This is a voice book

This is a Voice, the new book from Dr Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher, published by the Wellcome Collection

This is a Voice

This is a Voice

99 exercises to train, project and harness the power of your voice

Our latest book of voice techniques is out. “This is a Voice: 99 exercises to train, project and harness the power of your voice” was commissioned by the Wellcome Collection for their exhibition of the same name.

Cerys Matthews MBE, the prizewinning radio broadcaster and lead singer with Catatonia, has written the Foreword, and the introduction is by Steven Connor, Grace 2 Professor of English at Cambridge University.

What’s in the book?

99 exercises for improving and expanding your voice use in different disciplines. So if you want to sing better (classical or contemporary), speak with more authority, discover how to mimic, start a ventriloquism act or learn how to beatbox, this book is for you. Here is a list of the book’s contents:

Section: How your voice works

The book begins with a chapter on How The Voice Works, including the anatomy and physiology of the human voice from newborn to old age, how we make sound and pitch, respiration, phonation, resonation, the jaw and nasal cavity, gender matters and phonetics.


Finding your body balance

Section: Getting Started:

Speaking and singing warm ups

The most efficient breathing technique

Breathing in rhythm

Making space in your throat

Stretching the back of your tongue

Releasing the root of your tongue I

Releasing the root of your tongue II

Cleaning your teeth

Releasing jaw tension

Working your lip and face muscles with the five wows

Toothbrush talk

Warming up your articulators

Straws and bubbles

Ng glides

Puffy cheeks

Words with consonants

Words with unvoiced consonants

Note patterns

Section: Speaking exercises

Speaking effectively

The passage “Comma Gets A Cure” is included in full as text to experiment on.

Feeling the buzz

Using the buzz in running speech

Finding your personal volume levels

Changing volume and pitch

Finding the right speaking pace

And pause…

Consonant awareness

Toothbrush intelligibility

What’s your pitch pattern?

The rising inflection?

How to sound nasal

Avoiding the nasal sound

Tongue twisters

Section: Ventriloquism and Mimicry


What to do with your mouth

Vowel modification

Replacing “w”

Replacing “y”

Replacing “f” and “v”

Replacing “m”

Replacing “p” and “b”

Making merriment

Butting in


That reminds me of…

The clear-strong archetype

The breathy-light archetype

The edgy-bright archetype

Get that vocal “tune”

The key phrase

Section: Beatboxing

Separating your mouth and nose

Using the air in your mouth

Kick drum


Snare drum

Creating a sequence

Adding gaps

The inwards “K”

Adding air to your kick drum

Kick drum variations

The dry kick

The techno bass or 808 kick

The reverse kick

Snare variations – adding fricatives

Snare variations – the 808 snare

High-hat variations – the open high-hat

High-hat variations – the reverse high-hat

The clave click

The side click

The classic handclap

The crab scratch

The electro scratch

Section: Singing exercises

Opera, oratorio and classical

When you need more air

The “hover breath” and the “smooth onset”

The “diamond of support”

The “SPLAT” in-breath

Sustaining airflow

The “whinge setting”

Low-larynx singing

Finding the “sob setting”

Making clear vowels

Finding the extra “lift”

Vowel tuning to “ee”

Vowel tuning to “ah”

Adding the chiaro to your sound

The messa di voce

Finding your legato line

Rock, pop, soul, jazz and country

The glottal

The breath

The gasp

The creak

The yodel/flip

The upward single-note approach

The downward single-note approach

The pitch-glide note approach

Volume changes

The “strong-clear setting”

The “breathy-light setting”

The “edgy-bright setting”

Adding nasality

Adding whinge

Diphthongs and vowel transitions

Vowel resonance

Finding your dark R

Section: After the exercises

Cool downs and refreshers

Reducing your phonation threshold

Sighing into “creaky voice”

Head, neck and shoulders

Spine, pelvis and sitting bones

Vocal hygiene

Acid reflux

If in doubt

Acknowledgements, further reading, exercise sources, other useful info



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