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Losing energy in my voice at the end of long narrations

 
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japanjosh
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:52 pm    Post subject: Losing energy in my voice at the end of long narrations Reply with quote

One of my weak points in narration is that I tend to lose energy in my voice. Does anybody have any tips, advice, or exercises they know to help with this? I assume practice in abdominal breathing is good, but I wonder if anyone has any special tricks. Tips coming from the 'Nasty Brit', a mentor of sorts, would be jolly welcome.

Josh in Japan
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Bruce
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My best advice is to do more of it. You will build up vocal strength and endurance by reading more long form material. I'm guessing your opportunities are a bit more limited in Japan than they would be in an English speaking country, but I'd seek out opportunities for public reading: reading to children or seniors, lay reading in a religious setting, radio or books for the blind, reader's theater, or my favorite, performing on stage in theater.

Try these and you will build a richer, fuller voice the more you do. Of course there is a point where even an experienced reader can wear out, and that seems to be two to four hours of reading time for most.

B
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Moe Egan
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bruce is right...you have to build up your endurance for long form narration. One of the easiest ways that works like a charm and ANYONE can do it. Read out loud. It's that easy. I read out loud to my kids- chapters at a time some times ...they love it (okay, some times I have to bribe them with Mountain Dew and Pizza rolls) but it does help to build up VO stamina.

hope this helps.
moe
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Chrissy
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Josh make sure you are breathing correctly. If your not sure put your hands on your ribs. and take a breath. Can you feel your ribs expanding? If so your breathing correctly. You can practice reading longer pieces as has been suggested. Vocalizing can also help. Periodically while reading you can stop, and hum for a minute ot two. Also make yourself yawn. These will relax your vocal chords. Keep hydrated so your throat doesn't dry out.

Hopefully these suggestions will help.

cheers

Chrissy
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bobbinbeamo
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with all the above...Once I had to do a 24 hour radio airshift (it was a promotion) and I learned so much from that single experience that the following has carried me throuh long narrations:
you must take breaks, stay hydrated and eat small, protein-based snacks, or even take a meal if the narration is really long.
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mcm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Endurance and vocal energy are not necessarily the same thing. It may be just a question of getting into the habit of reminding yourself that you are talking to somebody whose interest you need to capture and keep. Maybe jotting down a few key ideas along those lines, and posting them by your microphone, would help. Remembering to smile is really important (adjust this to suit the subject matter - if you're doing a read on how to conduct a bereavement group, for example, you don't want to be too smiley). I try to move my head a lot, while still keeping my mouth focused on the microphone - e.g. if the phrase is "you must never forget" I will shake my head a bit to emphasize the point. Move the hands a lot (remember of course to wear quiet clothes - or take them off if you have to) - not randomly, but in a way that makes sense for what you're saying. Take your "energy pulse" at, say, the beginning of every new paragraph to make sure you're on track. If not, you might jump up and down and bit and clap your hands to jolt your enthusiasm. I sometimes say something in an excited voice that isn't in the script, like "this is dynamite!!!" just to rekindle the flame if I need it. And Do Not Forget the person you're talking to - they're depending on you.

If physical fatigue is a factor, think about what might be contributing to your fatigue. If your feet are getting tired from standing, possibly you could arrange to sit on a stool that will allow you to maintain good posture while keeping you off your feet. Or get a floor mat designed to reduce fatigue. Take breaks to save your files, get some water, walk around and stretch. If you're straining in any way during recording, think about the cause. Maybe the gain isn't turned up enough and you're worried about projecting your voice too much, or the copy isn't placed in a way that makes it easy for you to see. Little things that can just wear you out unnecessarily.

If it's vocal energy, rather than vocal or other physical fatigue that's troubling you, I think it's just a matter of forming new habits. Good luck with it!
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SoundsGreat-Elaine Singer
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great points Mary. Thanks for sharing.
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iladelf
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really like your idea, Moe, of reading to your kids. What a wonderful way to spend quality time, and something you'll pass on to the next generation.

I still remember my father reading "The Sword of Shanarra" as a child. For some reason, I think I got too old for him to finish it. But it's a good memory.
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japanjosh
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very worthwhile advice, everyone. thanks so much.
i'll put these tips to use and see how they work for me and report back.
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Charles Nove
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Joined: 26 Jan 2007
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Location: London, England

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tips from MCM there. I totally agree!

It may sound obvious, but are you doing a decent warm-up routine before you start? Starting out with the vocal apparatus properly warmed up will greatly increase the time before you hit The Wall.
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