Asset Protection: Care for Your
VOICE to Get the MOST From It!
By Kim Snyder
Voice Actor, Singer & Coach
I arrived at the studio my standard 10 minutes early to talk shop before a long narrative session.
The client was someone I hadnít worked for yet, so I was gleaning potential marketing information about them from the producer before the client arrived.
I asked the producer how the client decided on me and was surprised to hear,
"We asked around town and you seem to be the only one who can last through these long sessions and still have your voice at the end.Ē
It baffled me to hear that other talent were taking three or four sessions to read scripts that I was voicing in just one.
Was it my incredible personality? My smooth voice? My long resume?
What set me apart from my competition was, quite simply, that I knew how to take care of my voice.
If you were a professional race car driver, youíd have that car in top shape. If your income relied on a complex computer system, youíd better believe youíd have techs on call and regular maintenance and updates.
As a voice talent, your voice is your product. Itís your money-maker.
You have a vested interest in protecting your most valuable asset.
So letís take a look at how it works and how to get the most out of it.
WORKING YOUR PIPES
Your vocal chords are super-thin, slimy muscular folds that vibrate together to make sound.
They do that by zipping up for higher tones and zipping down for lower ones.
All of those inflections are made by a zipper the length of a ring finger nail bed for the girls, or a thumb nail bed for the guys.
Their vibration is aided by adequate hydration, and made more laborious by excessive phlegm.
BEEFING UP VOCAL CHORDS
Sound is created from a balance of air (breath) and muscle (vocal chords).
Whether or not you sing, a qualified vocal instructor can guide you through tailored instruction to strengthen these muscles.
This results in a wider range of inflection and control over the sound you make, as well as creating great stamina in the studio.
I recommend a technique called Speech Level Singing, since itís the only method proven to actually reverse vocal chord damage - as well as the only method that continuously certifies its instructors.
Having previously taught classical style, the Broadway belt and rock methods, I have been blown away by the results Iíve seen it produce in both speakers and singers.
You can search for a certified coach at www.speechlevelsinging.com.
DOING YOUR VOICE RIGHT
One of the most common things that can hinder your voice from doing its best job is dehydration.
Speaking expels moisture, so if youíre drinking less than 10 cups a day, you are dehydrated.
It takes the body more than a week to re-hydrate, so donít be fooled into believing youíll grab a glass at the studio and call it good.
Also, some things you should avoid within a couple hours of a session include:
Basically, eat a healthy meal and come to the studio hydrated.
IF YOU'RE SICK ...
If your session is approaching and youíre sick, here are a few tips to get the most from your voice.
All of my doctors have encouraged the use of:
Some chiropractors will use a wand stimulator that literally dissolves all of the phlegm out of your throat immediately, without drying any necessary fluids. It lasts for 24 hours and is just plain cool.
YOUR ULTIMATE REWARD
Sometimes itís easy for me to get focused on working, marketing, or follow-up and forget that Iíll never be able to perform the amount of work I could if I took better care of my voice.
Besides, if following these simple suggestions would allow you to get an edge on your competition and get more work done in less time, wouldnít it be worth it?
Take care of your voice and it will reward you with increased flexibility, stamina and more money-making jobs.
Kim Snyder is a voice-over coach and trained vocal instructor in addition to her work as a professional vocalist and voice talent for Sprint, Hallmark and more. She has authored vocal and voice-over resources, and speaks at workshops and conferences.