QUESTION: I am having trouble getting my voice and breath to work right. I get nervous and my voice goes up and shakes. It is noticeable in auditions. I know I am talking through my throat instead of my gut but not sure how to get it right. Any suggestions? Sincerely, Debra K
Try this –
Lying down on the floor, put one hand on your abdomen, close your eyes and relax. Concentrate on taking deep long breaths in, feeling your belly expand and pushing against your hand, then slowly exhale, feeling your abdomen go back in as you gently push the air out of your lungs. You can try different counts, like for example breathing in for 5 seconds and breathing out for 10.
Once you get used to “belly breathing”, concentrate on contracting your abdomen as you slowly exhale, then completely relax your body and you’ll find that the air naturally fills your lungs without you having to consciously take a breath in. That the state you ideally want to be in when you audition or perform, breathing deep but without tension.
Obviously, relaxation is very important. Regularly practice relaxation exercises as well as “belly breathing”. In particular, make sure your jaw and throat are relaxed. These are areas where we can hold a lot of tension, especially when we’re nervous. Once you get used to breathing from your gut, add vowel sounds when you exhale to relax your throat and warm up your voice.
Voice placement is a big part of acting. That’s why picking an acting school that offers good voice and speech classes is so important.
Hope this helps!