Smooth onset of vowel sounds

If you’re struggling with using a forward voice (does your voice feel stuck in your throat? Do you feel like you swallow your words?) then try this quick tip to help practice that lovely, free, smooth open vowel sound…

First, try drilling the ‘H’ sound:

H     H     H     H

HH     HH    HH     H

HHH     HHH     HHH     H

HHHH     HHHH     HHHH     H

…use loads of breath to help make the sound forward and avoid tension in your throat.

 

Next, add a simple /ah/ sound. Just like at the dentist, the sound in car / fast / mark / castle is a free and open sound….

H/ah/     H/ah/     H/ah/    H/ah/

Does the /ah/ sound feel free and open? Is it following the ‘h’ out of your mouth in an easy fashion? Good!

Try a few other vowel sounds, not too many, just get used to this exercise before you move on…

H/oh/      H/ooooh/   H/ey/   H/aw/

Good luck and let me know how you get on!

 

Check out my new look GoDaddy website too www.midwintertuition.co.uk – it’s amazing.

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Mindfulness – inspiration – poem

http://www.thepoetryexchange.co.uk/uncategorized/wild-geese-by-mary-oliver/

WILD GEESE BY MARY OLIVER

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

YouTube

Sharing stuff on the internet is quite peculiar, isn’t it. I still haven’t got used to the idea that the things I publish might actually be enjoyed by some people. I often feel like this is shouting into a vacuum, then I realise I have a hundred subscribers on YouTube – not Taylor Swift style numbers admittedly – but one hundred people are actually interested in my videos. I don’t make them as often as I would like to, balancing work, running, dog training, house work, school runs, naughty boy school visits, cooking, cleaning, parish council, village hall committee, governors, parent association, and keeping up with The Apprentice…. but when I do them I try to make them useful. Have a look at my channel and see. You’ll notice massive gaps and some questionable hairdos (I often film post-run post-shower so have wet hair and a beetroot face) but luckily no one tunes in because of my appearance. Unless they’re a bit peculiar.

https://www.youtube.com/user/pmidwintertutor

I’d love to do more videos / podcasts on issues that people struggle with, so do let me know if you need a specific topic covered.

Podcasts

I started learning Arabic recently – I’ve volunteered to be a tutor for Paper Airplanes and would like to try and study a little Arabic. It’s hard, not because the language is strange, but because the podcast I’m using travels at a million miles per hour! As a result, I’m going to slow down the delivery in my podcast. I often listen while washing up or driving, when it isn’t practical to pause the podcast, which I’m sure is true about many others who listen to mine. So, from now on, I’ll speak more slowly and repeat more often. It’ll feel odd and slightly patronising I’m sure, but with time I’ll get used to it and hopefully people who listen will only benefit.

In the meantime, check out my previous podcasts. Some of them are pretty good!

http://www.midwintertuition.co.uk/Podcast.html

Sore throat, tired, hoarse, wintery voice? Here’s how to fix it.

  • Get some sleep. Now. Go to bed earlier than you intended. Put that smartphone down, and that tablet, and that laptop. Pick up a BOOK (how about this one?) and read until you fall asleep. Less bluescreen = less stress on the brain = better sleep = better health.
  • Wake up and drink oodles of water. Keep a bottle with you all day and keep refilling it. Hydrate that body and throat and keep it hydrated. There are more stringent rules for healthy tap water than bottled water, so just use the tap to save pennies!
  • Spend five minutes breathing deeply, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Do it in the shower, on the way to the train, in the car, anywhere. No one will know you’re doing it and your lungs will thank you.
  • Eat honey on toast, if it rocks your boat. Honey is so great for the throat. Local honey is best, so do your best to find your local honey seller.
  • If you have five minutes where no one can hear you, hum a tune or two, then lalalala a few times to get your voice practised. Practice some consonant sounds and tongue twisters. A stronger voice is less likely to suffer.
  • Speak softly and carefully when you can, save your big voice for necessary times, like that AMAZING presentation you’re doing later on, or that Christmas Do when everyone will be chatting and you’ll need to be loud to be heard.
  • Buy some Vocalzones. They’re the best for a healthy voice. Honestly.
  • Wash your hands as often as humanly possible. Colds and lurgy spread more quickly through poor hygiene, so avoid it by washing your hands when you can.
  • If your voice hurts, rest it.
  • Rest it some more.
  • And some more.
  • Go back to point one and start again J

The Top 10 British Voices

Looking for some listening inspiration to practice your vowel sounds? Try this lot – my top 10!

 

  1. Rosamund Pike – check out this interview to hear her beautiful tone of voice. So rounded and easy to listen to. https://youtu.be/CiWhU_MoblM
  1. Colin Firth here on Radio 1 https://youtu.be/QLficDnyvlg you can watch how his mouth moves in quite a limited way, but he still manages to round the vowel sounds – watch his top lip – it’s quite still!
  1. Elizabeth Bennett, sorry, Jennifer Ehle. https://youtu.be/fMt1Fu7-Pp4 such a jewel in this production, controlled and clipped sounds made the character so watchable and believable.
  2. Judi Dench https://youtu.be/NI3MWLRsu2g such a mischievous character in this clip. Notice how light her voice sounds, because she is smiling throughout.
  3. Emma Thompson, here in Much Ado, https://youtu.be/zl0lBHti99A projects her voice over the party without shouting or straining, by opening her mouth a little wider. I adore hearing her speak!
  4. Kenneth Brannagh – couldn’t miss out Kenneth! Here he talks about Hamlet https://youtu.be/sGX_qtZFtGc and just listen to his inflection- just chatting away but he manages to put so much energy into it.
  5. Alan Rickman – https://youtu.be/GorPPLfJ7s0 this is the only voice on the list that I’d outwardly call ‘sexy’. That restrain and control are just divine.
  6. David Attenborough. You can hear the passion and the knowledge in every word he says! https://youtu.be/paSTsGimYZg
  7. https://youtu.be/MCx6MYd_qLk is Moira Stuart, with those velvety sounds, I could listen to her all day! Would I Lie To You – one of my favourite panel shows.
  8. Joseph Fiennes, https://youtu.be/7GmtvQSBH8w here talking about a recent film, award-winning, beautifully spoken, lovely long vowel sounds, quiet tone. Such a pleasure.