In the last Quickie, you learned a small exercise to improve breath support. Taking support another idea further, now that you have breath enough, FINISH YOUR SENTENCES! You’ve heard speakers who leave off the final ‘d’ on the end of ended, the ‘z’ on the end of crazes. The solution is multi-faceted: 1) Keep the intentional energy of the sentence going, along with 2) the energy of breath that provides the actual physical form and sound of the letters. Like baseball players who run not just to but past first base, keep the energy going to truly complete all the words in the sentence.
Imagine throwing a ball. It needs to get all the way to the catcher, and not slide in the dust, as it were. As an exercise, pick up a book, any book will do. Begin reading out loud. Notice how you end the words—do you really make all the sounds of the letters? It is the letters that give us the meaning*, we don’t hear just a mass of noises!
Now pick up a story to read out loud. Again, notice how you end the words and sentences. Invest energy and breath in the sounds, consonants in particular. The next activity is harder- do this sound-awareness with a story you tell. You’ve already formed a performance pattern with this set of words, so it’s more demanding to listen to your speech habits.
Keep your sound awareness going, both in rehearsal and performance. You will be rewarded with clearer expression of the meaning and content of words, sentences—and story.
*Many voice teachers (including me) are of the idea that consonants carry the meaning or sense of a word, while vowels express the emotional content. You can hum a love song, yet you need consonants to tell your loved one exactly what is admired…for example!