In light of my previous posts ‘How to play‘ and ‘5 Hints for Telling a Good Story‘ I thought I might go through some of my favourite character voices for you to try out at home. I know I said in ‘How to play’ that you shouldn’t choose a character that your child knows well but there’s nothing wrong with experimenting a bit. Just remember not to use it too often, especially if you get really good at it, because you could end up spending the foreseeable future as Winnie the Pooh .
OK lets get started, first of all try the giggle; Pooh’s giggle is very distinctive and it’s a signature sound that instantly helps you to sound more like him. Even if you speak in a vaguely transatlantic accent (a kind of Americanised English or Anglicised American accent) and do this giggle it’ll help you sound like him. It takes the form of a kind of breathy ‘hoe hoo’ with your tongue slightly raised at the back of your throat and a tightening of the muscles at the back.
The same ‘hoe’ sound can be used before ‘bother’ but this time you deepen the tone at the ‘o’ and then make a kind of grumbling sound as you say ‘bother’. In fact if you use the same breathy element to the first word of anything you say it should get you well on your way to sounding like Pooh.
The next thing to remember is that Pooh doesn’t rush his speech, he takes lots of breaks as he goes through a sentence. Some of these breaks are simply a holding-on to the sound of a word but sometimes there’s a genuine pause in which you’ll occasionally hear a sort of lip-smacking sound. An easy way to work this one into speech is to just imagine that you’re eating something sticky, perhaps sucking on a couple of toffees.
Lastly don’t forget to vary your pitch, Pooh seems to vary his unpredictably so I wouldn’t worry too much about anything specific, just keep it fairly low and jump it up and down every now and then to keep it interesting.
That’s about it, if it helps let me know. I’m also open to requests. If it’s a voice I can do I’ll put together a wee guide like this one. As always thanks for reading, and feel free to add any comments in the box below. Cheers, John
UPDATE 13.02.14 : My ‘How to sound like’ posts are getting a lot of interest and it occurred to me that people might like a message recorded by Pooh, Tigger or Eeyore (can do Rabbit and Owl too if asked). If you’d like this message me on twitter and I’ll see what I can do 🙂
ONE LAST THING: I’m also a children’s author. The Jack Reusen series is about a boy who accidentally tears holes between his world and a magical one called ‘Fey’. A host of weird creatures make their way into Jack’s world, along with them comes a girl who can turn into a polar bear. Despite her fearsome power she’s lost, scared and alone and seeks Jack out to help her find her way home. In the process of trying to undo the damage he has done Jack discovers that more sinister forces are interested in Jack’s world too, will Jack be able to close up the breaches between worlds in time? Please, please take a look at the official site if you have the time (I’d really appreciate it).