This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

September 17, 2014

Training your voice

As a Graphic Designer and Illustrator, I never had to be concerned with my voice. My art spoke for itself, at least I hope that it did, and still does. But when I started teaching and training, I became aware of the importance of having a voice that people could understand, and not be distracted by.

Luckily, I have a good friend who is a voice actor. If you've lived in Phoenix, Arizona for a while, you have heard him, on commercials, in the backgrounds of videos, etc. And his voice sounds so natural that now I know that it starts with having a gift, but it also relies on a lot of hard work, and training. His name is +Mike Binder

The first place to start when training your voice is training your ear. Like any other art form (and yes, voice acting is an art form), it begins with paying attention to what other people are doing. Mike made a tape for me that I played over and over in my car. And then suddenly I started hearing great voices, in movies, on TV, everywhere.

Of course, I heard a lot of bad voices, too, and mine was one of them. Most people who are called on to do public speaking will start to speak in a very wooden way, the same way that most people who are called on to act will. And believe me, it's just as painful for an audience to listen to a bad speaker as it is for them to watch bad acting.

Training your voice includes all of the things that make for clear communication to an audience. The first thing that I had to throw away was my tendency to use the slang that I picked up in my childhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I learned to say, *yes*, instead of *you bet'cha!*. I learned when to raise and lower my voice, changing the pitch for emphasis.

I often tell people that I love the sound of my voice. And, really, if you're speaking to an audience, you really have to kind of feel that way, so that they will. In front of an audience, your voice is your instrument. You may not have a Grand Piano voice, but at least you can make it sound less like a kazoo!

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