[20170413] Training Actor’s Voice by Lydia Park

Lydia Park

Date: 2017 April 13th
Place: Theater and Cinema Ho Chi Minh city University
Lecturer: Lydia Park
Summary: Kodaki

When you train your voice on the stage, you need to put off your shoes. In Korean, students are told to put off their shoes while training voice on the stage too. People say that when your naked feet touch the floor directly without anything between, you will be more confident on the stage because you can feel clearly that you are on the stage right now. You feel your existence, you feel your body. Actor’s body is so important. An actor need to notice on the body, concentrate on it during your practice and feel it.

Control breath

People are not born with good voice. They have to be trained to have a good voice. So how is good voice?

With many researches, they found that people with deep voice can easily convince hearers more than people with thin and high voice. Also, the deep voice is more attractive than the thin voice. Therefore, the actor need to be trained to have deep voice. People often speak with breath from larynx that makes their voice not deep. If the actor want to have a deep voice, they have to speak with breath from belly.

So at your university, how did the teacher do to train your voice? Show me that.
(A student from the university showed Lydia the way the teachers trained actor’s voice).

He pressed his hands on his belly like the picture above. Then he started to: “A… a… a…” many times. Before doing that, he took a deep breath.

Then, Park said that: you have to control your breath when you exhale through mouth. The important is not on how long you can keep your exhaling breath but on its density. You have to keep the same density, same speed while exhaling. Its regularity is important. To check it, now I offer you to change your position like that.

Put a hand in front of your mouth (which hand is okay) to feel the exhaling breath, to check and control its density, speed, regularity while the other hand is still pressing the belly.

Wait, wait. The way you guys inhale also has problem too. You are inhaling in too long time. Please tell me what did your teachers say about the reason why you had to inhale too long.

A girl answered that: “Because we can keep breath in the belly more long time, then we can talk long dialogues.”

Yes. But in fact, people don’t talk too long in reality. Therefore, you don’t need to inhale too long for long dialogues. Even in long dialogues, you just inhale normally, then divide the taking breath process many times in the parts that you can stop a few second naturally. That’s okay too. Don’t be too greedy. Now, let’s do it and try to inhale quickly.

If you find it’s hard to inhale quickly, then try this way. You sweep out the hand putting in front of your mouth quickly, decisively, quickly. The time for this action is also the time for inhaling. When your hand is out of your mouth, you also stop inhaling. Then, hold the hand at the same time hold breath for a defined time. After that, put the hand in front of your mouth again and start exhaling slowly in a defined time.

First time: Hold breath in 10s. Exhale in 20s.
Second time: Hold breath in 20s. Exhale in 30s.
Third time: Hold breath in 25s. Exhale in 35s.

Do it many times. When you are gradually accustomed to it, try to increase both of the time hold and exhale breath.

Finally, speak “A… A… A… A…” while forcing your belly to rise and fall repeatly and keep your shoulder still.         


Try to practise until you can hear the bass tone in your voice.

Practise to yawn naturally

Yawning is the thing that actor has to practise to do it naturally. It sounds a little bit funny, isn’t it. But actor learns to cry naturally, learns to laugh naturally. So, it’s the same to practise to yawn. In fact, yawning naturally is even more difficult than cry and laugh naturally. If you guys don’t believe me, try to yawn and ask the audience whether it looks real when you yawned or not.

The students tried to yawn and in fact, most of them looked unnaturally while yawning.

Yawning is difficult to do but when you can do it, it means that you can control your breath well. It’s also the practice for controlling breath. When you yawn well, the ones who see you yawning can yawn with you unconsciously, they even can feel sleepy.

So, remember to practise to yawn naturally.

Like a tree in the wind

Most of you tend to take breath from your larynx no matter how much you want to take breath from belly. So, there is one way to make you take breath from belly easier.

When you do this position, just release yourself and relax, don’t be stress and think too much. You are now just like a tree in the wind. You have nowhere to lean on except for your feet. Your arms, your hands, your neck, your legs, your whole body are relaxing. When I touch your arms, push them, they will move, not stand still. If they stand still, it means that you still hold your strength too much. When you totally relax, you speak: “A… A… A…” You will find that now you can take breath from your belly easier. If you still find it hard to speak with breath from belly, then you can put your hands on the floor, make a position just like a dog and speak: “A… A… A…” In that position, it’s even much easier for you to take breath from belly. You can soon have a deep voice. The scientists obeserver nature and point out that the animal moving with four legs such as: lion, dog… usually have deep voice than the other animal. It’s because their usual position makes them take breath from their belly easily. Their voice help them a lot in their living.

To have a deep voice, beautiful voice, you have to train yourself everyday. Not too much. It’s just ten minutes each day. If you can give yourself more time to practice, it’s good. If not, just ten minutes is okay too. After two or three months, you will see that your voice gradually change. Just spend ten minutes each day and your whole life change. I was not born with the voice that you are listening now. I had normal voice too. Then I practise everyday and my voice change little by little as times goes by.

Three imaginary dimensions

Now try thinking this place is not public anymore. Imagine your private space, the secret place that just only you know. Try to imagine it in three areas: small, middle, big. When I say “small”, you speak in the small area. When I say “middle”, you speak in the middle area. When I say “big”, you speak in the big area. This practice make you aware of space and adjust your voice to the space you are in, the person you talk to.

Listen to your feeling

We talked much about training voice. Acting by voice is so important. But above all, your feeling is the most important thing. When you are in the scene, try to act by following character feeling, your feeling not by your logic. Try to remember or imagine the story before and after the scene you are acting. Look at the picture below.

Then if you have to act this scene, try to answer these questions:

What is the circumstance?
What happened (the story) before this situation for both of them?
What will happen (the story) after this thing for both of them?

Try to imagine it, build the story for yourself. It’s the preparation step that you need to have before going to the scene.

You can also get in character’s feeling by listening to the music that you think/know (if it is written on the script) your character like it or have the same feeling with it too. Listen to the music and imagine character’s story, feeling. 

Now, today’s lesson ends here. Remember, after all, your feeling is the most important thing. After today, you will have been through so many thing, many lessons, many accidents to get experience, to come closer or further to your dream, to be successful or not, to keep continuing or giving up. However, no matter what will happen, eventhough we may not meet each other again, please remember that today, our life were crossed over each other for two days, you were taught by Lydia Park for short time, very short time. Thank you.

2:19 pm
April 16th , 2017


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