7 sure-fire ways to maintain your vocal prowess from Beth Trollan
Whether you’re dubbing, BV-ing, or laying down tracks for your masterpiece album in a pro-studio or at home, here is my list of what actually WORKS to be totally “on” in the studio:
1) Get Some Shut Eye. You may not think the voice can be affected by fatigue but it certainly can. If you have to unexpectedly take and retake for different ideas it can be tiring. So save the late night out and yelling at the rodeo for some other night partner – you’ll be more alert and present in the studio.
2) Keep the Juices Flowing. You may have (or need!) a coffee/black tea in the morning but it can dry the vocal chords (especially coffee). Make sure you have some water or juice afterwards to rehydrate well.
3) Don’t be a Dairy Queen (King) Stay very clear of cheese or milk before any recording. It can kill your effectiveness and ruin a job for you by creating unwanted sounds of overactive fluids in the through, namely phlegm leaving your voice less than stately.
4) Warm your Bones n’ Tones Many sessions are booked early in the morning when the voice and body are not yet open and active, so research or contact a professional voice coach for an effective routine to warm yourself up – and don’t neglect warming up your face, throat, and body.
5) Rescue from the Drought. One time in a dubbing job, after an exaggerated difference of creative opinions between the 2 directors (yes, 2) the engineer just wanted to finish. I had to refuse until I could drink something – my body was screaming for hydration. You only get one voice so be your own hero and ask for water! (Remember, they say it takes 20 minutes for that water to reach your vocal folds.)
6) Employ Sustainable Technique. One time in an animation casting, I contorted and strained my voice for the specs of a character and – amazingly – was cast. The studio told me a few weeks later “It’s great; we’re doing 55 episodes of this show”; this was a blessing and a curse! When creating a character, one needs a vocal approach that guards against unneeded strain on the chords. Know your limits and in consequence- this will prolong the life of your most valuable resource in the studio: your voice.
7) Use Your Auto-Correct Program. Listen immediately to your initial takes in order to save the time, energy and strain from repeating the same mistakes. Just ask the engineer to play it back for you and trust your own ears. Your best studio plug-in is your own judgment.
Beth Trollan is a Brooklyn born singer/actress from New York. She is a published songstress and collaborative lyricist. One can see her hit the big screen this year in Grand Piano in the supporting role of Emma’s Publicist, a thriller that finds itself where the worlds of Hitchcock and and Speed collide. It stars… READ MORE ABOUT BETH TROLLAN