Voice resonance is the result of vibrations in the facial bones, mouth cavity, teeth, and hard palate. It is what separates a thin, light, wispy voice from a tonally full, rich, commanding voice. Some people are blessed with natural resonance; others must learn to create it. When speaking, vibrations should resonate from the forehead, between the eyes, back of the nose, sinus area below the cheeks, under the jawbones, and sides of the throat. As you practice the following exercises, use your fingertips to feel for vibrations in these areas.
1. Grab a good breath and say, "hum." Hold onto the final "m"
sound until the lips vibrate. Move your lips around until you
find the most buzzing sensation. Sustain the "m" sound for
ten to fifteen seconds. Feel the vibrations in the lips, nose, jaw,
cheeks, sinus, and sides of the throat.
2. Make an "n" sound by opening the mouth and touching the
tip of the tongue behind the upper front teeth. As the tongue
vibrates on the back of the front teeth and the palate, a vibration should be felt in the nose bone, maxillary sinus area, jaw, and sides of the throat. Move the tongue along the roof of the mouth, from behind the front teeth to the middle of the palate, without losing connection or the vibration.
3. In a similar fashion, make an "l" sound. Note that the tongue
is curled slightly and placed a little further back than the "n"
position. Move the tongue back and forth along the roof of the
mouth without losing contact.
4. Alternate between the "m," "n," and "l" sounds. The "m"
sound stimulates the front of the face; the "n" sound moves the focus backward, away from the lips; and the "l" sound is more open and has an upward movement. Now, say the word, "mental." (Funny, I know, but it has the right sounds in it.)
5. Place your top teeth on your bottom lip and make a "v" sound. Move your bottom lip out and back while keeping a constant vibration.
6. Pull your lips back, as if it's in a wide smile, and make a "z"
sound. Create different "z" sounds by moving the tongue back
and forth and puckering and releasing the lips.
7. Open the mouth, breathe in and release the air as you verbalize an extended "ah" sound. Feel the vocal chord vibrations in the front of the throat as the sound reverberates in the larynx. Repeat the exercise several times. Each time, drop the musical pitch one or two notes lower until you reach your lowest register. This exercise is very effective when it's necessary to relax the voice or speak in a lower pitch.
8. Open your mouth in a wide oval position and make an "ah"
sound. Engage your lip muscles and stretch your lips forward
until they form a small "o" shape and make an "oh" sound.
Repeat the process, moving back and forth between a wide
"ah" sound and a small "oh." Listen to how the sounds in the
mouth cavity change as it adjusts to the shape of the lips and
9. Breathe in and make a long "e" sound. Hold the "e" until
you feel the vibrations in the jawbone, sides of the throat, and
10. Breathe in and create a chant starting with an "ah," going to an "m," and ending with an "o." Repeat three or four times, trying to sustain one continuous sound for thirty seconds.
11. Awaken your vocal cords by singing your favorite tune a cappella or along with the song. Forget whether or not you are a good singer. Sing loudly and with gusto!