Friday, August 5, 2022

Voice Therapy


Photo from Unsplash

As I transitioned I envied the deep sultry feminine tones of movie star Jacqueline Bisset . In my mind she represented the ultimate in a voice someday I may be able to come close to. Naturally I never did but a girl can dream...right? 

As the years rolled by and I felt I needed to present the world with a more feminine voice to match my increasingly feminine overall public presentation I did begin to think more and more about my voice. My method I used to try to overcome my feminine vocal problems came when I attempted what I called the "parrot" method. 

In other words, what I tried to do was wait for another woman to speak to me and then try to mimic her tone and inflections the best I could. Seemingly this worked fairly well until I needed to be the first person to speak. Then what? If I said nothing I ran the risk of appearing unfriendly. Which I certainly did not want to do. 

Then I tried the portable tape recorder method. I needed to have a recorder for work so why not put it to better use than boring old work and try to see how I sounded as a transgender woman. When I tried, I was a dismal failure with my fake falsetto I sounded terrible. Worse than if I was talking in my normal voice. 

I finally decided to seek professional help when I learned I could get free assistance through the Veterans Administration. Going into the program I thought for sure I would be the only one seeking help for a feminine voice but I was wrong. The VA had an understanding and knowledgeable staff to aid me. I ended up making the long trip for nearly six months and learned many ideas of how women use a whole different inflection to communicate with. The end result was after learning the vocal basics I felt I could go forth in the world and at the least not draw tons of unwanted attention my way. 

It was about this time I began to gain more and more confidence in my feminine self. I went back to my parrot method and incorporated what I had learned with my vocal lessons to put together what I felt was a passable feminine voice. The biggest problems I have now is projecting what I have perfected. In many cases I am too soft spoken to make my ideas known. 

Long gone are the days of wanting to sound like "Jacqueline Bisset." I just want to do the best vocal presentation I can with what I have to work with. I still keep and refer to my "cheat sheets" or old homework my vocal teachers gave to me. So, I haven't given up in my pursuit of a more feminine voice. I always make sure also to make eye contact with the persons I am talking to to, to judge their reactions. 

Unlike the rest of me, my voice remains very much a work in progress.  

1 comment:

  1. I've never liked my speaking voice - never. I did learn to like my singing voice, though. The problem with that, however, is that I haven't sung as a male vocalist in many years. My vocal range is definitely within the male spectrum, even at 3 1/2 octaves, but you'd never hear me sing a "Journey" or "Queen" cover. As hard as I may have tried to sing like Steve Perry or Freddie Mercury in the past, I just couldn't reach those higher registers. I've even lost whatever falsetto, or head voice, that I once had, so I can't even fake it. So, what do I do? I have simply stopped faking anything about my voice.

    When I sing in public these days, I use only the higher half of my vocal range, which makes me a lesser singer, as I don't feel comfortable presenting as the woman I am while thumping and rumbling out low notes that might make Trace Adkins take notice. That's somewhat limiting (to me), but I've accepted it as just another of the sacrifices I've had to make along this gender transition process. Therefore, I am not the singer I used to be when I presented as a man, but I'm all-the-more a woman when I sing now, even if a more average singer.

    Just like most other things in my trans life, it has not been so much adding more femininity as it's been erasing the masculinity.

    Of course, I could go on and on about using the phone, which will never be my forte. The technology (or lack thereof) that compresses and distorts the quality of the sound in cell phones makes it nearly impossible for me to sound like a woman.