The Dance of the Tongue

ballet

In class, I often refer to voice & accent work as the dance of the tongue. As an ex dancer, I like approaching sound correction as a series of muscular exercises preparing you for your text. Essentially, the voice is muscular, rather than a disembodied sound that happens to come out of your mouth somehow.

An accent requires a precision and placement where the facial muscles and resonance completely changes. Even your natural speaking voice will be far more developed by doing your breathing, release, and resonance exercises along with some tongue twisters. And all of those are muscular exercises.

Certain authors are very challenging with sound combinations. The goal is not only to get the sounds correct but also getting the thoughts flowing easily off the tongue as if they are your own. The change of rhythm and placement of certain sounds can be as difficult as moving between a waltz and a foxtrot and as awkward as watching a ballet dancer try hip hop.

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You Booked the Voice Over! Now what?

In the studio

Congratulations! You have booked your job! This normally happens on the strength of your demo, the popularity of your sound, and a recommendation from your agent. Nine times out of ten you won’t receive a script prior to the recording and that can make you feel like there is nothing you can do to prepare. However, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure you are ready to go. On the way to the gig, you should pick up a newspaper and read aloud. I also use signposts to read from on my way into the studio and I practice using the accents I know I will be recording in. You could also do a voice warm up at home or in the car on the way in. If you are on the train this is more difficult but not impossible to do some breathing work and articulation work.

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