If you’re interested in pursuing theater, you may know that a large part of being successful is voice work. You’ll have to learn to control the pitch of your voice, being able to project it to your audience without yelling. If you are still not sure how to get a grasp on the tone, here are a few helpful tips according to the experts at Theatrefolk.
The first thing to remember is that projection uses breath at the diaphragm rather than vocal cords, which can easily get worn out. Vocal cords are commonly used when yelling. Breathing just right and using the air to create the desired pitch is necessary for proper voice projection.
When you begin to practice transitioning from using your cords to your diaphragm, you’ll know if you’re doing it right when your voice no longer hurts or feels scratchy. If you have a sore throat after practicing for quite some time, you’re still using your cords. Yelling commands a higher pitch while projecting typically means using a deeper tone.
So, how can you breathe from the diaphragm instead? There are a few exercises that will help you learn to project. One is the ‘ha’ exercise. Take a deep breath in, focusing on expanding your lungs down and your abdomen out, then force all of the air out on an audible ‘ha.’ The premise of this exercise is that you are utilizing all of your air on one sound, which allows you to force it out loudly. Because you are using a lot of air when you’re uttering ‘ha,’ this sends it out further, thus projecting the sound.
You can also find a large room and practice sending the sound of your voice as far away from you as possible. If you can rent a theater space, that’s great. Otherwise, find the largest room in your home or at an empty public space indoors and stand up against a wall on one side. Focus on a spot far away from you at the other side and practice projecting your voice. If you hear a slight echo, you’ll know that the technique is working. While you’re doing this, remember to focus on the amount of air you are letting into your lungs and expending outward. Practice the ‘ha’ exercise if this works best for you.
Projecting your voice, as with anything in the entertainment world, takes practice, but if it a necessary skill to learn if you’d like to pursue a career on stage. So, keep trying until you’ve nailed it, then get ready for the curtains to part!