So we spend a lot of time talking about warming up our voices for voice-over work, and there are literally thousands of videos dedicated to this very topic. But what about your body? Is that something to care about? How much impact does it really have on your performance?
Let me say this loud and clear: movement will book you more jobs and keep you sane.
Yep, it’s that simple. As someone who started out in Los Angeles teaching lots of fitness classes as my day job, before getting more established with VO work, I have seen and experienced what a difference bodywork – below the neck – does for your performance.
I’m not saying you need to sign up for a marathon or a muddy obstacle course, but I am saying that consistent physical movement will help your career.
Warms You Up (Literally)
So, first of all, why do we say “warm-up” when we talk about sports or singing?
Essentially, when you warm up with something like jumping jacks or a jog before a run, you (1) introduce your muscles to the range of motion you’ll be using (because, unlike your mind, they don’t know what you’re about to do), and you (2) increase your body’s core temperature. Literally, you warm yourself up!
So when your heart rate increases during exercise, it also warms up your vocal cords. When your body is warm, you are less likely to strain or cause serious damage to your muscles. In other words, that boxing class you take early in the morning also helps safeguard you against damage an hour later in the booth.
Keeps Your Pitch Grounded
Have you ever noticed how, after a yoga class or a sweaty workout, your voice sounds, well, deeper? More “in your body,” if you will? I used to leave yoga and think, “dang, I wish I had a sultry audition to record right now – I’d crush it!”
When we engage in physical activity on a regular basis, our attention has to turn to our breathing. Whether consciously, like in yoga, or subconsciously, like when you’re trying not to die in bootcamp, your lung capacity increases. The muscles between your ribcage become more flexible. Additionally, you become more physically grounded, as you develop strength and awareness in your body.
These powerful changes combine to result in that authentic, supported sound that is your true voice. And as you access that voice more often (through regular movement), it’s easier to realize when your pitch has gone sky-high due to nerves and to come back down to earth.
Reminds You to Bring Your Body
Last but not least, there’s a reason people say “use it or lose it,” especially after the ripe old age of 30. If you stop walking 95% of the time, your leg muscles atrophy. If you slump over your desk all day, your chest and neck muscles get tight.
Fortunately for us, the reverse is also true. If you do a few sun salutations each day, your spine and back will stay more flexible. If you try out new choreography in Zumba each Friday, your brain-to-body connection is stronger. And if you use your body outside of the booth, guess what: you’ll use your body during auditions and bookings.
Try saying the same line with your arms folded across your chest while sitting down, and then try saying the same line while pretending to finger paint on a giant, imaginary canvas in front of you. You’ll hear the difference right away. The power of movement to impact sound is undeniable.
If you’ve gone through training with our Such A Voice, you know how much we talk about using your body while performing. Adding dedicated movement work to your regular schedule will not only make you a better performer, but it will also enhance your physical and mental wellbeing in general, so every (part of your) body wins. And the 2020 resolutions’ season is still here, so now’s the time – go for it!
If you’re looking for some more specific VO warm-ups, check out this Working Wednesday from Brock Powell!
You can also find all of our recent blog posts and Working Wednesday vlogs in video format at the Such A Voice YouTube channel!
What are your favorite ways to get grounded before your VO sessions? Share with us below.