Join Voice Over Expert Kim Snyder in her lecture “Getting the Most Out of Your Voice”. Kim teaches you tips on how to keep your voice in top form and goes into detail regarding functionality and care of the vocal chords (folds). Learn how proper maintenance of your instrument can be used as a tool to differentiate you from other voice actors in the eyes of a client.
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Kim Snyder, The Voice Club, Vocal Chords, Vocal Folds, Vocal Health, Singing, Voice Acting, Hydration, Voice Over Coach, Voices.com
Transcript of Getting the Most Out of Your Voice
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
And now for special guest.
Kim Snyder: Hi, I’m Kim Snyder. I long time voice talent for companies like Hallmarks, Sprint and Disney and a vocal talent for live gigs and jingles for companies like Anderson Erickson.
Through all my years as a working talent most of them working at this fulltime, I’ve learn a lot of things that it would have been handy to know upfront. When I work with talent whether as a voiceover coach or a vocal instructor, my goal is to help you avoid common pitfalls and to develop skills that set you far a part from your competition.
Now, there’s a lot of information out there on reading copy, recording your demo, even marketing yourself but right now let’s talk about the one thing this is most important and most often ignored, getting the most out of your voice or as I like to call it, asset protection.
Let me start with a little story, I arrived one time at the studio. My standard 10 minutes early to talk shop before a long narrow of session. Now the client was someone I hadn’t work with before, so when they showed up. I ask them how they decided on me for this project and I was really surprised to hear them say, “Well, when we asked around, we heard that you were the only one who can last through this long sessions and still have a voice at the end”.
I couldn’t believe it when he told that other talent he’d work with were taking three to four sessions to do the work that I did in one hour. Was it my incredible personality, my smooth voice, my long resume? Hardly.
What set me apart from my competition was quite simply that I knew how to take care of my voice. Think that this way, if you’re a professional race car driver you’d have that car in top shape. If your income relayed on the complex computer system, you better believe you’ve had text on call and regular maintenances and updates too. But as a voiceover talent your product is your voice, that’s where your money maker is and you have a vested interest in protecting your most valuable asset.
So, let’s take look at how it works and how to get the most out of it. First of all, for you guys if you put your finger on your Adams apple and girl just slide your finger down your throat till you feel up bumped. Behind there is your larynx and inside there are your vocal chords. Your vocal chords are super-thin, slimy muscular folds and they make sound by vibrating together. They zip up for a high tones and they zip down for low warm tones. All of those amazing inflections your voices can make are made by muscles the length of the ring fingernail bed for girls and for you guys about the size of the nail bed on your thumb. Isn’t it amazing? They work together much more easily when they hydrated and it’s a lots harder for them to work when they either really dry or they have excessive phlegm on them.
Sound is made from a balance of air or breath and muscle which is your vocal chords. If you’ve had trouble with your range as a voice talent, one of the best things you can do is to go to a qualified vocal instructor. It doesn’t matter is you’re a singer or not. They can give you great tailored instruction to strengthen these muscles and that will give you much more control over the sound as well as helping you to create great stamina in the studio. I highly recommend Speech Level Singing instructors, not only because it’s one of continuously certified their instructors but also because Speech Level Singing has been proven to reverse vocal chord damaged.
Now, in the past as a vocalist, I’ve thought the Broadway built and rock methods but I have been absolutely blown away by the results I’ve seen Speech Level Singing produced in speakers and singers. You can find a certified coach in your area by going to speechlevelsinging.com and there a side benefit too, you’ll also learn to be a better singer. One of the things that can hinder your voice form doing its best job is dehydration. Now, when the tissues in your body are dehydrated, they’re more susceptible to stress and damage and that’s especially true with your voice. If you add that to the amount of moisture you expel when speaking regularly. Well, you can see why most voice actors deal with dehydration on a regular basis. Lot of times you don’t even know you’re dehydrated but when you are, your voice is tires more easily. It gets those catches in the back. It make you want to clear your throat and when you do that it can lead to little tears in the tissues and that means your time in the studio is going to be very limited.
Most of us do a water bottle and drink during sessions, so isn’t that enough? Well, drinking the session is good. It’s good for sending out some of the mucus build up and kind the clearing your throat out but since it takes the body over a week to dehydrate. Grabbing a glass at the studio isn’t going to do the job of hydrating your entire body. So, if you get in the habit of staying hydrated, it’s going to make your voice work a lot easier.
If you have a problem with mouth sounds or excessive phlegm in your session, here’s a coupled tricks. You can try avoiding dairy products or spicy or greasy food just a few hours before your sessions. A few other things that can interfere with the clarity and the longevity of your voice in a session would include anything with menthol in it, salty foods and alcohol. All of these are really drying to the tissues at the throat. So, basically it comes down to eat a healthy meal and come hydrated.
What do you do if you have a session that just around the corner and you’re really getting sick? Well, we all know a lot of the tricks to keep from getting more sick but when you have to go in to a session and either much something your voice before or much the sound they hired you for on your demo. It’s a whole different thing. I’ve work special doctors throughout the years because my voice has been my business and they’ve all told me to just stick to nasal sprays and just avoid the cough and cold tablets all together. There is an element in them that really dries out the tissues and it really impacts the longevity of your voice.
This is as true in a session doing a 30 seconds spot as it is doing a 500 page narration. If you have trouble with dry throat or just a little bit of allergies, a good thing to try in the studio are any of the Thayers. They have throat sprays and lozenges. I personally prefer the throat sprays over the lozenges or there’s throat coat tea which you can get it in any grocery story in the herbal tea section. The throat coat tea is great because it has Slippery Elm and Licorice Bark in it which are basically natural lubricants for the delicate tissues of your throat. Some chiropractors will use a one stimulator that will literally dissolve all the phlegm out of your throat immediately without drying out any necessarily fluids. It last for about 24 hours and it is the coolest thing. If you have a chiropractor and a cold it might be worth an extra visit before your session.
Sometime it’s easy for me to get focus on working and marketing or follow-up and forget that if I don’t take care of my voice. I’ll never have the amount of work I could have. Beside if following this simple suggestions will allow you to get an edge on your competition and get more work done in less time, wouldn’t it be worth it? I only had to drive to that studio onetime to get that job done, everyone else four times as much gas. Not to mentioned the scheduling mess.
So, take care of your voice, your asset and it will reward you with increase flexibility, with stamina and most important more money making jobs. You can find more resources for voice talent and vocalist online at my website, thevoiceclub.com. Thanks for listening. Now, go make some money with that voice.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.
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Links from today’s show:
The Voice Club
Kim Snyder Media
Your Instructor this week:
Kim Snyder is an Aftra voice talent and has been heard on projects for Hallmark, Sprint, Disney and more. As a certified vocal instructor and voiceover coach (www.thevoiceclub.com), she helps voice and vocal talent find their niche and build a successful career, helping voice talent of all ages to uncover their potential.