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Level up your inflection practice: The Harvard Sentences

mindful voice feminization trans vocal exploration ecourse trans voice trans voice basics mini-course Mar 06, 2023

In my last video, we were talking about masculinizing or feminizing inflection, and you might be wondering, "How do I practice this?"

I usually advise students to start with sentences that they use all the time like "How do you take your coffee?" or "How did you sleep?" or "Has the dog eaten yet?" You know, the things you would use in your daily life that are your common daily phrases. But, if you're past that and you want something a little more challenging, I suggest checking out The Harvard Sentences. These are a list of short monosyllabic sentences that will be a little more challenging than the things you're used to saying every day. All you have to do is Google the phrase "Harvard Sentences" and the first hit is a list of about 700 sentences for you to try.

The first sentence on the list is "The birch canoe slid on the smooth planks." What I like about these is they're really unusual. They're not things that you would normally say so reading them requires a little bit more cognitive energy. This might divert some of your attention away from your target voice. The trick here is going to be to get in your target voice and then read these and give them meaning. To do this you have to inflect in the right place. You might have to read them two or three times for them to mean anything, but try to experiment with your inflection. Try to modify the pitch or modify the length or modify the volume. Try choosing different words to emphasizing to see how the meaning might change. You can be playful in experimenting to see how the sentence sounds in your target voice. Listen to me demonstrate some varied approaches in the video above!

Here's a link to try the sentences yourself: The Harvard Sentences

Have fun!

Hi, I'm Renée! (they/them)

I'm a queer, nonbinary, and disabled singer, songwriter and gender-affirming voice teacher. 

I've been a voice teacher for over twelve years, I have four full-length albums out, and I have degrees in physics, jazz, and songwriting.

I love creating, I love figuring things out, but most of all, I love helping people.

Learn more about me

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