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Three daily voice feminization exercises

trans voice May 30, 2022

On TikTok, edsheeransbuttisjuicy asked "What are some exercises I can do throughout the day every day to feminize my voice?"

Of course, the answer to this question varies from person to person, as each person's definition of a "feminine voice" is unique to them. However, in my experience, most people seeking to feminize their voice are looking to do three things:

  1. Brighten their resonance
  2. Raise their average pitch
  3. Lighten their vocal fold mass

With these goals in mind, let's look at one easy exercise that you can do every day for each characteristic.

1. Brighten resonance

To brighten your voice's resonance, you need to gain control over the size and shape of your vocal tract. The most effective way to do this is to master control of the height of your larynx. The higher the larynx, the smaller your vocal tract, and the brighter your resonance.

To gain fine motor control over the larynx, my favourite exercise is the whisper scream. You're going to aspirate on an "eh" vowel, as in edge. Your vocal folds should be partially open, allowing the air to pass through with some resistance but not vibrating to create pitch. If you put your hand on your neck and make this sound, you should not feel any vibration.

Once you've mastered that sound, you can practice darkening and brightening it. Start with a yawn shape to create a dark sound, then move your larynx up to make the sound brighter and glassier. You can do it step-wise or on a glisse.

Don't overthink it; just try to copy the sound I am making in the video above.

This exercise is from Zheana Erose, who is TransVoiceLessons on YouTube so if you like this, go ahead and give her a follow.

2. Raise the average pitch

To work on raising your average speaking pitch, the exercise I recommend is to memorize a new starting pitch. Everyone will be comfortable with a different pitch, so it might take a little experimenting to find the right pitch for you. Most of the students I've worked with have fallen somewhere between E3 and A3, but a little higher or lower is normal also.

Don't try and make this the highest note you can comfortably do. You want this starting pitch to be the new middle-low end of your range so that you still have some headroom to express yourself without straining.

Once you've chosen your pitch, you're simply going to play it for yourself regularly and repeat it as often as you can until you can accurately guess it without hearing it. And trust me, if you have viral TikTok songs rolling through your head all day in their original keys, you can do this.

3. Lighten vocal fold mass

Lightening your vocal fold mass is all about creating sound efficiently. In other words, we want to use the least amount of effort that we can while still creating a full and healthy sound. The best way to work on this is straw phonation.

Straw phonation is a favourite exercise among singers, actors, and other voice professionals because of how powerful it is at creating efficient phonation.

All you have to do is hum through a straw. You can do any vocalizations, but humming on a single note or glisse-ing through your range is sufficient for trans voice work.

The secret to this exercise is to find the right amount of backpressure. If there isn't enough pressure (like singing through a kazoo), you won't get the desired lightness in your speaking voice. If there is too much pressure, you won't be able to do the exercise at all.

Companies like Singing Straw sell sets of three straws with different diameters, but you can increase the pressure with a normal straw by putting it in water.

That's all for today! If you liked these exercises and want to learn more, check out my e-course, Trans Vocal Exploration!

Also, I miiiiiight have another course coming out soon specifically for voice feminization so if you want to hear about that when it launches, get on my mailing list!

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.

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