In the immortal words of Ned Stark, “Winter is coming”.
People often forget Jon Snow’s bereft reply, “Too right t’ winter is coming, our Dad. Ah’m comin’ down wi’ t’ flu and I need to take care of me voice!”
An iconic scene I think you’ll agree.
Just like Jon Snow, you must too look after your voice. Winter can be a particularly harsh season for Voiceover artists, with the consistent colds, sniffles and bouts of flu, and constantly going from icy cold outside temperatures to heated studios. Your throat, and therefore voice, can take a battering, so we’ve put together a few tips to help keep your work-tool in tip-top shape this winter.
1. Wear a scarf
Avoid the negative effects of going from warm rooms to the bitter iciness of the outdoors by simply wearing a scarf!
A scarf will help keep your neck, and therefore your vocal tract, warm (duh) and wet. When your vocal tract is warm and wet, it’s a happy chap, and will reward you with a top notch performance on that next Santa laugh or Elf giggle you’re asked to do.
Speaking of warm and wet, make sure you stay hydrated. If you’re not drinking enough fluids, your throat can start to dry out, leading to sore throats and croaky reads.
If a glass of water is too boring, or not quite festive enough for you, spice up your hydration – reward yourself with a hot chocolate, or a hot honey and lemon after a session. You’ve earned it.
3. Suck on throat sweets
Another great way to keep your throat hydrated is by sucking on a throat sweet. This can help lubricate your throat so you can once again sell sausages with the best of them!
Plus they taste nice. And they’re probably a business expense.
Don’t quote me on that.
4. Put a small bowl of water on your radiators
It may sound like the ramblings of a Broadmoor escapee, but you’ll spot a theme emerging. Moisture.
Central heating is great for making you feel all cosy, but it is a very dry kind of heat. Inject some moisture back into the air by placing a small bowl of water on the radiators. As the radiator heats up, the water in the bowl will start to evaporate, putting moisture back into the air around you.
Sure, you could buy an expensive humidifier to solve this same problem, but this trick will save you money. And it’s much less noisy when you are recording!
5. Breathe through your nose
Breathing through your nose seems really simple, but it can actually work wonders when it comes to keeping your voice in good condition.
Not only do those attractive nose hairs of yours filter out all the pollen, dust and other crud from the air, but breathing through your nose warms and moisturises the air you breathe in before it hits your vocal tract.
Isn’t the human body
6. Don’t shout over the noise
This last one is relevant all year round, but becomes particularly poignant with all those festive parties lurking around the corner.
The music may be pumping, or maybe Uncle Keith is droning on again after his seventh sherry – avoid the temptation to shout over the noise to talk to others. You’ll just wake up in the morning sounding like a hoarse ghost of yourself, and unless it’s specifically a sexy Santa voice the client has asked for, you won’t be in any shape to voice anything.
So there we have it, a list of great tips to help you keep your voice crisp this winter.
Unlike Jon Snow, you do know something now.