocal Warm Ups: The 1-2-3-4 of warming up! (Voice Over Voice Actor)
- Voice Exercises for Actors (New York Film Academy)
- The 6 Best Vocal Warm Ups that Work Wonders (Voices.com)
- Vocal Warm Ups (Stage Milk)
Aggregating their advice gave me the following notes:
Garbage In, Garbage Out
I should make sure I’m feeding my instrument properly by feeding myself properly: Lots of water to start with (which I’m already doing, although it results in lots of toilet breaks), as well as avoiding fried food (not to hard) and dairy (a little more tricky).
Move the Body
It’s tempting to view the lungs and larynx in isolation, but really, like anything else, the whole body needs to be operating right for those to operate right. Each site mentions not just physical warm-ups, but posture exercises to ensure I’m holding my body correctly.
Stretching the jaw muscles and, in particular, yawning are cited as helpful too.
NOTE: Spinal rolls should only be done when we’ve been shown the proper technique. It was covered in acting classes when I was younger, but almost two decades have passed since my last one, so I’d prefer to wait until someone trained can show me.
Each page gives several vocal exercises, from repeating simple plosive noises to running up and down the range on the vowel sounds. After that, it’s tongue twisters and the like.
Asking for Advice
The fun bit is, as a game master and someone who’s dipped his toe into voice over work, I’m already connected to a good bunch of folks who know their stuff. I reached out on Twitter to some live streamers, who were gracious enough to offer a few tips:
Investing in a Trainer
Sure, you can learn anything off YouTube nowadays, but getting my form checked by a professional could well ward off any mistakes from trying generally recommended techniques that don’t suit me. Thankfully, there’s a local business, Cairns Voice Studio, that could well help with all this. I’ve known about them for a while and I think it’s high time I reached out!
Carving the Time Out
All these notes taken and advice gained are great, but the mean nothing if I’m not implementing them, quite likely every day and not just before a session. Trick: I need to integrate this into my daily routine, not just before a game session.
I may even need to start getting up earlier…