Vocal exercises are an important part of vocal cord maintenance. This starts with a good warm-up routine that includes breathing exercises and vocal warm-ups. You can then progress to exercises that strengthen diction, articulation, enunciation, projection, and vocal range. \n\nIf you aspire to provide the voiceover for an audiobook, animated cartoon, or documentary, you can distinguish yourself from the competition by taking the time to build up your vocal muscles. Vocal exercises can also help you craft unique voice sounds so that you can stand out when booking voiceover work.\nTry these exercises in this order to improve your voice acting capabilities.\n\n1. __Full-body stretching__: Your voice is not merely a product of your mouth and larynx; you need to have a strong torso and diaphragm to push air through your voice box. Start your vocal warm-ups with a full-body stretch. Try side stretches where you plant your feet shoulder-width apart and lean over to each side, using your opposite arm to pull you further in each direction. Move slowly and fluidly and take deep breaths to expand your rib cage as you stretch.\n2. __Facial stretches__: Voice actors make dynamic facial expressions when they perform, so stretch your facial muscles along with the rest of your body. Scrunch up your mouth, blink hard, and take some big yawns to open up the roof of your mouth. Strong facial muscles can aid you in building characters.\n3. __Airflow exercises__: After you stretch your body and face, focus on moving air through your upper body. Inhale deeply through your nose and count from one to eight as you do so. Once you get to eight, hold your breath for another eight counts. Exhale through your mouth for another eight, doing so very slowly by parting your lips slightly. Let the air push out steadily but slowly for a full eight seconds or longer. The air should make a hissing sound as you push it through your lips.\n4. __Humming__: Start by humming at a frequency that feels natural to your voice. Then gradually branch out to higher and lower frequencies. This will wake up your vocal cords so you can move on to more intensive warm-up exercises.\n5. __Lip trills__: Gently push air through your lips and let them flutter. The more relaxed your facial muscles are, the easier this will be.\n6. __Vocal rises and vocal falls__: You're now ready to work in some pitches. Rather than go up and down a standard musical scale, speak or sing a word repeatedly, letting your voice gradually rise from a very low pitch to a very high pitch. Then, let your high-pitched voice fall all the way back down to a low pitch. Cycle back through your whole vocal range.\n7. __Singing various pitches__: If you have access to a piano or a guitar, play some major scales to lead you up and down your vocal range. Keep modulating up in half-steps until you can't sing any higher. Then start modulating downward in half-steps. If you don't play an instrument (or don't have one handy), you can sing *a capella*.\n8. __Tongue twisters__: Voiceover and dubbing work requires precise articulation, so you'll want to work through some tongue twisters to sharpen your consonant pronunciation. There's the old standby "she sells seashells by the seashore," but you can write your own tongue twisters by combining alliteration and words with multiple syllables.\n\nIf you find your voice faltering in any of these exercises, you can always back up and repeat the step that came before it. Resting your voice can be just as important as exercising it, so approach each exercise thoughtfully and take a day off if your voice feels strained. \n\nAll you need is a [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com) and our exclusive video lessons from Nancy Cartwright, the Emmy-winning voice actor responsible for bringing beloved animated characters—like Bart Simpson and Chuckie Finster—to life. With Nancy’s help, you’ll be ready to use your voice as an instrument in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways. \nGreat voice acting starts with vocal exercises designed to improve performance.