The Newsletter
 December 1st, 2009                                                                                 Find your natural dynamic speaking voice and maintain it!
Vocal Tip of the Month!
Speak from the Heart!

When words are said expressively, the voice is more likely to find its natural pitch and the larynx follows to position itself naturally.  That is why certain words and short sentences serve as excellent pointers to help you recognize what your natural dynamic voice should sound like.  Try these for example:

"Hi!  How are you?"
"Mamma mia!"
"Hey, what are you doing?"
 "Come on now!"
"Good night!"

The emotion that you use in your speech keeps listeners interested.  To effectively convey emotions when you talk, think about the words you're saying as they come out of your mouth!  Use mental visuals to "see" your speech unfold in your mind like a short movie as you address your audience. 
Instead of focusing on your voice, you are then concentrating on the message, freeing yourself of any self-conscious thoughts and opening the door to your heart.  Remember: it's not what you say, it's how you say it...  


Interesting Facts
Humans Versus Animals!

Here are a few interesting facts regarding sound production in animals!

1) Most mammals have two vocal cords. The mouth, larynx, and nose serve as the resonating chamber for sounds manipulated by the tongue and other muscles in the mouth and neck.  

2) Birds don't have a larynx but a different organ called the syrinx.  Depending of what species, up to 4 folds are involved in producing a bird's lovely whistle.  

3) Fish, dolphins, whales, lobsters, alligators, crocodiles, condors, storks, cicadas and giraffes and no vocal cords!

4) Frog have vocal cords.   Male frogs vocalize by squeezing their lungs with their nostrils and mouth shut. Air is forced over the vocal cords and into a closed system of chambers that includes the mouth cavity.  A thin-walled sac at the base of the mouth then blows up like a balloon, radiating the call from the vocal cords into the environment.*

5) Crickets produce sounds by rubbing their wings together. At the base of the forewing, a thick, ridged vein acts as a file.  The upper surface of the forewing is hardened, like a scraper.  When the male cricket wants to call for a mate, he lifts his wings and pulls the file of one wing across the scraper of the other. The thin, papery portions of the wings vibrate, amplifying the sound.***



What's Happening?
Voice Yourself: The Newsletter is Coming to an End!

I have decided to take a break from writing the Voice Yourself in the Classroom newsletters simply so I can concentrate on other projects.  The events in my personal life this last year have prevented me from fully focusing on my book and finishing it (I can't seem to get the editing done, lol!).  I am also collaborating closely with my brother in music, Jaime Vendera on a new website: RockSource360.  It is the only website where aspiring musicians can study with rock stars, learn industry tips from pros and promote their band.  Please check it out and tell your friends about it!  

Writing the newsletters has been very inspiring to me and fun.  I hope that I have been able to help you find your natural dynamic speaking or singing voice in some ways and that you will keep working on your beautiful instrument.  I will be happy to answer your questions and will follow-up on any inquiries that may arise, should you be experiencing vocal difficulties in the future.   All of my newsletters are also online here so please keep going back to them as you feel the need and continue to let colleagues know about my website.  Thank you all for your support!

I might communicate with you from time to time to let you know of exciting new projects and when my book is ready.  Please keep in touch!  Happy Holidays and Have a Wonderful New year!  Have fun over the Holiday break and stay safe!
Relevant Links

Voice Yourself in the Classroom

Valerie Bastien

The Voice Connection
Inspiring Quotes and Stories...

The Best Birthday Gift Ever!

It is important to recognize positive omens and grab opportunities as they present themselves to us.  The year 2009 has been a year of changes for me.  I've taken steps that have turned my life upside down but for the best.

The last few weeks have led to some retrospection on my part.  I've felt mostly happy and sometimes sad about my decisions, the events that have followed and where I am now.   A week and a half ago, I was having one of those sleepless nights.  My mind was obsessed with the thoughts of "what might have been", "where am I going?" and more insecurities!  I remembered when I first moved into this old house I bought and still live in.  I didn't have any furniture or working appliances and I spent months sleeping on gym mattresses I borrowed from my school's gym.  The floors were filthy with dust from the renovation but I didn't care because I knew I was on the move and I felt free.  I turned around in my bed to try to sleep in the same direction I used to back then when I was beginning to feel joy and peace. .   I opened the curtains and let the light of the moon come through from the sky.    I let this energy fill me up to chase away my loneliness and tried to find those lost feelings of serenity again to soothe my moods.  At some point, I wished that my deceased yorkie were still with me so I could hold him in my arms tightly the way I used to and find comfort within the calming vibrations of his steady heartbeat.  I fell asleep and woke up rested the next day.  Life went on; business as usual!   

Then on Sunday morning on my way back from grocery shopping, a cute little kitten appeared from nowhere on my doorsteps!  "Hey you!" I said.  I picked him up and held him tight.  He was hungry; I fed him.  He was cold; I let him stay with me for the day.  He was dirty; I brushed him and gave him a bath!  When it was time to say goodbye, I put him outside.  The cat didn't want to leave!  He meowed as loud as he could with his cute little voice!  

He climbed on my screen door desperately trying to see me through the glass.  He jumped on my flower box and peeked through the window to make sure that I was still keeping an eye on him. And I was!  The cat was clearly craving my attention.  After a little while, I couldn't stand it anymore and I took him back in. We have lots of stray cats in my neighborhood.  I think he was let go and abandoned but luckily we found each other and he's in good hands now.  

It just happens that I'm a December child and my birthday fell on the next Wednesday.  I want to think that there is no coincidence and that he was sent to me as an early birthday present.  The best birthday gift ever!  I named him Moonlight!

Things to Note
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Have a wonderful month!

-Valerie Bastien