Vocal warm-up #1 - Breathing

Film maker: Mike Marriage

Breathing exercises are an essential start to any vocal warm-up; they organise the breathing muscles, extend the capacity of the voice and give a sense of the breath very deep inside the body. Work through a series of breathing exercises with Jeannette Nelson and begin warming up your voice.

People featured in this video: Jeannette Nelson (Head of Voice), Sioned Jones (Actor), Chris Saul (Actor)


Vocal exercises are part of an actor’s working life. In ancient Greek times, it was the greatest orators, those with the physical gift of a beautiful voice and a strong diaphragm, that were the actors and public speakers. There are references in some Shakespeare's plays to the vocal exercising of an actor before performance and the importance of enunciation and volume. There are many types of vocal exercises, and each addresses a different part of the vocal mechanism. You can look at each component as a cog in a machine that, when put together, will aid understandable and natural sounding speech that can easily be heard at the back of an auditorium. In this collection Jeannette Nelson, Head of Voice, takes actors through a warm up and a series of exercises typical for actors in rehearsal at the National Theatre.