The Art of Public Speaking
Try the following exercise in the same manner:
After this exercise has been mastered, the following will also be found excellent for flexibility of lips:
Memorize these sounds indicated (not the expressions) so that you can repeat them rapidly.
| A as in May. | E as in Met. | U as in Use. | A " Ah. | I " Ice. | Oi " Oil. | A " At. | I " It. | Ou " Our. | O " No. |
O " No. | OO " Ooze. | A " All. | OO " Foot. | A " Ah. | E " Eat. | OO " Ooze. | E " Eat.
All the activity of breathing must be centered, not in the throat, but in the middle of the body--you must
breathe from the diaphragm. Note the way you breathe when lying flat on the back, undressed in bed. You
will observe that all the activity then centers around the diaphragm. This is the natural and correct method of
breathing. By constant watchfulness make this your habitual manner, for it will enable you to relax more
perfectly the muscles of the throat.
The next fundamental requisite for good voice is
If the muscles of the throat are constricted, the tone passage partially closed, and the mouth kept half-shut,
how can you expect the tone to come out bright and clear, or even to come out at all? Sound is a series of
waves, and if you make a prison of your mouth, holding the jaws and lips rigidly, it will be very difficult for
the tone to squeeze through, and even when it does escape it will lack force and carrying power. Open your
mouth wide, relax all the organs of speech, and let the tone flow out easily.
Start to yawn, but instead of yawning, speak while your throat is open. Make this open-feeling habitual when
speaking--we say make because it is a matter of resolution and of practise, if your vocal organs are healthy.
Your tone passages may be partly closed by enlarged tonsils, adenoids, or enlarged turbinate bones of the
nose. If so, a skilled physician should be consulted.
The nose is an important tone passage and should be kept open and free for perfect tones. What we call
"talking through the nose" is not talking through the nose, as you can easily demonstrate by holding your nose
as you talk. If you are bothered with nasal tones caused by growths or swellings in the nasal passages, a slight,
painless operation will remove the obstruction. This is quite important, aside from voice, for the general
health will be much lowered if the lungs are continually starved for air.
The final fundamental requisite for good voice is
A voice that is pitched back in the throat is dark, sombre, and unattractive. The tone must be pitched forward,
but do not force it forward. You will recall that our first principle was ease. Think the tone forward and out.
Believe it is going forward, and allow it to flow easily. You can tell whether you are placing your tone
forward or not by inhaling a deep breath and singing ah with the mouth wide open, trying to feel the little
delicate sound waves strike the bony arch of the mouth just above the front teeth. The sensation is so slight
that you will probably not be able to detect it at once, but persevere in your practise, always thinking the tone
forward, and you will be rewarded by feeling your voice strike the roof of your mouth. A correct
forward-placing of the tone will do away with the dark, throaty tones that are so unpleasant, inefficient, and