As an actor, you can only give your best performance if you are well prepared. This not only means knowing your lines and cues off by heart and inside out, but also physically preparing your mind and body to perform. Even the most experienced actors need to warm up before they go on stage or set. Here is a quick guide to the whys and wherefores.
What is the aim of the warm up?
Unless you are made of steel, you are likely to experience a few pre-performance nerves. Warm up exercises take you out of yourself, and loosen up the body, mind, and emotions. It is often said that an actor’s body is their instrument, which might sound a bit corny, but it’s also true!
Warming up the body
Many actors find stretching exercises useful. Simply reaching your arms up over your head, and then slowly folding down to touch your toes will help you to relax. You could also try shoulder rolls, neck stretches, and facial exercises to help you get in touch with your muscles.
Learning some deep breathing techniques is also beneficial, to help you draw breaths from the diaphragm, which will help your voice to sound clear and powerful.
Warming up the voice
It is essential to do a vocal warmup, to prevent damage to the vocal cords, and help you project and enunciate your words. Humming as you exhale is a good place to start. Next, roll your tongue on the roof of your mouth to make a ‘trrr’ sound.
Repeating various tongue twisters is another good way to practice different vowel sounds, and get the lips, teeth, tongue and palette all working smoothly. Play around with your delivery and tone, sometimes reaching for the back of the room, and slowing and speeding up as you go on.
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