When you listen to the greats, like James Earl Jones, Julia Ormond, George Clooney and Diane Sawyer, one characteristic which they all share is that their voice vibrates in their chest when they speak. While everyone vibrates in the area directly below the vocal folds, as well in the throat, mouth, and nasal cavities, those who power their voice by means of their chest cavity actually feel vibrations in their mid-torso region.
Does it matter whether you vibrate in your chest or not? Only if you want a warm, rich, resonant sound. And the only way that can happen is by ‘allowing your chest to do your talking.’ The beauty of good voice placement is that it not only results in a more mature sound but you can also increase your volume without shouting. The latter is known as projection and is only possible if you are powering and amplifying your voice from your chest.
Liken your chest cavity to a sounding board. Because of its immense size in comparison to your other 4 resonators – throat, voice box, mouth and nasal cavities – you might be able to appreciate what will happen to your voice when your chest is added to the picture.
Not all actors are using their chest cavity to power their sound however. Fran Drescher and Don Johnson are vibrating by means of their nose. Neither is a great voice; and, over time, those who must listen to that sound may find that nasal quality annoying.
In the English language, we all vibrate in our nasal passages when we say words that have an n, m, or ng sound. These are known as our nasals. In the case of Drescher and Johnson, however, much more than their nasals are vibrating in their nose. Essentially all of their sound is traveling through those passages. They are maneuvering their soft palate forward which allows for most of their sound to be emitted upwards. A great voice, on the other hand, glides along the floor of the mouth with its power stemming from the chest cavity, not the nasal passages.
What is fascinating about using your chest cavity to power your sound is that you will find a truly dynamic voice that you did not know was in there. All it takes is to allow your chest to do your talking.
If you would like to hear some wonderful ‘before & after’ video clips, go to the Before & After page on my website. And yes, they are all vibrating in their chest when they speak.