Voice Projection Exercises
If you want to be heard, then voice projection exercises are essential. You may be a singer or a speaker, either way; you need to be able to project your voice.
“Sorry what did you say?” or “Sing up mate I can’t hear you!” Comments like these can knock your confidence! Voice projection exercises should also be called confidence building exercises!
The wrong way to go about projecting your voice it just to shout it out. This is still the way it is instructed unfortunately in a lot of singing schools “pull in your belly and try to shout to the other end of the room!” Not cool, as often – in my experience with singers and speakers are instructed to do this they push closing the throat and hurting their voices.
In the following projection exercises, I will show you how to project your voice safely. This will enhance your natural tone and make it sound real nice!
I know that you have probably heard this a million times, but that is because it’s true. Bad posture will stop you from projecting your voice.
The area that we will be looking at for this exercise is the chest. Start by counting in your normal speaking voice as high as you can on one breath. As you do this, put one hand on the sternum and gently lift it up – without arching your lower back.
Play around with this a little; you should find at some point that the sound improves and that your throat feels like it’s not working so hard.
If you are struggling with this, then imagine that you are a puppet on a string and that the string is attached to the crown of your head pulling you up to the sky.
Any posture exercise that you know of will work with this exercise if the posture is corrected. I have a link on posture here if you are interested: http://vocalcoachdylan.com/posture-for-singing/
So counting and adjusting the posture is a great way to check that your posture is in the best position for singing and speaking. While also helping your voice to project.
If you didn’t notice that much difference that’s cool. I guarantee that over the next voice projection exercises you will notice a difference, but if you don’t make sure to record your voice down before and after. Then have a good listen. Part of becoming a great singer is the ability to listen critically. This listening skill takes time.
Activate your Breathing
The breathing muscles are the motor, the air flow for the voice. Without any air flow, there would be nothing to get the vocal folds (vocal cords) moving, as a result, there would be no sound.
A great exercise to wake up your breathing muscles is the pulsing ss.
Start by saying the line of a song that you like or just speaking a sentence. “Hello, how does my voice feel?”
Now do the following:
1. Start by saying the word sea. Notice how you say the ss and hold it.
2. Put one hand back on your chest – as you did in the first exercise – so that you can check for good chest posture to make sure it doesn’t drop down.
3. Now make the ss shape from step 1 and while keeping the chest up (step 2) start to, slowly make an ss sound quietly then gradually getting louder. Start slowly with this then when you have it down start to speed it up; It should sound like an old steam train speeding up when you get it right.
4. Do this for several minutes.
5. Now stop and say your sentence. “Hello, How does my voice feel?”
When done correctly your voice will feel lighter, less effort to speak, more projected ( forward even in front of your mouth)
Another great way to get the voice to project well to use resonance. Remember that resonance is like your personal loud speaker. When you use it correctly, it will amplify your voice for far less effort than it takes to push it.
The problem here is that often when you are used to pushing the voice for projection, then you can feel a little lost when suddenly you are not trying, and your voice is projecting well.
This is when it’s a good idea to record your voice down before you do the exercise and after so that you can hear the difference in the sound. Try to remember how it felt before the exercise and after it so that you can try to sing with the new correct feeling of effortless projection.
The exercise to project your voice is the good old m hum. The m hum is a great way to feel a forward tone. One of the biggest blocks to a forward tone is the pesky tongue; it slips down the back of the throat and blocks of the sound. You will never be able to project your voice in this state. This is where the m hum comes in, by focusing the sound on the lips we are making sure that the back of the tongue is out of the throat.
- Say mum, and keep saying it. You want to get to a point where the m buzzes (resonates) on the lips.
- Now do small sirens with the m hum focused on your lips.
- Finally say your sentence again, and you should notice that the sound is, even more, resonate and forward. Here is a great video on forward tone.
This really is great exercise so use it every time you want a projected forward tone.
Balance gives you a projected voice
Another reason that your voice may not be projecting well is if the balance between the vocal folds and the breath support is incorrect. The balance I am talking about here is the correct energy to sing man!
The m hum from above is good for this, but the best exercise for this balance has to be the lip or tongue trill.
If your diction is sloppy and you mumble, then this will come across in your singing as well. This stops your voice projection. Use a voice recorder to get some valuable feedback on this.
Say a sentence and record it down. Then listen back, and ask yourself could you hear all the consonant, vowels, words clearly? If you aren’t sure, then ask a friend that you trust to have a listen and give you an honest critic.
Also, use a mirror to look for any tension in your face. A good rule of thumb here is if it looks tense it probably is. Believe me; you will know it when you see it!
Don’t be shy!
One of the biggest killers of voice projection is when you are too shy to speak or sing up. You don’t really want anyone to hear you because you think that you might fall over your words or that what you say is not important. Well, it is important enough for you to want to say it so give yourself the best chance of being heard and mean what you say.
If you use the exercises above to guide you and take some time to practice them, then they will start to become your new muscle memory, and your voice will start to be projected all the time. This will help your confidence, and you will want to say more!
How often should I do the voice projection exercises?
These voice projection exercises will help you to connect to a projected voice. Use them often to replace the old unprojected voice habits. Do the projection exercises before you are about to speak or sing all the time to start with. Then start to phase them out as this now projection becomes the normal state for your voice.
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