By Carmi Levy
Picture the scene: You're in a studio, and are about to get down to work laying down some voice tracks. The mic awaits, the producer sits ready at the sound board, and your voice is primed to do what it does best.
Or is it? If you're feeling cold, hot, stressed or otherwise less than 100% before you're scheduled to perform, you may not be able to deliver the goods. As it turns out, our voices are a lot more sensitive to environmental conditions than we might have otherwise realized.
Fortunately there are ways to avoid the risks and maximize your vocal performance no matter the weather. Read on to learn how.
By Carmi Levy
Are you doing enough to take care of your voice?
It's that time of year again when the temperatures go down, windows close up, furnaces get turned on and everyone heads back indoors.
In a way it's a perfect storm of unhealthiness, an environment built from the ground up to spread illness.
And for folks who use their voice professionally, it's one of the worst times of year. The combination of everyone getting back to an indoor routine coupled with an acceleration in demand now that everyone's back from summer vacation often means bad news for voice talent.
For more on how to keep the worst at bay - and what to do if the inevitable happens - read on.
How do you keep your voice in tip-top shape? Have you considered a workout regimen that supports your voice?
Singers, film, TV, and stage actors all have exercises they do to prepare their voices before hitting the stage or set.
Likewise, it's a good idea for voice actors to prepare their voices before recording a gig or auditioning for a job. A regular workout for the facial muscles, lips, mouth and tongue is a great way to maintain good articulation, breathing, and posture. With daily practice it will help wake up your vocal cords and ensure your voice always comes out strong and clear.
Some of the best voice-over workout tips that I've heard of are from Tommy Griffiths, a thirty year veteran of the voice-over industry. Join VOX Daily today to learn his three easy exercises that will have you speaking in top form in no time.
Do you live in an area prone to wildfires?
Californians are bracing themselves for one of the worst wildfire season on record.
According to The Associated Press, The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection have been called out to more than 1,500 fires already this year. That's more than the entire average season of about 800.
Although the worst hit so far, California isn't the only location suffering from wildfires. High temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds have set the stage for blazes in Oklahoma, San Diego, Texas, Arizona, and British Columbia.
For people who use their voices professionally the effects of smoke and poor air quality can be hazardous not only their respiratory system but their careers as well.
What effects do wildfires have on your voice? How can you protect yourself? Join VOX Daily today for some tips.
By Lin Parkin
I don't know about your neck of the woods, but in Ontario autumn came in like a lamb, with summer-like temperatures through to the begining of October. It was a beautiful thing.
But will it go out like a lion?
There are whispers of potential snowfall this weekend here in London, Ontario which is an unfortunate but enviable forecast. Why is it that despite the fact that winter comes each year, bringing with it blustery winds and snow; we always seem to be surprised by its arrival?
We are a hearty breed though; like many communities throughout North America the kids are no strangers to walking around on Halloween night with winter coats stuffed under their costumes, while the parents of all the little ghouls and goblins clutch warm beverages as they make their rounds. And as the days grow colder we close up our homes, shutting the windows and doors to the brisk air outside; effectively locking out some allergens while locking others in.
Much like having a sinus cold, suffering from allergies can be detrimental to the sound of one's voice. Although with allergies it hangs around causing the voice to sound nasally, raspy and hoarse for weeks and weeks. By trapping air inside the house during the autumn and winter months indoor allergies can significantly worsen.
Keeping the voice healthy is the number one priority for anyone who uses their voice for a living. Join VOX Daily as we put together 7 tips on reducing household allergens in your home.
Are you in an area that is affected by wildfires?
With fires raging, few things are more important for professional voice talent than preserving their lives and their livelihoods.
When speaking to voice artists right smack dab in the middle of it all, I gained an even greater appreciation for the challenges each breath can bring during the hot, hazy days of wildfire season.
A handful of courageous wildfire veterans of the voice over world shared how they keep vocal damage to a minimum during wildfire season, and their wisdom, I now gladly pass on to you!
Hear about 3 ways that you can minimize the effects of wildfire smoke and save your instrument to voice another day in this edition of VOX Daily.
Are you experiencing a hoarse voice that won't go away?
Have you had your Thyroid checked lately? It could be the cause of your condition.
Last week Larry Page, Google co-founder and CEO, posted a status update to Google+ sharing that he developed vocal cord paralysis on the left side of his throat after having a bad cold virus fourteen years ago.
A Thyroid condition may be the root cause.
Everyone has a unique story to share.
Have you ever thought about or discussed how you came to be a voice actor?
Karen Gerstman joined us for an interview to share more about how she got into voice-overs and her career journey.
We are prepared in advance for what we are meant to do, so when Karen got bitten by the voice acting bug, she jumped right in!
Did that happen to you as well?
Hear more about Karen's story in today's VOX Daily.
In an industry centered around the spoken word, much of what voice talent and marketers to is communicate a message so that it can be heard and then acted upon by the target audience.
That being said, many of us are tuned out to the fact that there are people in our midst who cannot hear.
Join me in today's VOX Daily and watch some miracles take place that will give you a greater appreciation for the gift of hearing.
Many people who rely upon the use of their voices for work tend to schedule periods of quiet time into their days for vocal rest.
As the songwriter penned, silence is golden.
Hear from professional voice talent who've found a way to create space for a little peace and quiet in between sessions in today's VOX Daily.
Is your recording studio environment set up to get the best possible performance out of your instrument?
Are you maximizing your voice while performing comfortably?
Voices.com's Jessica Campbell shares her perspective on how you get the most out of each take, whether sitting or standing, in today's VOX Daily.
Can you control your voice when you feel overwhelmed with emotion?
I'm intrigued by how some people seem to be able to hold it together and remain poised as they perform or speak publicly.
Many actors have found a way to do this. Have you?
Hear more about this interesting phenomenon in today's VOX Daily.
Just as the voice is key to being able to perform as a voice actor, the ability to hear and to hear well, can make or break a career in audio recording and engineering.
Protecting an engineer's golden ears helps them to work for as long as possible in the field of audio production.
How can this be done?
Hear about some proactive steps the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology is taking to protect the ears of their students and future audio engineers in today's VOX Daily.
Does your voice have interesting qualities linked to where you were raised or those around you?
What does your "sound" sound like?
Regardless of where you were brought up or by whom, we can all hear something in our natural speaking voices that tells us where we've come from and can in effect chart the timeline of our vocal heritage.
Where did the sound of your voice come from?
Join the discussion in today's VOX Daily.
Did you know that 75% of vision loss is preventable?
While this sounds like music to our ears, you do need to take steps to protect your eyesight.
Hear about what you can do to fight this battle on a personal level with tips from Canada's vision health charity, CNIB.
Are you having difficulty seeing the scripts you read?
More and more people are experiencing varying degrees of vision loss as they age. Voice artists are not immune!
Susan Manhire, a voice talent and Optician, joins us today in this guest blog post highlighting tips for talent who wear glasses and for what can be done to maintain the best vision possible in today's VOX Daily.
Have you ever lost your voice? Ever been struck down by laryngitis or a more aggressive vocal disorder?
While most of us take our voices for granted, a prolonged lull in conversation so to speak can be quite telling and may provide us with greater insight that would not have been accessible to us otherwise.
How has the loss of your voice or dramatic change in your ability to vocalize affected you?
Share your stories in today's VOX Daily!
Have you ever stopped to think about just how greatly we rely upon our eyesight?
Although we can pick a script apart and analyze it using a variety of constructive tools, there's nothing quite like letting your natural line of vision rule the day and see where it instinctively leads based upon years of acquired knowledge and practical experience as a reader.
Voice over coach Bob Cook shares an illustration of how our vision and manner of reading deciphers and anticipates changes in vocal inflection, timing and cadence in today's VOX Daily.
Have you ever considered just how much is involved in voice over work?
When you think about all that is involved in just simply speaking, you'll note that voice acting can be quite the workout!
Learn more by reading Canadian voice over coach Bob Cook's article via today's VOX Daily.
One of the greatest things about voice acting and being a voice actor is that it doesn't matter what you look like.
Voice actors go about their daily lives without being recognized, scrutinized and have the luxury of selective fame.
Isn't it great to work in a medium where it doesn't matter if you've got make up on, how old you are or whether you're short or tall?
Join with me now and explore the many freedoms voice actors have in today's VOX Daily.
By Stephanie Ciccarelli
How much water do you drink in an average week while working as a professional voice actor?
At the Voices.com offices, we have a really neat water cooler that dispenses cold and hot water. Every couple of weeks, a water service comes to our office and removes the empty bottles, replacing them with more aqua... just how much more, I'll let you discover!
I'm really curious to hear about your water consumption habits too. Be sure to comment and let us know!
By Stephanie Ciccarelli
Have you ever considered narrating for the medical community?
Julie Williams has a workshop coming up in June of this year where she'll be teaching you more about how you can read technical scripts with the ease of a storyteller.
Learn more about the interesting field of voice over narration now.
Before you reach for lozenges, throat elixirs or a quick fix from the drug store, why not try consuming some of nature's candy prescription free?
After a few mornings of consecutive avocado snacking, I came to realize that not only was the fruit tasty and full of omega 3s, it also appeared to have some healing properties that seemed to benefit my throat, and consequently, my voice.
Hear from other voice pros and learn more about which fruits give their voice a boost!
You know how you're often told not to audition when you are sick?
Aside from the implications of overextending and abusing your voice, what are some of the professional consequences of booking a gig auditioned for with a "sick" voice when you've recovered and you are the picture (or sound) of health?
What do you do?
Share your experiences and tips for recreating that sound in today's VOX Daily.
How do you warm up your voice?
Preparing your voice to record is of great importance. Voice over artists are athletic, too!
By Stephanie Ciccarelli
Are you avoiding dairy products right now to keep your pipes operating at peak performance?
Perhaps you save ice cream, cheese, yogurt, or chocolate milk until your work day is done to reward yourself and indulge...
Is dairy a friend or foe to the voice over artist?
If this behavior sounds familiar to you (and your voice over business), I want to hear about it!
When I last posted about vocal health and remedies to restore the voice, I received an interesting email from Crystal Tips about her experience drinking a rather unpalatable beverage to kick her voice into overdrive during a session where she was down for the count.
Wondering, "how do I get my voice back?" Intrigued?
Hear more about this bizarre concoction and how it gave Crystal's voice a boost here at VOX Daily.
Brian Price comes from audio drama with experience in writing, producing, directing audio theater, editing audiobooks, and reviewing for AudioFile magazine.
Please join me in welcoming Brian to the VOX Daily community by reading his article and commenting with your thoughts!
What happens when you speak lower than your vocal comfort zone for continuous periods of time?
You might adopt that Hollywood sound Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were famous for, but you may get more than just the sound... you might get the syndrome!
Guest blogger James Herron shares his experience from Inside Studio A with Bogart-Bacall Syndrome here on VOX Daily.
When a voice becomes weak, breathy or struggles to perform, there may be something more serious going on with the vocal folds than meets the eye.
I asked a number of questions of Dr. H. Steven Sims, Director of the Chicago Institute For Voice Care, about thyroplasty, a procedure that helps fatten up the vocal folds for people who may be experiencing symptoms mentioned above. Patients who opt to have this procedure done do so because their vocal folds are not vibrating as closely together as they should be.
In this short interview, you'll learn what causes the vocal folds to act this way, what the symptoms are, how a stressed voice may sound, and what a thyroplasty consists of.
Whispering may seem like a good way to conserve your voice, but in reality, it can be very taxing!
There are many myths out there about what does and does not hurt your voice. What happens if you whisper too much? Whispering, although many people tend to think it is harmless, does affect the voice in a negative way.
Find out what whispering does to your voice and how you can take care here at VOX Daily.
What happens if you take your vocal cords (or vocal folds) for granted?
It's easy to fall into a pattern of voice abuse, and the scariest part is, you may not even realize you are doing it or how vulnerable your vocal cords truly are.
People in broadcast radio should take special note of this article.
Hear a cautionary story from voice talent Dave McCree about one of his friends who suffers from Spasmodic Dysphonia, and how years of overuse transformed a successful broadcasting career into that of a career in journalism, penning the stories instead of reading them.
Ever find that your voice just isn't up for the challenge? Are you exhausted vocally or unable to speak without pain?
As a person who uses their voice every day as part of their profession or occupation, it's easy to get run down and suffer from periodic or sporadic vocal inconveniences such as laryngitis, bronchitis and the like.
What happens when your voice is not able to emulate what's on your demo because of a temporary health issue?
Many voice actors and singers face that reality every now and then. Find out how resting your voice may be the ticket to getting back to your regular self.
By Stephanie Ciccarelli
Have you ever been really congested, stuffy or full of phlegm?
These symptoms are annoying, and if you're a voice over professional, are an especially costly nuisance that can tamper with your voice and livelihood.
What can you do about it?
While I'm not a doctor, and haven't played one on TV, I've found that one recipe in particular has helped to drain the sinuses, help ward off viruses and get rid of thick, disgusting mucous in your throat that I'd like to share with you, courtesy of voice instructor, Susan Eichhorn Young.
Learn how to take care of your voice, engage in a vocal warmup, speak clearly and become more confident behind the microphone.
Discover how you can improve your voice over technique and achieve a personal best with regard to vocal performance.
Your audience will thank you!
Have you ever visited an online medical site?
Many health care related sites are now providing useful, reliable health information directly to patients to help them manage their conditions and make treatment choices through interactive presentations involving voice over.
Learn more about this opportunity for voice over talent and also hear from Shelley Baldiga, the voice of the Information Therapy Conversations presented on the Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare's website.
Voice over talent and instructor Connie Zimet has been unwell for quite some time and needs your help.
Connie has ALS, and although she is facing a late stage of the disease, know that there is hope for her to regain the ability to communicate more easily with her family and friends through the purchase of a special machine.
I received this message and have been given permission to publish it here for the voice over community that you may take action and help Connie in a time of dire need.
If you've ever smoked, do smoke or have quit, you know what cigarette smoking can do to your voice.
I had the privilege of attending and covering the Midwest Voice Conference and also the great pleasure of meeting and recently interviewing Dr. H. Steven Sims, a board certified Otolaryngologist and graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine. This interview poses questions about voice care and how cigarette smoking affects the voice.
Dr. Sims' personal experiences and education are employed to address the problems of performing artists and other voice professionals at The Chicago Institute for Voice Care, and is dedicated to increasing the awareness of the unique issues faced by performing artists and providing comprehensive care.
By Stephanie Ciccarelli
Do you go for a pot of Joe or are you more inclined to sip on a cup of tea?
While it's no secret what I prefer (I'm on the tea side), I think it would be extremely interesting to take an informal poll through comments on this posting to discover what the majority of voice actors prefer.
Find out what your colleagues are drinking and which is healthier at VOX Daily.
In this final chapter of the series "Vital Signs", I have two fabulously talented educators with me here on VOX Daily sharing their thoughts on how those of you who come from radio can free yourself from broadcast radio bondage.
What I'm saying may come as a surprise to many people but just because you come from radio doesn't mean that you're by virtue of that fact already a voice actor or that voice acting will come easily to you.
This article will explain how voice acting and radio differ and will help those who come from radio lose their "radioness", ditching the sing-songy sound that some women carry over from broadcast and also the announcery baggage that men bring to the table when they enter the business of voice over.
When reading copy for advertising, a voice over artist encounters more than their fair share of acrobatics, especially when there's too much copy crammed into a designated time slot that doesn't take to accommodating natural phrasing.
Has technology helped you to beat the clock?
By Stephanie Ciccarelli
While at Pat Fraley's workshop over the weekend, we got talking and discovered that nearly 40-45% of voice actors are left-handed!
I'm curious to know which you are (left or right-handed?).
Leave a comment to let us know here at VOX Daily.
In Dr. Arlene Barr's lecture, she discussed how neurological diseases are related to voice disorders, featuring Stroke and Parkinson's Disease, among others.
Learn more about how neurological disorders affect speech at VOX Daily.
Learn all about:
à¹ How allergies develop
à¹ Treatment options
Dr. Stephanie Joe gives us the rundown on runny noses in this excerpt from her presentation at the Midwest Voice Conference in Chicago.
By Stephanie Ciccarelli
Some people debate its very existence while others study it and credit the singing style for their success.
Find out more about this centuries old method through this mind-bending lecture presented by Randy Buescher, of Your True Voice, and Dr. H. Steven Sims, Director of the Chicago Institute for Voice Care.
Just because there are many portly singers doesn't necessarily mean that you need to be fat to be good.
In this lecture, we'll take a look at:
Find out this and more, all courtesy of Dr. Carlos Galvani, here at VOX Daily.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, GERD is defined as:
"Chronic symptoms or mucosal damage produced by the abnormal reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus."
Do you have acid reflux?
If so, this lecture presented by Dr. Jay L. Goldstein will teach you the basic principals of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), help you to understand how reflux can get to and affect the vocal folds, and learn about treatment options.
For those of you who have you know the long road to vocal recovery that presents special challenges and demands.
Read some pearls of wisdom from Karen Wicklund, MD, as she shares some tips on how to help recover from a voice injury like surgery, nodules or a vocal hemorrhage and also how to take it easy while exercising your voice to return to full strength.
Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Midwest Voice Conference on August 9, at the University of Illinois at Chicago, an event sponsored in part by Voices.com.
Prepare to be educated en mass! I'll be covering two lectures each day in this week dedicated to protecting your asset, in other words, your voice.
The sound you make is just part of the process.
Have you spent any time thinking about breathing?
Hear from singing teacher Paul Kiesgen about the basics of breathing and discover 3 terms you should be familiar with as a vocal artist.
Everyone's done it.
You sit in the chair at the dentist's office, reclined, lights in your eyes... you get the picture.
I found myself there just yesterday and thought I'd use my time more effectively, so instead of just sitting there, I obtained some answers to questions you've probably thought of asking but never have.
When you perform as a voice actor, you use all sorts of muscle groups, your diaphragm and a host of other parts of your body to phonate (or produce sound). That activity in itself is enough to tire out any voice actor let alone a pregnant one!
Our article from earlier today with Bonnie Gillespie about taking kids to auditions provides a nice segue to this maternal piece.
How do people work as voice actors while pregnant? Find out here on VOX Daily.
Feeling under the weather?
Not quite yourself? Got a nagging ache that won't go away?
We know how you feel 'cause we've been there this week!
Discover 10 ways to avoid getting rundown at VOX Daily.
Having trouble keeping a consistent sound when recording?
Is your mouth too wet, too dry, sticky or tongue-tied?
Maybe your lips need some TLC, too...
Discover some great tricks to rid yourself of mouth problems when recording voice overs here at VOX Daily.
As promised, here's Bettye Zoller's full article. Enjoy!
Locked knees, tight jaw, rigor mortis fingers... Tension manifests itself in a multitude of ways, but oftentimes finding the source of the tension can be an awful pain in the neck!
Have vocal problems and need to find help? The multi-disciplinary voice clinic at London Health Sciences Centre may be just the ticket to diagnose and treat your vocal ailments.
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