Beaupré is a voice and performance consultant for radio
and television performers. Under the name Broadcast Voice, he
provides private training and workshops for reporters, anchors,
sports and weather casters, and others working in electronic
and broadcast media. He teaches in the Broadcast Communications
program at California State University at Los Angeles, and conducts
workshops and seminars with the Associated Press Radio and Television
Association. He has been a fixture on the convention circuit,
teaching workshops at a wide range of specialty journalism and
broadcast conventions and stations on both coasts of the U.S.
Breathing, breathing and more breathing
October 22nd, 2001
In this installment, we will look a bit closer at how we “spend”
To this point, we have worked hard at increasing our overall
capacity, taking in more air per breath. If you think of those
full lungs of air as a kind of ‘bank account’, there are two
ways we can spend down our ‘balance.’
Let’s take a side trip here for yet another metaphor: we often
use the metaphor of how cars operate to explain how we use
When it comes to your car, you can drive it fast or you can
drive it for a long time, but you can’t drive it fast for
a long time. The same is true when we use our voice.
If we think of ‘fast’ as ‘intensity’ (loudness) and we think
of ‘long time’ as duration of time, we come up with a basic
principle: we can’t sustain a loud intense sound for a long
time, and if we need to express a long, complex thought, we
can’t make it really loud. In reality, we shift back and forth
instantaneously between intensity (“loudness”) and duration.
In other words, we spend down that ‘balance’ of air in our
lungs favoring either intensity or duration. So, in order
to build up capacity and control, we need to develop two sets
of exercises: one that emphasizes duration over a long time,
and the other that emphasizes strenth of attack.
In future installments, we’ll talk about those two broad categories
of breathing exercises. In the meantime, keep breathing!