Archive for finding my feminine voice

Step 11 November Fluency

 Fluency – Marvelously Mellifluous You!

When you speak, whose voice do you hear? Whose voice do others hear?

Our voices are so closely tied to the essence of who we truly are. Heart and soul and voice are one! In fact, here’s a curious little phonation fact; The left vocal cord nerve dips down into the chest, loops around the aorta, then courses back upward into the larynx. So, literally, our voices are connected to our hearts!

Fluency is the last of the “Nine Elements of an Exceptional Feminine Voice.” Let’s take a few moments and recap just what these are. You know more than anyone how difficult it is to change your voice; that’s why having a tried-and-true system makes all the difference.

 

The Nine Elements of an Exceptional Feminine Voice

  1. Pitch: The speaking pitch of the average adult male is 100-150 Hz; the speaking pitch of the average adult female is 200-250 Hz. I’ve provided many tips and strategies in other posts and YouTube tutorials to help you with this element.
  2. Voice Quality: The quality of the voice–whether it’s raspy, breathy, strained or weak–can provide insights to our physical health, moods and mental focus. Many transgender women produce a very feminine voice in order to sound feminine, but that’s not really an effective strategies.
  3. Loudness: The loudness of a voice isn’t inherently feminine or masculine. But there does seem to a shift toward a more feminine sound when the power is turned down a few notches.
  4. Resonance: The reverberation of sound in a medium, i.e., the throat, mouth or nose, shapes the tone into your own unique voice. Transitioning your voice requires significant re-programming of the small muscles of the throat and mouth to bring your vocal tone into a clear feminine ring.
  5. Articulation: There are some subtle, but important differences in the way men and women speak. Clear, crisp consonants add femininity to your expression.
  6. Phrasing: Studies suggest that women tend to speak in longer phrases than men. Try adding more descriptive adjectives to your expression.
  7. Pacing (tempo): While women tend to speak more quickly than men, it isn’t necessary to speed up your pace to sound more feminine.
  8. Melodic Intonation: The pitch variability of gliding up and down is a much greater range in women. Place more emphasis on certain syllables in a phrase.
  9. Fluency: “Smoothly flowing like golden honey” is the way I think of how a very feminine woman might speak. Speak mellifluously! Dance with your words!Fluency refers to the smooth vs choppy way you might speak. In musical terms, fluency is similar to rhythm. Rhythms may consist of a sense of easy flow (legato), which mean that notes are blended or connected. Staccato rhythms are halting or sharp.Listen to this short Bela Bartok piano piece. Pay close attention to the fluency, or connection of notes. Notice the abruptness of some of the notes compared to the flow of others.

Fluency refers to the smooth vs choppy way you might speak. In musical terms, fluency is similar to rhythm. Rhythms may consist of a sense of easy flow (legato), which mean that notes are blended or connected. Staccato rhythms are halting or sharp.

Step 11 Mellifluous

 

Listen to this short Bela Bartok piano piece. Pay close attention to the fluency, or connection of notes. Notice the abruptness of some of the notes compared to the flow of others.

Staccato = abrupt

Legato = smoothly flowing

 

Can you discern the legato vs staccato rhythm? In my (and others) observations of speakers, I hear men speak in a choppy, halting manner, whereas women speak in a smooth, flowing manner. Although women often speak quite rapidly, we do speak fluently.

ANGELINA JOLIE – *ELLEN -TAKING LIVES*PART 1 by screamingangie

Angelina Jolie is one of the most elegant and feminine women in the world (in my opinion). I love her voice and the smoothly flowing way her movements match the fluency of her voice. Notice the contrast to Ellen Degeneres, who has a more staccato style of speaking.

So, what is fluency exactly and why is it important for you as a transgender woman? It’s one of the elements that will complete you.

 

Three Tips to Feminine Fluency

Dance with Words

I was working on fluency with a client the other day, and out of the blue she said, “It sounds like we’re dancing with words.”

Dance with these words. Find the flow. Experience the melody. Absorb their essence.

  • The rushing stream washed the soil along with it.
  • The sun sank slowly and was followed by darkness and a foggy chill.
  • There is another alphabet, whispering from every leaf, singing from every river, shimmering from every sky.

Connecting Consonants

Those of you reading this, who know my method well, understand that one of the major practice strategies I employ is proprioception–being aware of the physical sensation/feelings of your speech and voice when you speak. Speech sounds can be categorized in several ways. For this exercise, let’s look at those consonants that we might call “stretched” consonants. Their properties allow them to stretch as you produce them, they include–s, z, sh, h, l, m, n, ng, etc. Conversely, can you think which consonants might be classified as “quick”?

Here’s a practice exercise: Cue yourself to notice the stretched consonants in these words. Then try using each word in a sentence and notice proprioceptively (the sensation of the sounds) the feeling of the stretched consonants.

  • Susurration
  • Feather
  • Eschew
  • Soliloquy
  • Syrup
  • Exquisite
  • Halcyon
  • Euphoria
  • Serendipity
  • Sonoluminescence

Elegant Elongations

Just as there are quick and streteched consonants, there are “short” and “long” vowels. Think back to your primary education; can you come up with three “short” vowels? How about three “long” vowels?  In nearly all of the training routines that I provide in my voice training programs, we vocalize using these three syllables, “hee,” “haa,” and “hoo.” Each of these is a “long” vowel, which by definition, means the vowel duration and voice onset time are longer (in time) than “short” vowels, like the /I/ in the word “hit.”

Now, as an exercise: Cue yourself to stretch the “long” vowels in these words more than you normally would the consonants in these words. Then try using each word in a sentence and notice proprioceptively how the vowels feel in your mouth.

  • Steep
  • Steel
  • Squeeze
  • Speech
  • Seen
  • Fleet
  • Seem
  • Sweet
  • Teem
  • Tree
  • Weed
  • Wheel
  • Wheeze
  • Freeze
  • Seethe

 

Step 10: Fluency

Bring your feminine voice into her glory. Dance with your words! Taste the sounds! Stay in touch.  I’d LOVE to know how you’re doing with Step 11.

 

Keeping you and your voice close to my heart,

Blue HeartKathe

Denver, Colorado

 

EVI-NEW-logo-very-smail

Melodic Intonation – contrastive stress

“Speak with enthusiasm,” was the common feedback to speakers of my local ToastMasters Club.  I was a member for some time ,and I not only gained additional knowledge and experience as a public speaker, but it was very reinforcing to learn more about how important our voices are in communicating our message at a public level.  You might be interested in learning more about what ToastMasters says about our speaking voices.

Melodic intonation, or vocal inflection, is the pitch variability we use to communicate the meaning of what we say.  Professor Albert Mehrabian (psychology, UCLA) has been a pioneer in the field of human communications and has provided a wealth of empirical data about how we relate to each other via verbal and non-verbal language.  In 1967, Mehrabian and Wiener examined the effects of vocal tone on the meaning of three single words spoken with three different emotions. They found that tone carried more meaning than the individual words themselves.

This makes intuitive sense, of course, yet these frequently sited studies have often over-generalized the findings to conclude that vocal tone added more than the actual words we speak to convey meaning.  Regardless of how the data may be interpreted, we can be confident that melodic intonation does convey important meaning about what we’re saying.  It is with our use of vocal inflection that others gain insight into how we’re feeling or what importance specific  words lend to what we’re saying.

Let’s consider the problem: flat, lifeless, boring expression.  Check out the video below. Do you want to listen to this guy for more than 20 seconds?  I watched for about a minute and realized this was the perfect video to show an example of a flat, lifeless, boring voice (and what he’s talking about isn’t at all riveting either).

Flat, Lifeless, Boring

Here is a great example of a professional speech coach who speaks very well (and has great tips).  Do you like her style?  Would she be a speaking role model?

Professional Speech Coach

Exercise:

One way to speak with enthusiasm is to emphasize or stress certain key words.  Let’s consider this neutral phrase:

The cake is great and the rainbow is beautiful.

Its meaning invariable comes alive depending upon which word is emphasized. Record yourself saying this phrase (be sure to first tune your pitch & resonators) in three different ways.  For example, emphasize the word cake.  What message do you think the phrase now conveys–maybe that the cake (not some other thing, like possibly the cookie) is great. We use this type of constrastive stress frequently in our day-to-day conversations to communicate (or constrast) differences in how we feel toward one thing compared to another.

Now, try emphasizing the word rainbow. Your vocal tone should convey a contrast—that you mean to communicate that the rainbow, not say, the clouds, are beautiful.  Can you hear the contrast?  Can you feel the difference (think proprioception)?

If you were ordering a cup of coffee at a coffee shop and wanted decaf, you might emphasize the word decaf or the flavor or roast of the coffee you want, to be sure they get your order right. Personally, I love cream, not milk, in my morning coffee. 

Step 10:  Melodic intonation

Your goal is to focus on word and syllable stress (or emphasis) to speak with enthusiasm.

Stay in touch. I’d LOVE to know how you’re doing with Step 10.

Keeping you and your voice close to my heart,

Kathe

Denver, Colorado

For my entire career, I’ve heard comments like, “I really hate my voice. Can I do something about it?” Or “When I speak, it just doesn’t sound like me,” or “I really can’t stand the way I sound when I hear a recording of my voice.”

A voice disorder can do that—cause you to loathe the way you sound.  And if you’re transgendered, the cacophony of self-criticism can be deafening.

I was reading recently from the “Artist’s Way” (Julia Cameron, 1992). I dabble in a little creative writing on the side and was struck by the profundity of this statement: “The snowflake pattern of your soul is emerging,” (page 85).

Think about that.  We are each our own perfect snowflake—your heart, your soul, your voice is uniquely your own.

I’ve noticed that some of you have the ability to gather all your inner strength and wisdom and find some measure of peace along your journey of discovering, developing and mastering your feminine voice.

But for those of you limited in your ability to corral this fortitude, for those of you constantly berating yourself and your ability to achieve the voice you want, I say STOP!

If I were your medical doctor, and you were making yourself sick from, let’s say, smoking, I’d firmly state, “YOU’VE GOT TO QUIT. You’re going to kill yourself.

Consider that maybe all the self-loathing is just as deadly.  Maybe what stands in the way of your progress is your own opinion of yourself!

I’m not saying you shouldn’t practice or continue with the daily exercises you’re doing; I’m saying be aware of your self-talk.

For just one week, one teeny week, seven days, one-hundred sixty-eight hours, JUST QUIT hating on yourself.  When the thought springs into your mind, when the voice of your harsh critic puts in an appearance, JUST QUIT; tell it to go away.  And then laugh.  Laugh like a fool, like a mad-woman and know that with each chuckle, giggle or guffaw you are one step closer to the voice you’ve always dreamed of having.

Because that inner critic who has traveled so far and so long with you, needs to know that she is no longer welcome, that she no longer has a place in your mind.  She is not helpful.  She will tell you things that are not entirely true.

For just one week, QUIT the string of rants about who you are, about how you look and how you sound.  Just QUIT. You’re making yourself sick.

________________________________________

YOU ARE UNIQUE

Think what a remarkable, unduplicatable, and miraculous thing it is to be you! Of all the people who have come and gone on the earth, since the beginning of time, not ONE of them was or is like YOU!

No one has exactly your eyes.  No one has exactly your face. No one’s finger prints are like yours. No one’s voice is like yours.  Like a snowflake pattern, you are uniquely you.

No one can reach out to others in the same way that you can. No one can speak your words. No one can convey your meanings. No one can comfort with your kind of comfort. No one can bring your kind of understanding to another person.

No one before, no one to come… is exactly like you.

YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE!

Revel in your uniqueness. You do not have to pretend in order to seem more like someone else. You weren’t meant to be like someone else. You do not have to lie to conceal the parts of you that are not like what you see in anyone else.

You were meant to be YOU.

Nowhere, ever,  will the things that fill your mind, soul and spirit right now, happen to anyone else.  If you did not exist, there would be a hole in creation, a gap in history, something missing from the plan for humankind.

Treasure your uniqueness. It is a gift given only to you. Enjoy it and share it!

Receive it! Let it tickle you! Let it inform you and nudge you and inspire you!

YOU ARE UNIQUE!

You are your own perfect snowflake.

30-Day Crash Course

Fundamentals of Your Feminine Voice

Beyond the Fundamentals 1: the next dimension

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