Finding Your Voice: The First Step in Gender-Affirming Voice TrainingNov 08, 2023
Hey there! I’m Renée, a gender affirming voice teacher, and I recently had a fantastic conversation during one of my TikTok Live sessions. Someone who was new to voice training popped in and asked me the golden question: “What's the very first step I should take in voice training?” It's a question I get a lot, and my response usually surprises people.
First of all, if you're just starting out on your journey, congratulations! Embarking on the path of gender-affirming voice training is a courageous and empowering step. Now, let's talk about that crucial first step.
Before delving into specific exercises or techniques, I recommend taking the time to understand your existing voice. In essence, this means conducting a "voice audit." This process involves recognizing and acknowledging the ways in which you currently use your voice in different situations and emotional states. Here's how you can get started.
Begin by creating a list of various emotions. Think about how your voice sounds when you're scared, happy, sad, excited, nervous, and so on. This will help you identify the different ways you naturally use your voice to express your feelings. You might be surprised to find that you already possess a degree of expertise in modulating your voice, even if you hadn't realized it before.
This initial step is crucial because many individuals entering voice training believe they need to learn something entirely new, as if they lack any prior knowledge or experience in voice modulation. However, in reality, most people have already developed a unique understanding of their voice.
As you compile your list of emotions and vocal expressions, pay attention to how your voice adapts to various situations. Consider how you speak to your boss, your pet, or your best friend. Explore how your voice changes when you're trying to get someone's attention across the street. All of these nuances provide valuable insight into your voice's adaptability and range.
Additionally, it's essential to broaden your perspective and develop an awareness of the voices around you. Oftentimes, individuals transitioning their voices focus on achieving a stereotypical "man" or "woman" voice without fully understanding the depth and diversity within those categories.
Voices are incredibly unique, reflecting elements of culture, age, social influences, and personal experiences. To make your voice training journey feel more attainable, take time to observe the voices of the people in your life and community. Recognize that there's no single "woman's voice" or "man's voice." Instead, women's and men's voices encompass a wide range of tones, pitches, and qualities.
By becoming aware of the diversity in voices, you'll start to see that your goal is not as distant as you might have imagined. You might already have qualities in your voice that align with your vision.
To summarize, the very first step in your voice training journey is to conduct a voice audit. Start by assessing how you naturally use your voice in various emotional states and situations. Understand that you might already possess a level of expertise in voice modulation. Additionally, expand your awareness by observing and appreciating the diversity of voices around you, particularly those within your gender identity.
If you have any questions or need guidance on your voice training, feel free to leave your queries in the comments on my videos posted to TikTok or Instagram. You can also join me on my TikTok Lives, which I host every Monday afternoon (Eastern Standard Time). I'm here to support you on your journey to finding and affirming your unique voice. Remember, your voice is as unique as you are, and it's a beautiful reflection of your individuality.