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working on your female voice

The other day someone asked me how to improve their voice. Well here is the simple technique I used:

1) Record yourself on a cell phone for about 5 minutes per day and listen back

2) work on inflection, pitch and rhythm as females speak differently than males

3) Make sure the voice does not come from the chest cavity. It is about pinching midway through your vocal chords and not using falsetto. This requires you train them.

After a while it becomes intuitive and foolproof. I am never misgendered on the phone and am always addressed as Miss or Madame 100% of the time. I also don't need to force to have the voice remain at this range. I can speak this way for hours.

I recorded a short sample here and please forgive the fact that I was a bit out of breath when I did so :)






Comments

  1. Your post here is very timely for me. I have worked with a highly respected voice coach who taught me a lot. Friends comment on my nice voice. I am however, often misgendered on the phone and in person. i try to brush it off in a friendly way but it hurts nonetheless.

    I like your idea of recording oneself and using that to help provide feedback. I remember your talking about this before but at the time I wasn't ready for it. Maybe I am now. I'd like to know more about your routine. For example:

    * Do you read to yourself, such as out of a magazine or book, while recording? Or do you try to just speak whatever comes to mind? Or maybe you rehearse phrases or examples you're wishing to focus on? I am not confident I'd have enough to talk about!

    * I assume you then listen critically just after the recording, and maybe think about that for the day. But maybe you listen before the following day's recording to identify what you'd like to focus on?

    * I can see myself getting kind of tired listening the my five minute recording. Perhaps it would be better for me to record for about a minute, listen to it to identify problem areas, and repeat several times?

    * Did/do you have a way of tracking your progress over weeks and months?

    * And last (for now!) how long did you have to work on it this way to achieve your satisfaction and proficiency?

    I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts and comments!

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    Replies
    1. Emma it's really when you start hearing a woman back. I would test it with calls to stores to ask for closing or opening times and would be addressed as a woman. The technique is hard to describe but it is akin to making sure the voice comes from the back of your neck right about where the chin is. If you go any lower you are doing it wrong. It's really very much about trial and error and yes start with one minute that's fine...be patient as it takes practice but when it clicks it becomes like a reflex...

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    2. I would say about a month of doing it every day

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  2. Well, that was very nice, Joanna. I wish I could get my voice that high! I guess I have a more sultry kind of voice, but many women do. I suppose that Lauren Bacall was mis-gendered a few times over the phone, as well, and I don't let it bother me. A simple correction is all that's necessary.

    I still use an old digital answering machine to practice, or just to warm up, my voice. I have it set up by a mirror, as I think it is important to see my non-verbal communication ques along with the verbal. I have also video recorded myself.

    I used to practice with another trans woman, either in private or out. The signal we would use for each other, when the other's voice was falling back into the male range, was: "Have you seen (male name) lately?" We used this for anything the other was doing that was less-than-feminine. It worked quite well, for a time, but I ended up losing her as a friend because she couldn't handle being reminded by me that she couldn't maintain her femininity for more than an hour at a time. Oh well, I guess there's no way to practice one's feelings. We need to develop a thick skin over our soft interiors sometimes.

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    Replies
    1. You are right Connie. I think the idea is to improve not make perfect. If you can make your social interaction with others less jarring it goes a long way. Once my voice clicked into place my confidence and demeanor improved immeasurably. If you can't raise the pitch work on inflection 😉

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