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The Basics of Voice Production Part 6: Articulatory Exercises

(Video Transcript)


This video is part 6 of the Basics of Voice Production series. Make sure to watch the earlier videos that discuss how the voice is made, vocal warm-ups, and exercises to improve your breath support, the resonatory system, and the phonatory system.


Now let’s talk about specific exercises you can do to improve the next vocal subsystem: the articulatory system. 


The Articulatory System

The articulatory system uses the lips, tongue, jaw, teeth, and other muscles to shape the voice into speech. When I say, AHHHH, my mouth is open, and the airflow travels out of my mouth unobstructed. But when I use my articulatory system to shape the AHHH into the T sound, TTTT, now the airflow has been stopped and shaped into a consonant. TTTT.


Before you begin these exercises, give yourself a quick facial massage to loosen up the muscles of the face and jaw. Focus on the jaw, the base of the tongue, the lips and cheeks.  Do a few tongue circles inside your mouth, like you’re cleaning out your teeth. 


The Articulatory Exercises: Tongue Twisters

Now we’ll work out the main articulators using tongue twisters. Go slowly at first - accurate pronunciation is more important than speed. Try to memorize the phrases so you don’t have to read them. And as you get better at pronouncing the sounds clearly, you can speed yourself up.


Tongue Twisters: Lips

We’ll start with the lips. Say the following tongue twisters:

  • Buh-buh-puh-buh-muh-muh, buh-buh-puh-buh-muh-muh (3x in a row)
  • Bubble, babble, pebble (3x in a row)
  • A big black bug bit a big black bear, and the big black bear bled blood. (1x only)
  • This black bug bled blue-black blood, while the other black bug bled blue. (1x only)


Tongue Twisters: Front of Tongue and Teeth

Now for the front of the tongue and teeth. Say the following tongue twisters:

  • Tuh-tuh-duh-duh-nuh-nuh-luh-luh, tuh-tuh-duh-duh-nuh-nuh-luh-luh (3x in a row)
  • Five fifths (3x in a row) 
  • Vicious villain (3x in a row) 
  • Sister Susie went to sea, to see the sea, you see. The sea she saw was a saucy sea, a sort of saucy sea saw she. (1x only)

And now, for a really hard one:

  • Should saucy sharks seek shelter soon? (1x only)


And take your time with this one:

  • She sits and shines shoes, and where she sits, she shines, and where she shines, she sits.  (1x only)


Tongue Twisters: Back of Tongue

Now for the back of the tongue:

  • Kiss her quick! Kiss her quicker! Kiss her the quickest! (3x in a row)
  • Green glass globes glow greenly (3x in a row)
  • Keenly cleaning copper kettles.  (3x in a row)
  • Going ga-ga at the go-go (3x in a row)


Tongue Twisters: Nasals

And now for the nasals:

  • Any noise annoys an oyster, but a noisy noise annoys an oyster most. (1x only)
  • You know New York, you need New York, you know you need unique New York. (1x only)

Tongue Twisters: L and R

And for Ls and Rs:

  • Round the rugged rocks the ragged rascals ran. (3x in a row)
  • Rory’s lawn rake rarely rakes really right. (3x in a row)
  • The little lambs, licking lollipops, went leaping and laughing into the lava (1x only)


Tongue Twisters: Every Articulator

Now here are two more tongue twisters that use all of the articulators:


  • The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue, the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips. (1x only)
  • A box of biscuits, a box of mixed biscuits, and a biscuit mixer (1x only)

Thanks so much for watching! And I'd love to hear from you - contact me to learn how we can work together to perfect your American English pronunciation!


Julie Cunningham | San Diego Voice and Accent Julie Cunningham | San Diego Voice and Accent Julie Cunningham | San Diego Voice and Accent

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