How to prepare your reading voice

Guidelines for preparing your voice for an Open Mic reading

Stumbling over words and running out breath happens to the best of readers at an open mic, but there are steps you can take to prepare your voice, your breath and yourself for your audience. These guidelines will help you build your confidence and improve your open mic reading.

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

Maya Angelou

As with everything in life, the choice is yours whether to follow any of these guidelines.

What not to do

Three hours before you read, avoid:

  • caffiene it dries up the vocal cords.
  • carbonated drinks it affects the sound of your voice.
  • alcohol it affects the sound of your voice.
  • exercise it makes the voice sound unnatural.
  • smoking it dries out the vocal cords
  • dairy (eating or drinking) it creates mucous that sticks to your vocal cords. Do you really want the sound of you trying to clear mucous during your reading be what the audience remembers about you?

Mucouse on your vocal cords: If you do find yourself with mucous on your vocal cords before a reading, you can:

Dry vocal cords: Drink water.

What to do

Read your work through a couple of times to feel out the ebb and flow of the story. Try the whispering technique described by Jeannette Nelson to tease out the emotion and rhythm of your writing. Voice – Text Work: Consonants in ‘Hamlet’

Prepare your voice by doing:

There are steps you can take to prepare your voice, your breath and yourself for your open mic performance.


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Melinda Brack

Short Fiction | Personal Essay | Short Memoir

Thanks for the photo by Mike Lewinski on Unsplash

Published by Melinda

Melinda writes short stories to explore her obsession with the shades of grey and contradictions of being human.

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