Voice Feminization : Voice Therapy for Transgender in Transition

Voice Training Techniques Innovate Voice Feminization Therapy!

I have had the opportunity to work with many voice feminization cases. I have found that my 15 years of vocal training innovation and experience for singers has proven to be extremely helpful when working with transgender clients. Many of the techniques I have developed to build the strength and coordination of the voice for singers, has given me the unique ability to apply similar techniques to helping transgender clients. Here are some techniques and ideas I have used to assist transgender clients.

 

AT TVS, we train on with a 3-Part Strategy for Transgender work:

1). Train the physiology of the Female Voice. 

Build new muscle memory, strength and coordination that is configured for feminine speech. We train this by working with specialized onsets and building command and control of glottal compression.

2). Understand and train the acoustics of the feminine voice. 

Work to approximate 170 to 220 Hz or F3 – A3 on the piano.

3). The Prosody of feminine speech.

Practicing the embellishments, inflections and nuances that characterize feminine speech.

 In regards to training the physiology of feminine speech configuration:

1). We phonate in semi-occluded phonations as I would with any singing student in an effort to lift the larynx and get out of a “bottom-up”, throaty phonations. The semi-occluded phonation helps to begin training command and control of vocal fold closure so that transgender clients can work with many different sound colors for their feminine voice, in addition to the critical requirement to learn how to engage vocal fold compression on higher frequencies that tend to sit in the head voice.

2). We have identify the optimal pitch range for a woman to speak in vs a man. I believe we settle on pitches slightly below middle C.  We focus around 180-220Hz or F3 to A3 on the piano.

3). We have developed a set of specialized “onsets” or how to start your phonation/voice that engages the musculature required for training a feminine configuration. These specialized onsets offer the most efficient approach to getting the voice to respond into the feminine voice, in the shortest amount of time. Training the TVS specialized onsets for feminization isolates and focuses on what needs to be built and coordinated and removes the mystery of how to configure the voice physically for feminine speech.

3). I have encourage clients to read different kinds of literature while speaking in their new feminine voice in addition to everyday use in the real world.

4). I have address the prosodic issues of feminine inflections, (speaking rate, inflection, pauses).

Points To Remember:

Physiology

  • Sobbing onsets help, in addition to the specialized “feminine onset” developed at TVS.
  • Working on command and control of compression on the vocal folds using “quack vocal mode” and other vocal mode techniques.

Acoustics

  • Female pitch range: ranging from 170 to 220 Hz (F3 to A3 on Piano) in females.
  • Pitch Feminine voices are higher; this may be the most important concern.

Prosody

  • Women tend to use a wider range of tones when speaking.
  • Speech Rate – Men typically speak at a steady rate, while women tend to speak in shorter bursts followed by pauses.
  • Tag Questions – Example: “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” A man, on the other hand, would be more likely to simply declare, “It is a beautiful day.”
  • Practice reading from different kinds of literature.
  • Practice just regular conversation.
  • Women tend to end many phrases, “tuck & up”… or as a Question?
Robert Lunte

Robert Lunte Filming a Lecture for “The Four Pillars of Singing”.

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