Like actors, we must practice our voices daily—just as sportsmen do when they train and visit the gym! In my acting studio’s children’s acting classes, we teach some very particular vocal exercises for children. We want to equip our students with the courage and clarity to speak their minds.
By performing exercises and warmups on a consistent basis, actors gain greater versatility and have more creative options when it comes to character development. The following are four exercises that kid performers can attempt.
1. Increase your capacity for inhalation
We teach all of our students to breathe from the lower region of their tummies, using a technique called diaphragmatic breathing. It is critical to relax and breathe deeply rather than shallowly from your chest. This will aid in maintaining your voice and projecting it across a room. All actors, but especially stage actors and singers, require diaphragmatic breathing.
2. Contract those facial muscles
As an actor, it is critical to warm up your face in order to aid your voice. An excellent approach to warm up your face is to perform what we call the “Big Face/Little Face” routine. To begin, actually make a large face—raise your brows, open your eyes, open your mouth, and stick out your tongue as far as possible. Truly extend that tongue. It’s going to feel foolish, but it’s going to be so much fun! Then, by closing your eyes and scrunching your nose and lips together, you may scrunch your face up and create a “little face.” Repeat both of these expressions several times to warm up your face and stretch out your tongue.
3. Increase range
One of the most enjoyable methods to increase your range is to sing along to your favorite melodies and practice using various sections of your voice. Additionally, you can practice “sirening,” which is when you hum from the lower part of your voice up to the top portion of your voice and then back down to the lower part of your voice (making a sound similar to that of a police car siren). You can “siren” with a variety of different voice consonants, such as “n,” “v,” or “th” (to name a few). Additionally, you can perform this practice using vowel sounds.
4. It’s all about the language
Additionally, there are voice exercises that you may take to improve your diction! Diction refers to the process of ensuring that you pronounce words clearly—that you make all of the essential vowel and consonant sounds in order for your audience to understand you. To improve your diction, you should push your tongue out while you’re speaking text. To begin, locate a passage of text—any passage of text. Then, extend your tongue slightly, but only between your teeth. Pronounce a sentence while retaining your tongue and allowing your teeth or lips to fall on your tongue for each consonant.
Take note of how each word requires more effort to pronounce (by the way, this should feel goofy and enjoyable—this is simply an exercise.) After completing the practice, immediately begin speaking the text normally. Do you notice a difference? Due to the additional effort required to enunciate all of the words with your tongue hanging out, your diction will be considerably more exact and crisp.
As usual, have fun while you’re learning and improving and striving to be the best actor possible. Contact us for more information about our acting classes.