Just Before Show Time
Stretch Your Face
I’ve done some research on how
many facial muscles one uses when speaking. I have yet
to really find an answer that can substantiated with
facts. According to Wikipedia, there are nineteen facial
muscles. How many of them do we use when we speak? Who
knows? But I do know we definitely use a few.
To help you articulate your words
more comfortably and more smoothly, it helps to stretch
your face muscles.
First, find a location where no
one can see you, because if people see you doing this,
they may have you taken away in a little white jacket,
with a drool cup hanging around your neck! Now, open
your mouth as wide as you can until it hurts a little
all around your mouth. Stretch it for about five
seconds, to loosen up the skin and muscles surrounding
After those few seconds,
repeatedly say, “Why,” with a huge exaggeration of the
mouth. Begin with your lips tightly pursed, and open as
wide as you can while saying, “Why.” Do these stretches
seven to ten times, and open your mouth as wide as you
can on each occasion.
Once done, it’s time to reverse
the motion. Begin as wide as you can, and say, “Yow,”
closing your lips in a tight purse. Repeat this step
seven to ten times as well.
Then, over-pronounce each vowel
three or four times, stretching your face and tongue on
each vowel. This will stretch all of the muscles you use
to speak, and loosen the skin around your mouth so the
words flow easier as you deliver your speech.
I have to give you a few words of
caution about this process. Perform this stretching
about fifteen minutes before you speak, and any red
marks caused by the stretching have time to disappear
before you take the stage.
So, what’s the lesson? Stretch
your face for more fluid pronunciation.