Vocal lessons are not just for singers. Lessons can help open up the range of the actor’s voice, as well as protect from stress and incorrect use.
Lessons can give an understanding of proper vocal cord closure, optimum speaking pitch, and also how to deal with difficult vocal situations.
A key area is handling emotional dialogue and sounds, such as shouting or screaming, without fatiguing or damaging the voice.
Singers spend a great deal of time learning to bridge the break area between their lower and upper registers (chest voice and head voice). Without this skill, the singer risks vocal problems such as hoarseness and even permanent damage.
High chest voice is where we go when in a heightened state of emotion, such as fear or anger. The actor will be called to perform in these states over multiple takes or successive evenings on the stage.
Vocal exercises can help access this vocal range without causing issues. The answer is to learn to access some of the head voice when at the top of the speaking range. This is done by narrowing the vowels slightly, avoiding overshouting. For instance, if you are yelling “Stop,” change the pronunciation to “Stuhp.” The “uh” vowel will more easily blend toward head voice and remove most of the strain, even when shouting.
John Henny is a leading coach for vocal technique in the music industry. Follow him on Twitter @johnhennyvocals, or visit www.JohnHenny.com.