I keep reading blogs about advice on peoples favourite vocal warm up exercises and tongue twisters, and I'm pretty sure I've yet to read the same suggestions twice. Which can mean only one thing. We're all running round like mental eejits making a load of weird and wonderful noises. And, would you want it any different? Weeeeellll, maybe the neighbours would. But what do they know except hoovering at 6 am, or playing Blink 182 on full blast when I'm trying to watch Eggheads quiz show. What is it...90s American niche rock music revival hour or something. AM I RIGHT?!
(*High fives herself. And the neighbour through the wall. But they couldn't hear it... #callback)
Now, for me it's not about being able to recite the whole of a Gilbert and Sullivan aria (...how cultured am I with that reference. I can tell your impressed.) Who has time for that every day/time you need to record something. It's about having a few short and memorable bits that you can call on immediately and discreetly to get the old mouth in a place where it's making sense and not tripping you up like you've been on the vodka cornflakes again. IT WAS ONE TIME, OK?
So, here are my favourite tongue twisters that I use every day. Picked up from various eccentric voice teachers and acting coaches over the years. Just say them loads, vary the speed, the energy, the diction, do them backwards, do them jumping up and down, do them lying on the ground, do them in the shower, whatever fits your schedule, after the usual sirening, trilling and scrunching your face up like you've had a bit of sour lemon muscular work out stuff.
- Popocatepetl (pop-a-kat-a-petal) - It's only a bloody active volcano in flipping Puebla, Mexico folks! How dramatic. And good for the 'P' plosive we're so fond of popping onto the mic. Say it over and over again. Fast, slow, backwards, any-which-way you can. Up and down a scale if it takes your fancy #showoff
- Mee Nee Lee Thee Vee Zee - This is very impressive once you can do it super fast. Do it slow at first, and gradually built up the speed. Once you've got this vowel sound down, work through the rest - May Nay Lay Thay Vay Zay, and Mah and Moh and Moo etc., then do it...BACKWARDS! So you get;
- Zee Vee Thee Lee Nee Mee etc., - "Say whaaaat?!" I know, Bob, but you'll get used to it.
- Read whatever you can lay your hands on in a weird way. Look around you, and pick up something with words on it. And, read them. But do it with a big face, or a small face, or a big mouth, or a small mouth, or half of your mouth, or holding on to one of your lips so the other one has to work harder. Or in your best Marlon Brandon impersonation. But just read it in a way which pushes your mouth away from it's usual 'hi how are ya' movements. I am particularly familiar with the ingredient contents of my bathroom products. Thems well big words, innit?! And we've all often got a bit of time to spare in there, haven't we? In terms of, you know, folding towels and what have you... (;))* (*That's a winky smily face in brackets, which is confusing because half of the winky smily face code is a bracket...technology eh? Close Brackets.)
So there you have it folks. You're bloody welcome. You might like them. You might not. Every voice is different. Find what's right for you. These are the ones that have stayed with me and proven to be winners in terms of performance, memory and lols.
Thank you to the voice tutors who may have equipped me with them over the years. Or maybe they came to me in a dream, who knows. But I put them out into the world for all to see!
Feel free to comment with your favourites. I'm all for mixing it up. Experimenting. Trying new things. Keys in the bowel. Or Bowl. No, wait... That's not right.