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Voice Exercises: Breathing, For Endurance and to Calm Anxiety

By Connie Terwilliger
Being able to breathe naturally and deeply gives you endurance for long copy reads – and calm when you feel the creep of anxiety entering your voice. These exercises will help.

1. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. Exhale slowly through the mouth. Repeat.

2. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. Exhale slowly, making the sound “ahhhhh.” Use your diaphragm.

3. Inhale deeply. Exhale in short, explosive bursts (huh! huh! huh! huh!)

4. Inhale slowly and count aloud, clearly enunciating each number until you run out of breath. This is also a good warm-up for articulation exercises.

5. Read the following sentence as many times as you can on one breath. This sentence is filled with words that use air:
He hid at home and sobbed when his sister seized whatever he had on top in the thin five-shelved closet.

6. Take a deep breath and see how far you can read through this grouping of words. Make each word come alive as you say it. Don't just race through – interpret!

     collecting and projecting, and

     receding and speeding, and

     shocking and rocking, and

     darting and parting, and

     treading and spreading, and

     whizzing and hissing, and

     dripping and skipping, and

     hitting and splitting, and

     shining and twining, and

     rattling and battling, and

     shaking and quaking, and

     pouring and roaring, and

     waving and raving, and

     flowing and going, and

     heaving and cleaving, and

     foaming and roaming, and

     moaning and groaning, and

     dropping and hopping.
Well, how did you do? Keep practicing these exercises. You'll improve over time, and greatly enhance your voice-over abilities.
Connie Terwilliger is a veteran voice-over talent, coach, spokesperson and actor based in San Diego. She is also a producer/writer, and teaches a college-level course on voice-overs in San Diego.
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