An activity to learn how to speak loudly utilizing breath as the fuel for the voice; to relax the body and become comfortable with the voice.
Everyone stands in a circle with both feet evenly hip width apart. Knees should be soft, not locked in. While standing straight,
with shoulders back, let the belly muscles relax (don’t be afraid to feel fat).
Let a breath come way down into the belly. Put one hand on the belly with your thumb on the belly button. Imagine the breath going to the thumb and notice it move outward when inhaling. Take a few breaths.
Suck in the belly and hold it for 3 seconds. Try to breathe while holding the belly in. Notice where you breathe. Point out that this
breathing is very shallow and that by engaging the abs one is unable to take a deep breath.
Relax the belly muscles and breathe again consciously placing breath into the lowest part of their lungs first. Notice there is much
more air. Repeat this breathing style three times to feel the ease of breathing like this.
Fill up with air and let the breath fall out with mouths open, like a sigh without sound. Let it be a sigh that is not controlled. Explain that speech should fall out of their bodies in the same manner.
Sigh, this time adding sound vibrations saying “Haaaaah.” Don’t be self conscious at the sound of your voice; focus on the sense of release, of sighing. Suggest starting at a slightly higher pitch then swooping down in pitch as the air and sound fall out.
Remember to breathe in only when needed. Avoid hyperventilating or taking in air too often. Repeat this sound and breath exercise several times until the students are comfortable letting out their voice vibrations without pushing.
Have students interact with each other by sending their breath across the room to another student. Focus on releasing the
sound always as a sigh, and not engaging any muscles in the belly or neck to push sound out.
Continue sighing, letting the air fall out with sound and now gently bounce the knees. See how this helps the vibrations “fall out” even more successfully. Model this movement for your students.
Now change the sigh on Haaaaaaaah to a saying 1,2,3,4,5 for a few sighs, then I do not like them Sam I am for a few more. Use a call & response format here, so the students sigh/speak in repetition of the teacher’s sigh/speech. Repeat a few times to feel the ease of speaking on a sigh. (Any line or phrase can be used. Knee bouncing can also be used.)
Now ask students to focus their eyes on where they send their breath. The focus point will help their breath reach that place. Continue sighing/speaking with eyes on that “point of focus” for the length of the whole sigh: 1,2,3,4,5, breathe in, 6,7,8,9,10, breathe in I do not like green eggs and ham, breathe, I do not like them Sam I am.