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Warm Up Those Voice-Over Chops! These
Exercises Release Tension, Wake Up Your Brain
June 19, 2018

By Ann Utterback
Voice Specialist and Author, Broadcast Voice Handbook

A journalism student asked me recently what my favorite vocal exercise was. That got me thinking about what exercises I would do just before voicing something.

I came up with my Go-To Vocal Exercises that would be indispensible for me if I were on the air every day. These exercises focus on releasing tension in the upper body and oral cavity.

I've also included one to increase my heart rate slightly to wake up my brain so I'll be sharp and ready to voice.

Want to give them a try? Let's get started!

1. First, repeat the simple phrase, "You see Oz," exaggerating the vowels. Purse your lips tightly for "You." Do a big smile for "see." And open your mouth widely for "Oz." Repeat this phrase 5 or 6 times.

2. Now repeat the phrase, "Fat lazy cat," 10 times exaggerating the explosion of air in the"t" sounds.

3. Next, make big circles with your elbows out to your sides. Exaggerate these by making them really big. Do these about 5 times in each direction. (As always with this and the following physical exercises, do them only within your comfort zone.  Don't do them if they cause any pain.)

4. Once you've done those, raise your shoulders up toward your ears. Hold for a couple of seconds, and then let them completely relax. Do this 3 times.

5. Now reach up over your head with both arms and pretend you're picking apples just out of reach. Again do this 6 times.

6. And finally, march in place like a marching bandleader. Bring your knees up and pump your arms. Do this until you are slightly out of breath.
These Go-To Vocal Exercises take less than 2 minutes to complete, but they have a big payoff. You will have less tension in your neck and upper body. You will be able to articulate more easily, and your brain will be sharper.

Not bad for 2 minutes of your time!
Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D., is a voice specialist with more than 40 years experience and has helped hundreds of people make the most of their voices, working with broadcasters, voice over artists and podcasters around the world. An author of eight books and over 50 articles on voice, her Broadcast Voice Handbook is a classic textbook offering more advice on how to improve your voice over performance.


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