One of the primary tools of an actor is their voice. Improving your voice’s range and abilities is a great way to land more roles. In fact, there are some actors and actresses who rely solely on their voice for behind-the-scenes work for video games and animation.
It stands to reason then that speech therapy can improve your chances of acting success, just like taking drama classes. Here are some reasons why you may want to hire a speech therapist to help build your career.
Avoiding Vocal Stress
Drama classes will teach a lot about how to emote well, but they may not have much on how to take care of your voice over the long term. The sooner you learn good vocal hygiene and practice it, the sooner you can avoid bad habits that could lead to hoarseness or vocal quality changes that could prevent you from landing that part you’ve been dreaming about.
Detecting Problems Early
Having a speech therapist on hand will also help you detect problems early before they become major. If you have to do a part that uses a register that’s naturally hard on the voice, your therapist can recommend exercises or give you a vocal rest period. They can also inspect your voice box for damage and repair it while problems are small, like finding tiny lesions before they cause permanent damage.
Overcoming Stage Fright
Did you know that stage fright is also a condition that can be treated by speech therapy? Sometimes stage fright isn’t because of a fear of the audience but from a fear of speaking poorly or incorrectly. A speech therapist with drama training can help you roleplay different kinds of scenarios in a safe environment while also listening to your vocal quality. They can determine if your nervousness is coming through in your voice and make suggestions that could help. Better in a private doctor’s office than at your audition!
Changing Accents (Articulation)
Sometimes an actor needs to learn a new accent or get rid of their native one so they can apply for different roles. While you can learn a lot on how to do this from drama teachers, a speech therapist can help you pinpoint the exact articulations you need to change to make your natural accent sound like a different one.
Accent work is just an advanced version of what’s known as articulation therapy. People with articulation problems have difficulty making sounds or have problems speaking clearly. If you want to use a different accent, speak a line in a different language, or just want to sound clearer when you deliver your lines, learning some articulation exercises can be just the thing you need.
One of the things that helps an actor deliver cool lines is fluent speaking. The words just flow out naturally and effortlessly. Even if you don’t have a fluency disorder like a stutter, there are still combinations of sounds that trip up most speakers. A simple way to detect fluency problems and improve them is by mastering tongue twisters. Those who can handle complex twisters without stumbling over their words have a high level of fluent speaking. A speech therapist can help you detect sound combinations you might trip over in your lines so you don’t flub your big moment, then give you exercises to improve your fluency.
Do you have a problem reaching certain pitches, producing enough volume, or have a flat affect? You may have a resonance problem. Singers have to work a lot with resonance, but it’s important for any public speaker or actor. However, the resonance training singers use is not the same as what you need for good acting. So that singing coach might be doing you a disservice! Try working with a speech therapist instead to get that range and tone you’re looking for instead.
You can overcome your speech issues with a little knowledge and some work. Many famous actors and actresses tackled their issues head-on and went on to achieve great success. Did you know that James Earl Jones and Julia Roberts had stutters? These are iconic voices that you would never believe had to struggle with their speech growing up. There are many others. You can learn about them in this article on our site.
So if you have dreams of becoming a big-name actor but worry about your speaking ability, or you’re looking to get an edge on the competition, call our offices to schedule a speech appointment. We’ll talk with you about your intended roles, educate you on vocal hygiene, and help you through some exercises to find problems in your speaking voice. You might be surprised at what we can find in your accent that sounds completely normal to you but everyone can pick up on.