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How to Practice Ventriloquism

You're standing right in front of us, but your voice sounds like it's coming from over there! Color your friends impressed by learning the fine art of ventriloquism.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Make sure you have a quiet, secluded, place to practice with a mirror. While the end result is pretty impressive, you're going to look ridiculous while you're learning.
  • Step 2: Don't move your lips. In normal conversation, you use your mouth, nose, and throat to produce a sound that's present, or "near." To throw your voice, you must learn to keep your tongue behind your teeth and make sound from the back of your throat, which produces the illusion of distance.
  • Step 3: To root sound deeper in your body, practice grunting. Open your mouth slightly, so that the syllable you produce is kind of an "ah." Use the back of your throat – the part that triggers a gag reflex – to make a low, droning sound. Your tongue should be pushed all the way down and back, and your chin may move a little closer to your chest.
  • TIP: Although you can't move your lips, you can keep your mouth open, which may make it easier for you to move your tongue around to produce sounds.
  • Step 4: The letters B, F, M, P, Q, V, and W are impossible to say without moving your lips. Because of this, learn to substitute "D" for "B," a soft "Th" for "F," "Nah" or "M," "T" for "P," "Koo" for "Q," "Th" (like the th in "the") for "V," and "Ooo" for "W."
  • Step 5: While you're practicing grunting and pronouncing words, breathe in deeply. Make sure your stomach puffs out as you inhale, and when you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles so that they pull back in towards your spine. Learn not to rely on your mouth's movements in order to form words.
  • TIP: If you are using a dummy, be sure to give it a voice of its own, which will strengthen the illusion that it – not you – is speaking.
  • Step 6: For a voice that comes from above, pull your jaw down and back, and push the sound towards the top of your head. If you want your voice to seem like it's coming from your puppet, jut your chin out, and block your throat more with your tongue. Angle your head and mouth in its direction.
  • TIP: Turn slightly away from your audience as you throw your voice.
  • Step 7: If you want people to believe, you'll need to ham it up. Pick a spot you want your voice to come from. Act surprised when you hear it. Convince your crowd by quickly shifting back and forth between your normal voice and the "thrown" voice. They'll be mighty impressed!
  • FACT: Did you know? Ventriloquist performers were popular in ancient Greece and Egypt.

You Will Need

  • A quiet room with a mirror
  • Time to practice
  • A little acting skill
  • A dummy

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