Can you share some vocal exercises that can loosen my jaws and increse my range - high [energy] low - [drama suspense]

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asked in Technique by coal (140 points)

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For some excellent jaw exercises, I recommend you buy "Freeing the Natural Voice" by Kristin Linklater.  I also recommend finding and working with either a Linklater or Fitzmaurice Voicework coach in your area.  In the meantime, here are some overall vocal exercises that I teach and have given to my voice-over students.  Enjoy:

Your speaking voice is made up of three basic parts: breath, resonance and articulation.  There are many wonderful books and whole courses dedicated to voice and speech development, but these basic exercises will go a long way toward strenghtening each part of your voice.

When you’re beginning to explore your voice, I recommend practicing at least 10 to20 minutes a day.  The repetition will help you feel less self-conscious when it comes time to work in class or in an actual recording session.  You may feel like you’re trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time, for a while, but with a little practice, you’ll catch on and improve quickly.


Breath exercises, and the replacement breath exercise in particular, come in handy when you get a page filled with copy that will take 70 seconds to read, but must come in at 60 seconds.  This is known as “wall to wall” copy.  By being able to deliver more copy on each breath and taking short, deep replacement breaths, you can shave serious time off your read without sounding rushed.

Exercise #1: Finding Your Breath
    Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart.
    Place your hands on your waist, so that the top finger of each hand is just below your bottom rib.
    Without bending over, force all of your breath out through your mouth, creating a vacuum.
    Press in with your hands while the breath is out.
    Without sucking in, slowly allow your breath to replace itself through your nose AND mouth. Remember to keep pressing in with your hands.
    You should feel the deep movement as the diaphragm moves down, allowing the lungs to expand and take in air.
    Force the air out again, and this time draw air in as deeply as you can (think of pulling it all the way into your butt!)  Keep pressing in with your hands and actually try to force your hands apart with your breath.
    Repeat the above step until you feel the force of your breath creating a big, hollow cylinder in the cender of your body.
 Exercise #2: Counting, Holding, Exhaling
    Keep your hands pressed against your waist.
    Drawing air through your nose and mouth, try to breathe in on the count of eight (hou don’t say the numbers out loud).
    Hold your breath for a count of eight.  Make sure your breath stays low and doesn’t make your shoulders creep up towards your ears.
    Breathe out on a count of eight (again, not out loud).  Try to make each count the same lenght.
    When you have mastered a steady eight-count, increast the count to ten, then twelve, etc. Try to see how high you can go.
 Exercise #3:  Counting on One Breath
    Draw in a deep breath and then exhale, saying the number “one.”  Make sure all of the breath is gone when you finish the number (for example, it shouldn’t sound like “one, huh.”)  The first number should sound very breathy.
    Draw in another breath and count out loud to five.  Make sure that you spread the breath out evenly over the numbers and that there is no breath left over after you say “five.”
    Increase the count to ten, fifteen and so on.  You may count faster on the higher numbers, but only as fast as you can reasonably articulate.  Keep raising the cout until you begin to feel a strain and then STOP.  The first time, you may be able to count anywhere from 25 to 45 on one breath.  Each person is different.  Make it your goal to add five more each day.  Counting to 50 or 60 is a realistic future goal.
 Exercise #4:  Replacement Breaths
    Take a deep breath and say the alphabet as many times in a row as you can on one breath (trust me, it will help if you keep count on your fingers).
    When you run out of breath, STOP and take a super fast, super deep breath and start over, saying the alphabet as many times in a row as you can on the replacement breath.  The goal is to say it as many times as you did on the first breath.  When you can master the goal, try to go one alphabet more on the second breath.
 sound is made of waves that must resonate off of a surface and reflect back to the ear. Every bone in your body (and tissure for that matter) is a resonator.  The following exercise will help to “wake up” your resonating chambers and let you feel your voice moving in your body.  It will also help the voice that comes from your mouth sound more like the voice in your head.
 Exercise:  The Hum
 Note: This exercise works well laying down or standing.  Try it both ways and notice the differences.
    With your feet shoulder width apart or lying on the floor, take a nice, deep relaxed breath.  Throughout the exercise, take a breath whenever you need it.
    begin to hum a single note.  With your lips pressed lightly together, drop your jaw and make sure your tongue is resting on the bottom of your mouth, creating an egg shape inside your mouth.
    Roll the sound around inside this egg shape and feel it tingle on your lips.  You may wish to place your fingers lightly on your lips and move them to each place you focus the vibration.
    Next, move the sound into your nose, making an ugly buzzing noise, like a hive of bees.  Keep your jaw low and your lips together.
    Spread the hum out onto your cheekbones and try to feel the vibration spreading outwards toward your ears.
    Move the vibration onto your forehead and then to the top of your head.  Imagine that you can send the sound out, through the top of your head and push up on the ceiling.
    Keep feeling the vibration on the top of your head and, at the same time, place it on your sternum (put one hand on top of your head and one on your breast plate). Think of stretching the sound out through your body, like a rubber band.
    Continue moving the sound down into the big bones of your pelvis, legs and finally feel the vibration in the soles of your feet.  Imagine sending the sound through your head and feet at the same time, vibrating the ceiling and floor.
    Send the sound out through your back and try to push the wall behind you, then do the same to the wall in front of you.
    Try to send the sound out in all directions at the same time, front, back, top and bottom.  When you feel it all the way around, open your mouth and let the vibration come out in the sound “AAHH.”
    Close your mouth, keep humming, then open again on the sound “EEEE.”
    Close your mouth, keep humming, then open again on the sound “OOHH.”
    Close and open one last time on the “AAHH” sound. Let this sond glide gently down in pitch, like a sigh, to the lowest not youe can make, then stop.
    You should feel tingly all over and maybe even a bit lightheaded. You will now be able to produce much righer, fuller sounds.
 You can do a mini version of this exercise any time you are going to a job or an audition.  It works especially well in the shower.  Some people prefer the privacy of their car.  If you ride a train or bus, you may want to hum a note that matches the sound of the engine.
 For more speech exercises, I recommend, “Speak With Distinction,” by Edith Skinner.
 You can find some wonderful voice production exercises in “Freeing the Natural Voice,” by Kristin Linklater.  Or google "Fitzmaurice Voicework."
answered by deborahsalebutler (21,850 points)