Voiceover exercises to practice

Voice artists need to train, just like athletes and other performers. If you are searching for voiceover exercises, practice these today to hone your craft as a voice actor!


Rafael Botelho

12/22/202310 min read

a woman wearing glasses and headphones in front of a microphone
a woman wearing glasses and headphones in front of a microphone

Transform your voice acting skills with proven exercises

Embark on your journey to master voice acting with this essential guide to voice actor training.

Whether you're an aspiring voice actor for animation, an audiobook narrator, or involved in video game voice acting, this blog post provides tailored exercises to elevate your vocal performance.

Discover how breathing exercises, diction improvement, and character development can transform your skills.

Voice acting is a captivating art form that requires skill, practice, and dedication. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned voiceover artist, honing your craft through voice acting exercises is essential to unlocking the full potential of your voice.

This guide will explore the most effective voiceover practice techniques that will transform your delivery, enhance your vocal range, and perfect your articulation.

Imagine stepping into the recording booth, script in hand, heart racing; this was the case for me when I first started voice acting.

Despite my passion, I struggled with vocal range and clarity. It all changed when I discovered the power of targeted voice acting exercises.

Within months, my delivery improved, my confidence soared, and I landed my first significant role. This blog post is your blueprint for a similar transformation, whether you're just starting or looking to refine your skills.

Breathing Exercises for Vocal Control

Diaphragmatic breathing aims to strengthen your voice and gain control over your breath, which is crucial for voice acting talent but particularly useful if you are an audiobook narrator. Here's a step-by-step visual to help you do this exercise:

The humming warm-up aims to warm your vocal cords and enhance vocal resonance. Follow these steps:

1. Start with a deep breath using diaphragmatic breathing.

2. With your lips closed, hum a single note, feeling the vibration in your chest and face.

3. Change the pitch and volume gradually, exploring your vocal range.

4. Continue for 2-3 minutes, keeping the sound smooth and controlled.

If you feel any strain, pause and return to normal breathing. The humming should feel comfortable and resonant.

Voice Projection Practice For Enhanced Vocal Performance

One of the challenges in voice acting is projecting your voice effectively, especially in a recording booth. Voice projection exercises can help you amplify your presence and ensure that your voice carries across different mediums.

Begin by practicing vocal exercises that involve projecting your voice to the back of the room. Imagine speaking to an audience in a large theater and projecting your voice accordingly.

Gradually increase the volume and intensity of your voice while maintaining clarity and control.

Voiceover exercises and vocal warm-ups

Like any other physical activity, warming your voice is crucial before engaging in voice acting exercises. Begin with simple vocal warm-up exercises to loosen your vocal cords and improve flexibility. Start by humming gently, gradually increasing the pitch and volume.

Then, move on to lip trills, tongue twisters, and sirens. These voiceover exercises will help warm your voice, improve your diction, and increase your vocal range. Engage in singing and vocal warm-ups.

Professional singers use these exercises to improve speech clarity, resonance, and breath control, like practicing scales or lip trills.

Voice acting exercises

Voice acting requires a blend of vocal control, range, and expressiveness. Various exercises can enhance these skills. Here are some essential voice acting exercises, each with specific benefits:

  • The humming exercise is a fundamental tool for voice actors. It involves deep inhalation and gentle humming, focusing on smooth, consistent humming. It warms up the voice, increases vocal resonance, and helps control the voice. It's beneficial for character voices with deep, gravelly tones.

  • Straw phonation:

    • This exercise involves making sounds through a straw, like humming or reading a line. The straw's narrow pathway helps operate vocal cords efficiently, improving airflow and reducing vocal strain. It is beneficial for maintaining voice control and preventing strain in fast-paced character voicing.

  • Yawn-sigh:

    • Mimicking a yawn followed by a sigh, this exercise is a soothing warm-up for the vocal cords. It helps relax the vocal cords and control breath, reducing tension in the larynx. It's beneficial for calm, soothing voiceovers.

  • Pitch glide:

    • It's an excellent exercise for stretching vocal range and building vocal agility. It involves smoothly gliding the voice from the lowest to the highest note, which is helpful for characters requiring dramatic shifts in pitch or tone.

  • Lip trill:

    • This exercise involves exhaling while blowing air through the lips to create a 'big' sound. It reduces tension in the vocal cords, improves breath control, and is excellent for warming up the voice.

  • Resonant voice:

    • This exercise amplifies natural resonance and starts with humming and transitioning to an 'M' sound. This increases vocal power and richness, ideal for projecting voice without straining the vocal cords.

  • Silent laugh:

    • This exercise engages and loosens facial muscles, enhancing voice expressiveness. It's particularly effective for voicing cheerful, bubbly characters.

Vocal warm-ups for animation voice actors

These voiceover exercises add versatility and emotion to your animated characters:

  • Reading texts with deliberate overacting, even mundane content, is an excellent way to train your emotional range and voice modulation.

  • Reading novels aloud and creating unique voices for different characters is a practical exercise in voice variation and consistency.

  • Singing trains various voice frequencies and can benefit voice acting talent.

  • Understand punctuation in scripts; not strictly adhering to punctuation can make voiceovers more natural and fluid.

For visual demonstrations, the following YouTube videos can be helpful:

Difference between tongue twisters and articulation exercises

Tongue twisters and articulation exercises, while similar in their focus on speech and pronunciation, serve slightly different purposes. Tongue Twisters are phrases or sentences designed to be difficult to articulate.

They often contain sequences of similar sounds, challenging the speaker's ability to pronounce them quickly and accurately. The primary goal of tongue twisters is to improve speech fluency and diction, often in a fun and challenging way.

On the other hand, articulation exercises are specifically designed to improve speech clarity by focusing on the precise production of sounds.

These exercises often target phonetic components, such as pronouncing certain consonants or vowel sounds. They are used to overcome speech impediments or improve diction in a more structured manner. Examples include:

  • "A white witch watched a woebegone walrus winding white wool" (focusing on lip sounds - p, b, m, w, wh).

  • "A sick sparrow sang six sad spring songs sitting sheltering under a squat shrub" (focusing on sounds produced by the tongue tip and alveolar ridge).

While tongue twisters and articulation exercises are valuable tools for voice training, articulation exercises tend to be more targeted toward addressing specific speech issues.

In contrast, tongue twisters offer a broader approach to improving overall fluency and pronunciation.

Linguistic aspects of tongue twisters

Tongue twisters involve voicing a series of phonemes, the slightest sound unit in a language. Difficulties in articulating these phrases often arise from two phonemes with similar articulation areas.

The challenge is intensified using fortis (strong) and lenis (weak) consonants. Fortis consonants like /p/, /t/, and /k/ are pronounced more significantly, while lenis consonants like /b/, /d/, and /g/ are softer.

This linguistic complexity can lead to mix-ups when pronouncing tongue twisters.

4 Types of Tongue Twisters

Tongue twisters are sentences designed to be challenging to articulate, often due to similar sound sequences. The Tongue Twister Workout involves practicing tongue twisters to improve pronunciation, speed, and fluency.

With a slow start and gradual speed increase, this exercise enhances diction and articulation, making each word clear and precise. There are four main types:

  • Rapid alternation between similar phonemes, like "She sells seashells by the seashore."

  • Alliteration, which blends alliterative or rhyming words, often has a singsong effect.

  • Compound words and their stems.

  • Words or short phrases repeated rapidly, like "Toy boat," "Wristwatch," or "Shoeshine."

List of Tongue Twisters to Practice

  1. "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy, was he?"

  2. "Gobbling gargoyles gobbled gobbling goblins."

  3. "Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely."

  4. "The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick."

  5. "He threw three free throws."

  6. "A noisy noise annoys an oyster."

  7. "Eleven elephants eagerly eat Easter eggs."

  8. "Friendly frogs frolicked freely from France."

  9. "He happily held his hat in his hand."

  10. "Dashing Danny danced at dawn."

  11. "Grace gracefully greeted the grateful guests."

  12. "A big black bug bit a big black bear."

  13. "A proper copper coffee pot."

  14. "Black background, brown background."

  15. "I wish to wash my Irish wristwatch."

  16. "Jennifer juggles jugs of juicy juice."

Video Demonstration of Tongue Twisters

For visual examples, these YouTube videos show people practicing tongue twisters:

Tongue twisters are a fun exercise and a valuable tool for improving pronunciation and articulation.

They challenge the speaker to navigate complex sound combinations and rapid speech, making them an excellent practice for anyone looking to enhance their spoken language skills.

Articulation Drills for Clear Speech

Tongue twisters for diction improvement and speech fluency. Follow these steps:

1. Choose a tongue twister, like "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers."

2. Start by saying it slowly, enunciating each word.

3. Gradually increase your speed while maintaining clarity.

4. Repeat the exercise with different tongue twisters for 5-10 minutes.

Focus on the precision of each sound, especially challenging ones. Take your time; the goal is clarity, not speed. Consonant vowel repetition aims to enhance the clarity of consonant and vowel sounds. Follow these steps:

1. Pick a consonant and pair it with each vowel (e.g., "ba," "be," "bi," "bo," "bu").

2. Say each combination clearly and loudly.

3. Repeat with different consonants.

4. Practice for 5-10 minutes, focusing on challenging sounds.

Pay attention to mouth movements and breath control. Record yourself to check for consistency and clarity.

Clear and precise articulation is vital for compelling voice acting—practice articulation exercises to improve your pronunciation and clarity. Start by pronouncing tongue twisters slowly and gradually increase your speed.

Focus on consonant sounds and ensure that each syllable is pronounced distinctly—additionally, practice vowel exercises to improve the resonance and clarity of your voice.

Remember to focus on breathing and maintain proper breath support throughout these exercises.

  • The sibilant sound exercise focuses on pronouncing sounds like "S" and "Z" clearly. Practice words and phrases containing these sounds, such as "Zoe's zeppelin zigzagged through the sky."

  • Improve the distinction between similar sounds. Practice word pairs differing by one sound, like "ship/sheep" or "pat/bat," focusing on their unique sound differences.

  • Concentrates on clear vowel sound articulation. Practice stretching lips and tongue to pronounce vowel sounds distinctly.

  • Articulation bingo: An engaging game using bingo cards filled with words containing the target speech sound, such as "rabbit" or "red" for the /r/ sound.

  • The consonant cluster exercise aids in pronouncing challenging consonant clusters. Practice words like "splendid" or "strength," focusing on each consonant sound.

  • Record yourself reading or practicing speech sounds, then analyze the recording to identify and correct articulation errors.

  • Blowing exercises from speech therapy enhance breath control and vocal strength. These exercises focus on controlled exhalation to develop strong breath support for clear speech.

Articulation exercises are an essential part of a voice actor's training regime, helping them to articulate words and phrases clearly and distinctly.

You can enhance your pronunciation, enunciation, and overall verbal expression by practicing them regularly. These exercises and regular practice can significantly improve the quality of voice acting performances.

Articulation Drills for Video Game Voice Actors

Articulation drills can be beneficial if you're a video game voice actor. Engage in targeted exercises to deliver dynamic and clear dialogue in fast-paced gaming scenarios. Here are three articulation exercises:

  1. "She says she shall sew a sheet."

  2. "Felicity works at a facility with fleas."

  3. "Unique New York. New York unique."

Voice acting combines skill, creativity, and technical prowess. Incorporating these exercises into your daily routine can enhance your vocal abilities and overall performance as a voice actor. Voice acting requires consistent practice and dedication.

Video Demonstration of Articulation Exercises

For visual guidance, these YouTube videos demonstrate articulation exercises:

"Articulation Exercises for Actors (How to Improve Articulation & Diction)" provides a comprehensive guide to articulation exercises for actors, which also apply to voice actors.

"Improve Your Voice - Daily Articulation Exercises" showcases daily exercises to enhance articulation, which is beneficial for voice actors to improve their speech clarity.

Emotion and Character Development Training

Voice acting is not just about tone and delivery; it's also about conveying emotions and developing characters. To excel in this aspect:

  1. Exercise emotion and character development.

  2. Start by selecting a script or monologue that evokes a specific emotion, such as happiness, anger, or sadness.

  3. Practice delivering the lines with the appropriate emotional depth, using your voice to convey the intended sentiment.

Additionally, develop unique character voices by experimenting with different accents, tones, and speech patterns. This will help you stand out and bring authenticity to your performances.

Creating distinct character voices can be particularly useful to enhance your performance in animation and video games. Emotional script reading aims to develop the ability to convey emotions through voice. Follow these steps:

1. Select a script or monologue with a strong emotional element.

2. Read through it, identifying the primary emotion (e.g., joy, anger, sadness).

3. Practice reading the script, focusing on conveying the emotion through your voice.

4. Experiment with different intensities and nuances of the emotion.

Record yourself to evaluate the emotional authenticity of your delivery and seek feedback from others.

Listening and Mimicking Exercises

Listening and mimicking exercises are excellent ways to improve your voice acting skills. Choose a variety of voiceover samples from different genres and styles, such as commercials, animations, or audiobooks.

Listen carefully to the voice actors' delivery, tone, and pacing. Then, try to mimic their performance, focusing on capturing the essence of their voice. This exercise will help you develop versatility in your voice and expand your range of vocal styles.

  • Mimic movie quotes: Practicing famous quotes helps improve pronunciation, accent, and emotional expression. This can expand your vocal range and adaptability.

  • Make character voices: Mimicking cartoon or character voices helps you leave your comfort zone and enhances voice adaptability. Recording yourself can help you self-assess and track your progress.

Key Insights

Voice acting is an art that combines skill, creativity, and technical prowess. Incorporating these voiceover exercises into your routine enhances your vocal abilities and overall performance as a voice actor. However, the journey continues. Take action now:

  • Practice consistently: Dedicate time each day to these exercises. The key to mastery lies in regular, focused practice.

  • Track your progress: Record your practice sessions. This will help you monitor your improvements and identify areas needing more work.

  • Join a community: Connect with other voice actors. Platforms like Reddit, Discord, or local acting groups can be invaluable support, feedback, and networking resources.

  • Share your journey: Don't hesitate to share your progress on social media or voice acting forums. Your journey can inspire others, and you might get tips from seasoned professionals.

  • Seek feedback: Ask for input from peers or mentors. Constructive criticism is vital for growth.

Remember, as my journey shared at the beginning of this blog post, transformation as a voice acting talent comes with consistent practice and a willingness to learn and adapt.

Embrace these exercises as part of your journey to find your unique voice in voice acting. Start today and step closer to realizing your voice acting aspirations!

Diaphragmatic Breathing Step by Step
Diaphragmatic Breathing Step by Step
a man wearing headphones and speaking into a microphone in front of a monitor
a man wearing headphones and speaking into a microphone in front of a monitor
a woman recording her voice over the phone
a woman recording her voice over the phone