The question of my inability to do character voices not withstanding, my decision to record audiobooks has thrown up another, hitherto undiscovered, technical issue with respect to my voice: that of its quality.
Now, a few people have told me I have a nice voice (and they haven’t always been hitting on me), but that doesn’t translate to a consistent reading voice that lasts for over an hour of takes and retakes. I think part of my conviction that my reading voice sounded boring was due to the fact that I’d run out of breath and my voice would sort of croak to the end of the sentence.
Part of the issue here is one of adaptation, to the extent that written punctuation does not always accommodate the read or spoken word. (So, it was true when I was taught that commas aren’t just placed where a reader might take a breath!) But other aspects of the problem are clearly due to vocal strength and breath control, or lack thereof on my part.
Coincidentally, around the time I was taking up recording audiobooks for Librivox the second time, a friend on Twitter posted a request for feedback on the first lesson of a smartphone app she’s developing for the voice. I decided to take her up on it and got a bonus second lesson and a mini warm-up routine, both of which I also provided feedback for. (I do like it when a mutually beneficial exchange of talents works out.)
I now do the mini-warm up before every recording session. The cat may look at me in alarm when I sigh down my vocal range, but it feels good to limber up before I start.
I’m not sure I’m the best judge of my own development, but the effect of the lessons and warm-up has been to make me more aware of how I use my voice when I’m reading and to have some modest goals in relation to looking after and maintaining it.
The world still needs to be spared from my singing, but.