It is very normal for adults to develop ineffective breathing habits. However, if you are generally stressed or anxious, this will often cause ineffective breathing patterns. Relaxation techniques can help break these. » Read the check list below and if you feel you need help you can try the audio voice warm-up classes. Warm-up exercises: Props required - before starting these exercises you will need: a heavy hardback book, an exercise mat if you do not wish to lie on the floor, a quiet room for 20 minutes. Pauses are left in the recordings for you to complete the required tasks.
*Note: these exercises are designed as warm-ups to achieve what we consider possible without a voice coach present. They are suggested to help boost your confidence and tackle nerves before a particular occasion & may not necessarily provide long-term solutions to deeply rooted problems. If you feel you need further help it is best to work under the personal guidance of a voice coach.
• Are you relaxed with a good posture, elongated back, shoulders relaxed, head comfortably upright on shoulders?
• Say a sentence, e.g. " My name is.....and I live in..... ", a few times. Start to notice how you breathe before you say it. Put one hand on your upper chest and one on your lower abdomen below the rib cage and breathe in through the nose before speaking the sentence. Which hand moves more as you breathe before speaking? The upper or lower? If the lower hand moves more, then you are breathing correctly for speaking. If the upper hand moves more, then you are not breathing deeply enough and will run out of air quickly as you speak. Try doing this a few times to make sure you can feel your own breathing pattern.
• Breathe in through the nose again and exhale on a long note such as ‘ah..’. Does your voice feel strong and connected to your centre, or does it feel tense and stuck in your throat?
• To breathe correctly for speaking, you need to establish a breathing rhythm from the diaphragm
'My confidence has increased greatly, especially in my 'phone voice'. I also have less sore throats as the warm up exercises have strengthened my voice and help prepare it for a day of talking. I will use the website to continue accessing my improvements'
Claire Asher, Teacher