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Aspects of Voice Training to Develop a Great Speaking Voice
by Sandra Zimmer
You can have a great speaking voice that compels people to pay attention to you. You can also develop your voice as an instrument for opening to greater aliveness.
It has been said that if you change your voice, you will change your life. You change not only how people perceive and respond to you. But, you also change your level of openness and aliveness. Your voice is an energy generating instrument. It creates vibration which is life-force energy. The more you develop your voice, the more you access the power that is within all of us. Changing your voice can literally open you to greater flow of life-force energy that makes you feel alive and powerful. This is why every meditation system uses some form of intoning, chanting or singing. It opens you up.
The sound of your speaking voice can repel or draw people to you. It can make people want to listen or tune you out. It can excite, energize and inspire or it can dull people’s senses. Your voice is connected to your psyche. Your voice is a physical instrument that reflects your psycho-physical state. It’s a reflection of your current emotional state and your overall openness to life.
I teach the Lessac Voice System. Lessac Voice is a method created by Arthur Lessac to teach people how to have great voices. Arthur’s method is taught in theatre schools all across America. I was trained and certified personally by Arthur Lessac in 1975 and have been teaching this wonderful vocal method since then.
There are 3 technical aspects of a great voice – Diction, Vocal Tone and Proper Pronunciation of vowels. In addition, to vocal technique, emotional color can help make your voice compelling.
Diction is articulation of consonant sounds. Consonants are the non-vowel sounds. Saying pro-ba-bly instead of pro-bly is an example of good diction. Diction makes speech clear, crisp and intelligible to others. By taking care to articulate consonants, you make yourself sound more intelligent and easy to understand.
Vocal Tone is the resonance, pitch and beauty of the voice. Anyone can have a beautiful sounding voice. The secret is to resonate your vocal sound waves so they bounce off the bones in your head. With practice you can learn to place vocal vibrations onto the hard palate, the boney roof of your mouth. When your sound waves hit the roof of your mouth, they resonate in such a way that your voice sounds strong and projects to others. The sound waves then can be expanded into the bones of the sinus, nose and forehead so the whole front of your face is filled with vocal vibrations. Such “mask” resonance produces beautiful tone quality. Vocal tone that is resonated properly has a positive impact on other people. Others perceive you as direct and powerful. A further emotional impact on others occurs when you vibrate sound into your chest bones. By learning to bounce your vocal sound waves off of the bones in the chest, you are able to express the quality of speaking from your heart. Your voice reflects the quality of love and compassion.
Proper pronunciation of vowel sounds is needed to have standard American pronunciation, such as broadcasters and actors use. Mispronunciation of vowels creates regional dialects and foreign accents. Because there are so many variations of vowel sounds in American English, it is a fairly long process to get rid of dialects and accents. To do so, you need to be prepared to spend some time changing how you speak your vowels. For some people, it is worth the time and effort to learn to speak with standard American pronunciation.
In addition to the Lessac System, I integrate awareness of emotional color into my voice training. Color and sound are both vibrational frequencies that are harmonics of each other. You can learn to produce sound qualities that carry emotional qualities. Red sound is strong, powerful and direct. Blue sound is kind, compassionate and nurturing. Yellow sound is joyful, enthusiastic and exciting. By changing the color of your voice, you can affect different feelings in yourself and different responses in others.
Many people do not seem to know that they can transform the sound of their voices. The same technology that is available to actors, is available to you. You can change any or all of these aspects to your voice to develop the vocal quality that supports your success in life.
Sandra Zimmer is the President and Founder of the Self-Expression Center in Houston, Texas. She works with professionals who are struggling with communication, who are gripped with fear about speaking to groups or who don't like the sound of their voice. She guides people through experiential learning programs that connect them with their natural abilities to express, communicate and present so they feel confident to share their ideas, insights and expertise with the world. Sandra can be reached at 281-293-7070 or at Sandra@self-expression.com. Her websites are www.self-expressioin.com and transformstagefright.com.
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